In the past, the only loyalty I would show is to those that would ultimately ruin my life. I was loyal to the people in the room who were holding the drugs or money etc…, not realizing that I was digging my own grave with these actions. I continued to do this for many years and only through a miracle I am still standing here today. I took a lot for me to understand the “true” and “healthy” meaning of loyalty and to be 100% honest, I am still learning more about it. It took me over a year to figure out where my true loyalty belongs, which is with my true self, my family and the ones who have spent the time to sit with me to better my life, without giving up on me. Salina and South Orange County Detox & Treatment (SOCD) will forever have my loyalty. Without them I would literally be dead or on the streets, or even worse if you could believe that. I can say that they have put up with more than any other relationship I can think of and still stayed loyal to me. It’s been a long bumpy road, and sometimes it still is, but I always know that if I have trouble or need a shoulder to lean on they will always be here for me. l will always show that loyalty back to SOCD and to those loved ones who have been loyal to me.
Loyalty to me is like a commitment. It shows that I am willing to help in any way I can. Being devoted to someone or something consists of being trustworthy, honest, respectful, empathetic, and even courageous. I remain loyal to only a few people in my life today because these people have my best interest in mind and have been there for me in the darkest of times.
In recovery when I think of loyalty there are a couple people who come to mind. First off, SOCD and Salina have always been there for me when I needed help. Even when I did not deserve that loyalty it was never broken. She never gave up on me because she saw through the evil mask I would wear and see the potential I have. To this day, that bond still stands strong. Another person who comes to mind is my sponsor. I’ve shared things with him that I will take to the grave. He never judged me for any of those character defects. He has remained loyal to me and is helping me get through the steps with my full trust. I have never had this kind of loyalty in a relationship. And now I can see how loyalty in recovery is very important
When I think of the word loyalty I immediately am taken to a place where I once was distorted in my thinking of the word. I used to think that loyalty was a strong sense of commitment to people that was based in trust. That is didn’t matter if the people were wrong or right, or if it was good or bad for the person that I am being loyal too, that the only thing that mattered was that I had their back 100% no matter what. Now that I am working on myself I see the word loyalty in a different light. I see the word as a bond of connection to someone because it comes from a place of respect. It isn’t an unfounded respect that stems from a place of fear or convoluted moral foundations. I try to have loyalty towards my wife, friends, and role models because I have respect for them and value them so much that I am willing to hold them accountable to help them grow when I see them struggling. My sense of the word has grown exponentially since getting sober and healthy. The word holds a new sense of power that comes from a healthy level of respect.
Loyalty is the absence of selfishness. To be loyal one must instill their trust onto others. This process requires time and patience. It is just as important to gain one’s loyalty but to maintain it as well; for the slightest sense of rebellion in the relationship creates a sense of distrust. Once there is uncertainty the journey to gain one’s trust must start over. To avoid losing one’s trust and to remain loyal it is important to communicate honestly and effectively. Successful relationships are transparent.
From my experience through sports, athletes become loyal to their coaches once a rapport is built. An athlete becomes more receptive to a coaches training after there has been signs of loyalty on both ends of the relationship. The relationship is built upon a mutual goal and interest. Once there is a connection it is important to maintain trust to ensure loyalty. A coach cannot show favoritism between others because it creates a sense of division and will cause some to stray from being loyal. Vice versa for the athlete. One must put trust into the coaches training and be loyal to the process.
I have seen the differences in loyalty that produces different outcomes. When there was a bad relationship between my coach and I, I was unmotivated, there was no trust, and I ran poorly. Once I began to be loyal to my coach and trusted his training methods my mindset had shifted. I began to enjoy running and to be loyal to his training. These changes created a better relationship and ultimately I became a better runner. To me, this shows the importance of being loyal within a relationship. If there is mutual trust and loyalty a relationship is far more successful.