St. Benedict's Ladder of Humility: Step 11

The 11th Step on St. Benedict’s Ladder of Humility is that one should speak gently and without laughter, seriously and with modesty; briefly and reasonably, without raising one’s voice.

I believe this Step is about showing fundamental respect for other people, with particular concern for their dignity as individuals and their state in life.

We do not exalt ourselves at the expense of other people. We do not tear others down and feel triumph over that. We always show them respect, knowing full well that we ourselves are not perfect, we are flawed individuals who make mistakes, sometimes serious ones, and that we need to be treated charitably when we stumble and fall.

This is humbling inasmuch as there are times when we all like to see the other person squirm under our self-righteous glare, or be destroyed by a volley of carefully chosen verbal weapons. But this is wrong from a Christian perspective.

This is humbling in another manner, whereas we may not be tearing the other person down in any conversation, we may still be pumping ourselves up through any excessive use of words and self-promotion. This is pride. If you examine the 11 Step’s lists of suggested behaviors, all are at the expense of one’s ego.

This Step may be hard. At times it is for me. But it does contain practical, daily suggestions for humble relationships.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"


  1. I need to live this today because I live with a dry alcoholic who will not work the program.I must give him the same gift of total acceptance I get in the rooms his name is Paul , we are married 29 years.

  2. Hi Mary. I think that you are doing the right thing. Perhaps by your living example he will eventually see his need for the program, or better develop his Catholic faith. He may not need AA, he can use the Church’s spirituality as a substitute for his old alcohol use. The faith can fill his “dry”ness. (To those not knowing, a “dry alcoholic” is a person who has stopped drinking, but hasn’t substituted anything for alcohol as a coping mechanism. Dry alcoholics, or “dry drunks” as they’re sometimes called, are usually somewhat miserable to be around.

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