From the Daily Reflections of March 03;
So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 62).
For so many years my life revolved solely around myself. I was consumed with self in all forms—self-centeredness, self-pity, self-seeking, all of which stemmed from pride. Today I have been given the gift, through the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, of practicing the Steps and Traditions in my daily life, of my group and sponsor, and the capacity— if I so choose—to put my pride aside in all situations which arise in my life. Until I could honestly look at myself and see that I was the problem in many situations and react appropriately inside and out; until I could discard my expectations and understand that my serenity was directly proportional to them, I could not experience serenity and sound sobriety.
END OF QUOTE
Notice that the Big Book says “we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness,” and does not say “we alcoholics must be rid of selfishness.” There is a particular brand of selfishness described in great detail on the preceding pages that is destructive. It is isolated, disconnected selfishness.
Notice that when the contributor to the Reflections says that for so many of his years life revolved “solely” around himself, and then the gift of the Fellowship of AA was the capacity to practice the Steps and Traditions in “his” daily life, of having “his” group, and “his” sponsor and the ability to put “his” pride aside in “his” life. The positive form of selfishness is one that leads us to self-care through connections with the collective.
I think it is also important to tell the difference between pride and self-confidence. When someone wishes to play down their faults, their weaknesses, to hide them from others, and even from themselves, they create a wall built with self-delusions, arrogant proclamations of what they perceive to be their strengths, and they avoid the healing intimacy that only humility can provide. This is pride. On the other hand, self-confidence grows when one takes a fearless moral inventory and sees plainly both strength and weakness, and recognizes the need to connect with their God and a trusted network of fellow seekers.