August 29, 2023


I do not pretend to be a deeply religious person, but the bible quote of “Pride goeth before destruction, and the haughty spirit before the fall” resonates with me. The definition of pride has two vastly different meanings. The quote refers to the meaning of an inflated self-worth as opposed to taking pride in an achievement. The former is the version I am referring to in this writing.  So, how does this quote relate to our lives?

In the recovery world, I speak of pride being a destructive force in addictions and other mental health issues. It is a simple deduction, if you are in addiction treatment, you are not doing well, and your lives need to change. Yet, I often see clients who allow pride to still drive them. Guess what? It does not work. If you think you can take a prideful stance, then you are not ready to recover and change your lives for the better. It is time to cash in pride for humility.

I have learned the hard way that taking pride in a life that was filled with unhappiness, anger, arrogance, and self-destruction taught me the hard lesson of humility, the opposite of pride. Yet, if we look at life as circular you will see how close we all are with virtues and emotions that are only a click away from falling prey to the opposite effect. Too often love turns to anger, laughter to crying, self-confidence to arrogance, oppressed to oppressor, and so on.

The perfect display of this 160-degree flip is apparent in relationships. Many begin with love and transition to hate or anger. It is amazing how that cycle is repeated in our lives. Pride also enters relationships and our ability to put it aside when dealing with issues. However, there is a center where the balance of our being can be pinpointed. It is up to us to keep that balance from flip flopping back and forth with extremes.

In all my programs I stress the need to work the mind, body, and spirit to achieve a balance. It is what I believe is needed to keep all our emotions and beliefs balanced in our lives. If one becomes too extreme it will throw off that balance. To balance all three, we first must recognize how they impact us. Pride is just one of those balances that comes into play.

To simplify what I am saying here is taking pride in ourselves when our world is in turmoil or despair is a destructive force that will prevent you from healing. I stress in my trauma and addiction groups that if you continue to let pride drive you even while at a rehab, then I will see you at the next rehab. If you have reached a point of losing most things in life and still want to maintain pride, then expect the inevitable fall and continued unhappy, unhealthy, and toxic lives you have created.

It took me 4 years of unrelenting pain before I surrendered to humility. It was, and continues to be, a memory I do not want to forget. It keeps my present psyche in balance and helps me avoid repeating the lesson.

I hope you all can relate to what I am saying here. The balance of our mind, body and spirit is fragile and always shifting. It takes continual vigilance to keep it centered. So, look at your lives and check yourselves for balance. If you find that you are flip flopping emotionally from one to the other emotions or beliefs, then know you need to re-assess where you are and whether an adjustment is needed to restore the balance.

Do not let your pride interfere with your learning to shift your attitudes and beliefs when needed. Do not just take a stand on something that you may know is wrong, but your pride will not let you shift. There is no honor or integrity in holding a belief that is fundamentally unsound and knowing it is. Stay fluid in your lives and take pride in being humble when needed, you will feel a lot better about yourselves.

Mind, Body, Spirit…Balance!

Vinnie Strumolo, CEO, CCO, LMFT