AA speaker Dr. Mike presents a Big Book study podcast and thoughts on recovery

Thoughts on Recovery – No. 4 – False Pride

Clancy I., in one of his talks, stated that false pride is a killer for alcoholics.  He defined false pride as a compensation for feeling “less than”.  That statement defined my life.  From early childhood, I was constantly seeking approval through actions or achievements.  Just being “Michael” wasn’t good enough.  I never felt OK.  This resulted in my lifelong pursuit of success, so I would get approval from others.  I was under the delusion, it states in the Big Book, that I could wrest satisfaction and happiness by managing well.  When I lived like that, I could never get enough things or recognition to satisfy my ego.  There would be brief moments of triumph and peace, but they would never last.

Someone came up to me after a meeting several weeks ago and asked how I could have problems, since I was a successful physician.  I replied, “Being a physician was not enough to make me feel OK”.

When you are dominated by false pride, fear is a constant companion.  I had fear of disapproval or not getting what I thought I needed to be a success.  If I felt threatened, in any way about these things, I would get angry and have resentment.  If I felt less than someone, I would compensate by judging them.  I became a people pleaser and wanted approval, even if I did not like that person.  I lived my life 299-1.  Ed M. talked about this and made the point that 299 people could tell me how great I was, but if 1 did not, I would focus on that 1 and forget the 299.

I, of course, would like to be thought well of, all of us do, but I do not have to be dependent on others, anymore, to be OK.  I have no control of what people think of me.  I only have control of how I react and treat others.  It is my job each day to do God’s business and God’s business is to take care of me.  My self esteem is not dependent on things or what people think of me, but on how I act.  I heard, at a meeting a long time ago, that we build self esteem through esteemable acts.

I still have to watch for false pride and not feeling good enough.  That never goes away.  But, with God’s help, I can ask him to help change the way I see any situation.  I can practice with his help, love and tolerance.  Today I feel OK when I am close to God and serving him and others.

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  1. BestMai on April 20, 2018 at 8:44 am

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    • Mohini Nicole Summers on April 25, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      Shame as from Dr. David Hawkins book
      Power vs Force, seems the fundamental root of of false pride. This blog helped me to understand more about that! It brought clarity to me to understand both my parents and my aunt as well. I am so sorry that shame has been so used in our human cultures to achieve compliance in our worlds children! THIS MUST CHANGE! Love, consideration and kindness reap the best results! Let us end the cycles!! Thank you for your humble courage !

  2. Anonymous on October 7, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    This is excellent…299-1. I totally resonate with that.

  3. Linda Honekamp on April 14, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    I am so glad I came across this. You are amazing. I was looking for a false pride definition and yours was explained simply. I love it when something clicks. I believe God speaks through people He certainly spoke to me thru you. Thank you

    • Dr. Mike on April 14, 2019 at 8:35 pm

      Glad u find the site helpful…share with ur AA friends

      • Peter O on July 20, 2020 at 4:24 pm

        Thank you for this. It is very helpful.

      • William B IV on June 29, 2022 at 11:33 pm

        I shared it with my NA friends!
        I too was looking for definitions and synonyms. I was talking to someone about ego and he explained a little about false pride. This tied it up for me, thank you.

        • Anonymous on July 15, 2022 at 11:44 pm

          Just rea

    • Anonymous on January 21, 2020 at 12:09 am

      Thank you this was such a Blessing! God Bless🙏🙏🙏

    • Luiz Claudio on July 1, 2021 at 6:37 pm

      I could not agree more with Linda H. I have been searching for a definition in me, online and thru my AA sponsor and all the answers felt just shy of complete. This, however, feels so incredibly honest and right on target with how I’ve lived my life. Or at least until recently after arriving at AA six months ago. Thank you. And please keep shining bright.

  4. Donald Hayes on July 20, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Definition of [False Pride] = Ego Feeding proposition.

    • Dr. Mike on July 20, 2019 at 5:27 pm

      Thank you Daniel

  5. Bran on January 20, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Thank you for writing this. I became a nurse since I recovered and I have been thinking about becoming a physician because it would make me feel OK about me. After reading this it dawned on me that not feeling good enough isn’t a good reason to go to school for ten years! Keep trudging and thanks for sharing.

  6. Brian on September 2, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Excellent explanation and I can certainly relate to the 299-1 reference.
    Thanks very much

    • Anonymous on July 20, 2021 at 2:13 pm

      Thank you for this explanation. -John B.

  7. Sandra Pittman on September 20, 2020 at 4:16 am

    Great stuff, Dr. Mike! I love the 299-1!

  8. Frank L. on September 21, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    Great topic… (I refrain from the use of “never”)

  9. Elaine F. on October 28, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    What a wonderful explanation of False Pride. I see my name all over this! My entire life is based on these “not enough”, beliefs. Thank you so much for sharing. I will be observing my reactions and thought patterns much closer now that I know what I am looking at, that needs to change and assets given me by Creator that I can lovingly accept. Miigwetch , merci, thank you.

  10. Kristie on November 18, 2020 at 12:19 am

    This is a very helpful explanation of false pride. Thank you.

  11. Anonymous on December 16, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    This was very helpful

  12. Anonymous on March 17, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    Thank you for this. A speaker shared on it yesterday and posted the link. Doctor losing my license due to relapse, and recognizing false pride is my biggest character defect/liability. I’m trying to recognize this as an opportunity to experience real humility and let go.

    • Chai V. on May 21, 2021 at 12:39 pm

      Thank you for this. My sponsor just shared this with me because I shared my parakyzing fear of being totally honest because people will seevi don’t have it all together. This said it exactly how I feel it.

  13. Karen T. on June 7, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    Thank you so much. It’s just what I needed at this moment. I know too well about being shamed, people pleasing, self-pity/martyrdom, “filled with a thousand forms of fear”. False pride has brought me to my knees today and I humbly ask God to remove this shortcoming… distance/separation from it. Amen and amen.

    • Dr. Mike on June 15, 2021 at 12:39 pm

      I just this week did podcast on false pride and it is on site

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