Recently I was reminded of an old timer who attended my home group meetings when I was new. He shared frequently about being in the middle between the “big I” and the “little me.” I didn’t understand it at the time, but today I think I know what he meant. I cannot live to good effect without the power of God in my life. Nor can I live without ego pushing me to succeed in the material world. I am right-sized when I’m right in the middle between the God of my own misunderstanding and my illusionary ego.
Certainly, God has all real power, but ego has the power of self-will. I lived a pretty darn good life on ego power. Self-will carried me for 47 years before it finally failed me. Just like the prodigal son, I woke up in the pigpen and turned to God as a last resort. Self-will played a big role in my early days of recovery before sobriety became a habit.
I feel drawn into the spiritual mystery, but I am no saint. I’ve not shaved my head nor have I dropped out of life and moved to an ashram in India. I call on God to get me out of every mess created by my ego. Yet, without ego, I’m not sure I would ever leave my couch. Ego seems to be part of my human makeup. It is a valuable force within me as long as it doesn’t overstep its bounds. When ego gets too puffed up, it blocks God out of my life. I suffer as a result.
Our literature says somewhere that the ego must be smashed. I’m coming to see ego is not a vicious monster, but a little wounded child within me that I rejected as I grew. This frightened little child feels he has to do everything perfectly or else he won’t get the love he so desperately needs. Instead of smashing my ego, I am better served by embracing the frightened little child within. I began this process of self-forgiveness when I completed my first fourth step and started to forgive the people on my resentment list. This forgiveness process continues today.
It is quite challenging for me to find the middle ground between the big I and the little me. I know I’m close when I go for long periods with peace of mind, when my life feels useful and contented, when I am able to laugh at all the silly crap I think and do.