Integrity stands as a quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Its a must have quality for all of us in recovery. What do we do and how do we act when no one is watching? In our addiction, we all have set the unfortunate tone by proving that our word means nothing. We have lied to others, broken countless promises and lost all sense of our instilled values. Integrity takes consistency, and the only thing during our addiction that we were consistent at was getting high or getting drunk. So it is our responsibility as people in recovery, to earn our trust back from others and set an example that makes us consistently known to have good integrity.
In my own personal experience, I have struggled many times with integrity. In the beginning of my journey of sobriety there were many times where I had the urge to slip back into old ways, especially when no one was watching. It was during the moments, where I had no one to hold me accountable other than myself, I had to ask myself, “Would I do this if someone who cared deeply for me were watching?”. I had to find more respect for myself and start to create who I wanted to be. I wanted to be known as someone who people could trust, someone who’s word meant something. In order for me to be viewed as someone like this, I had to work hard on one thing, my integrity. When I said I’d do something, I did it. When I promised someone something, I held that promise. I didn’t look for validation or approval just to do something good, I did it because it was the right thing to do. I realized that when I continued to do the right thing, the right things came back and graced me through my sobriety. I admit that my integrity is not always 100% through my sobriety, I still make mistakes more often than not, but I remind myself how far I’ve came. I hold my head up and I don’t give up. I stay thankful that today, being clear minded and substance free, I am able to be aware when my integrity is slipping and I identify where I am slipping and I work at it. I hold myself accountable.
With integrity, we no longer have to have the stigma of being untrustworthy and having our words mean nothing. We no longer have to be known as a “low life” or a “disappointment”. We can become productive members of society and show others that even though for a period we lost ourselves and our values, that they are not gone forever, and that its possible we find them again. We find them through integrity, one step and one day at a time. Progress NOT perfection.