One thing more than anything else will hinder us in our attempts to find recovery and that is an attitude of indifference or intolerance towards spiritual principles.

Three of these spiritual principles are Honesty Open-mindedness and Willingness, without these we will find the recovery life very difficult to find.

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This introduction may be difficult for some of us to receive, so before we start we need to try to open our minds to the possibility that this morning, if I listen, I might be able to learn something about myself. One of the key personality disabilities that led you to the desperation of your chemical dependency was your Narcissistic Nature. If you are in any doubt at all about whether or not you have this crippling side to your nature, just ask yourself, ‘how do you take personal criticism? Are you particularly sensitive to criticism? Whenever someone criticizes you even if just a little, do you find yourself wanting to retaliate because of the hurt you felt? “How dare he criticise me”? You feel wounded and angry, because somewhere inside yourself you believe that in order for you to loved, you have to be the best, the brightest, the most beautiful, the most successful. You do not really know how to get genuinely close to anyone, but you have an immense need for someone to love you. What you won’t face up to is, deep down inside, you do not feel good about yourself, you feel ashamed of who you are and you live in fear of other people being batter than you are.

Who was Narcissus?

Narcissus was a very beautiful Greek god, who refused to love others. As a punishment for his indifference the other gods made him fall in love with himself and he drowned in his own reflection in a pool.

Narcissism is a term used to describe people who have an exaggerated need to be admired. Because of this need they develop an exaggerated sense of their own importance.  They exaggerate their talents, their accomplishments and their achievements so as to steal the respect of the people around them.  They stretch the truth so as to build their fragile self-image. They have this driving need within them to feel special and they expect to be treated in special ways. They are constantly absorbed by their own needs, losing the capacity to be sensitive towards the needs of anyone else. Their relationships start out really well but end in disaster. At first everything felt fine and love was good, but as soon as the other person starts to express needs of their own, relational dynamics get heated.

AA Big Book (1976):

Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show and is forever trying to arrange the lights, the sound, the ballet, the scenery and trying to get the whole cast to play it his way. If the arrangements would stay as he had arranged them and if all the other players would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself would be happy and life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor can and often does become quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate patient, generous and even modest and seemingly self-sacrificial.

What usually happens though? The show does not come off very well, he begins to think life is not treating him right and so he exerts himself a bit more. He becomes a mixture of more gracious yet more demanding, yet still the play does not go his way. He will easily admit that he may be at fault, but at heart he believes that other people are to blame.

What is the base line of his troubles?

He is a victim of his own self-delusion who believes he would rest in satisfaction and happiness if he was just left alone to manage the world his own way with everyone else playing fairly.

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Self assessment:

  1. Does anyone ever have the desire to be the centre of attention?
  2. Does anyone ever have the desire to be the life of the party?
  3. Does anyone ever resent people who have done well in life?
  4. Does anyone ever feel unappreciated?
  5. Does anyone ever have the desire to have a beautiful man/woman all over them to prove something?
  6. Does anyone ever see themselves as much more intelligent than others?
  7. Does any ever tend to brag about their accomplishments?
  8. Does anyone ever make a really good first impression but then slowly die off?
  9. Do you ever think the world would be a better place if it would take your advice?
  10. Do you tend to resent authority figures?
  11. Does anyone ever control the people close to them?
  12. Does anyone ever get obsessed about finances or material things?
  13. Do you tend to feel dissatisfied in your inter-personal relationships?
  14. Do you ever fantasise about big things?
  15. Do you relish being the big shot?
  16. Do you feel that you do not get the respect you deserve?
  17. Do you ever dream of being free from this bondage to self?

How do you begin loosening the Narcissistic bonds?

Acceptance.

Fact: You will never be perfect or the most brilliant or the most beautiful or the most powerful or the most loved or the most wonderful or the most special.

Fact: Not everyone is going to worship you, some people will even dislike you but in the same breath, you do not have to be an object worthy of worship in order to simply be accepted.