The ego must be destroyed.
Addicts and alcoholics run on ego in active addiction. It fuels all manner of delusions surrounding the way things are, have been, or will be. Ego clouds judgment and comes from a primal need to be secure at all times, whether that means being secure in the delusion that “things aren’t as bad as they could be”, or that “things are worse for me than they are for anyone else”. Ego feeds a condition of being terminally unique.
It is true that we are all unique in our own way, but at the same time we are all the same. We may be living different lives that are unique because of our perspectives, but the truth is that we all feel the same emotions. We all experience happiness, love, tragedy, chaos, devastation, euphoria, and all the emotions in between. We may have lives that are as unique as the trillions of different stimuli that we experience with each passing second, but there are fundamental truths that bind us together, so this idea that you are unique, and because of that you better or worse than anyone, is false, and you only believe that because of your ego.
In order to destroy the ego, certain truths have to be realized about the way that things really are. Life is a series of events, and perception of those events leads to reactions, which leads to more events. There is a system at work. Humility is understanding that, though God may have a plan for you that is specific to you, there is also a larger game being played. You have a place in the world, and so does the person next to you, and the person next to them.
Valuable lessons in humility are found in environments that are uncomfortable, such as working a job that your ego is saying you are too good for. Destroy that preconceived idea and have an experience. Learn to empathize with people that work hard for minimal pay. Be a part of something. Learning to work hard is fundamental to understanding the way that things really are. Drug addicts and alcoholics are selfish, and egotistical. They expect that, because they are unique, they are entitled to pity, or praise, resulting in having to work less and still get rewarded. People get what they earn, when they earn it. That is the way the world works. No one has time to pity or praise you, and no one wants to give you something that you don’t deserve. Working a humbling job is an important lesson in value; the value of time, work, and money. There is honor and honesty in hard work.
Life is just a series of experiences, and living based on the delusions that are created by your ego mean you are only looking at the world through a single lens, and the sad truth is that most people will go through life without seeing the world for what it truly is. People in recovery have the unique and invaluable opportunity to experience life at some of its purest, and by working a program and gaining experience by getting uncomfortable and humbling themselves, they can begin to see the truth of what makes up a fulfilling life.