When I think of the word leadership I think of guidance, direction, supervision but not in the sense of control. In the sense of someone who is doing such things for the greater good or because that person in the position of leader wants the best for you. I always wanted to be a leader growing up, I thought I could boss others around and tell them what to do when I wanted them to do it. Oh how my mindset has changed, leadership means quite the opposite to me now, though I feel like some people in leadership roles specifically currently in our world may still feel that is what it means to be a leader. I find a lot of the time it’s those quiet leaders that have the greatest impact, those that lead by example, with integrity. Those that make you want to do something because you see it working in their life. When I was using I did lots of things to make me feel like I had power or control or effect on others. When in all reality I was completely powerless and had lost all control and absolutely all choice in matters, and specifically my life. Now that I have gotten clean and sober, some of the leaders who stand out to me are in fact, those quiet leaders. Those people who don’t have to say much because their actions speak so much louder than their words. When I got to South Orange County Detox & Treatment (SOCD), I learned a lot of things, one thing of a lot importance was reconnecting with God, of my own understanding, who has become my real leader. My Higher Power is “The Real Persuader” and power in my life. I feel that he leads me right to those people in leadership roles that can help me grow and blossom into the person in sobriety I was always meant to be. Most importantly He is starting to show me ways that I can come in to that role of a leader and how I can do good with it instead of evil, as I used to.
What is leadership? Is it looking up to someone who’s bigger and stronger than you?
No a leader is a person making an effort to do the right thing and show others the path to take behind them. Leaders aren’t better than anyone else. Good leaders show heart, faith and courage, leading by example in a chaotic world. Leaders maintain composure by pushing through the muck to the other side is the only way out of the pain. I believe that Salina has shown me leadership the entire 15 months I’ve been sober. I’ve done the hard work but her leadership has helped me push through the muck and the pain towards success .
Leadership is definitely important because without it we would never have anyone to look at for guidance or as the starters of something. Good leaders are there to lend a helping hand when you need a person to listen to your issues or give advice to you when you are down on your luck. I have personally been helped by good leaders in my recovery from people at SOCD and from “leaders” in AA who have helped me understand what AA is about and what sobriety is and what it can offer not only to me but to the people I am around.
The quality of leadership consists in one who takes a stand within a group of people and knows how he or she feels about the greater good. A leader is courageous and willing to put themselves in front of others to demonstrate independence. A leader is someone whom others admire and who offers motivation and a positive influence for others to follow. Naturally, we look up to someone with these traits mostly because we seek those traits ourselves. I’ve learned much more about leadership and how I can obtain these traits through the example of leaders at South Orange County Detox & Treatment (SOCD). I need to live in appreciation for those examples through showing leadership qualities in my own life.
Leadership is a good quality to have and it reflects in someone who leads by an example. Normally, in every group of people there is a leader. In recovery, for myself, having someone who leads me in the right direction is important to help me stay sober, normally it’s a sponsor . Leadership should always come from a place of good intentions and should be followed by action, by doing the right thing when nobody is looking. I haven’t always done the right thing when nobody is looking, nor when people are looking. I have never seen myself as a leader but I’m inspired by good leadership to better myself when I observe others who are doing the right thing. Positive leaders are typically in that role because they are independent thinkers, who don’t care about what others think and act for the greater good. These people inspire me to not listen to my self-doubt and to do the right thing, just because it’s the right thing to do. Early in recovery I’m easily influenced, therefore it’s important that I’m aware of the intentions of the leaders whom I follow. Leadership isn’t something you can teach. I feel that individuals either have leadership qualities, or they don’t. I can see myself down the road taking a leadership position in recovery, as I feel I could inspire others in a positive direction and be a person that others can look up to in recovery. It’s about no so much about finding leadership within, it’s more about letting it out.
When most people think about the word “leadership” they may think of the leader of a political party or the leader of a Country or President. For me growing up playing sports most of my life, the role of leader was typically given to the Captain of the team or someone who communicated well with teammates. When I played sports I was usually that person, I was either Captain or Assistant Captain of most of the teams I played for and that position usually had more responsibility then other players. You were expected to be at practice and games earlier, working harder, and if something was going wrong within the team you were the first person the coach would talk to. As I got older and my addiction got worse, I became more selfish, cared less about my team and how we did and eventually stopped playing sports all together. I forgot how important it was to be a leader and to have a leader around you to help guide you to success. When I first entered rehab and the program of AA I was new to everything. I knew nothing about AA and what it took to get and stay sober and at first did not have any intention of learning or growing. Once I went to some AA meetings and people told me I needed to get a sponsor to help guide and lead me through the steps and help me get sober I was resistant to that at first. My pride got in the way and I was not able to see that I was not the leader that I once was and that I needed someone to help me get through this hard time so that I could lead and guide people through the steps and helping them get sober.
When I came to South Orange County Detox & Treatment (SOCD) and started helping people get clean, I felt that sense of leadership starting with Salina the Program Director. Being at SOCD, seeing Salina’s vision and knowledge, and seeing so many peoples lives transform has given me that confidence back to be a leader and to be able to help people get and stay sober. To me, a leader does not have to be powerful or better than anyone else, a leader just needs to be open and honest, willing to help people, compassionate, loving, and caring and that is what a true leader is to me.
As I evaluate the word of the week, Leadership, I try to incorporate many different aspects of what makes a great leader and the roles where leadership exists today. I feel a responsibility to channel my passion into this blog as it is derived from a place of sadness over the current discord between leaders of this country and between the political polarizations in an effort to find a greater solution. With that said, my first true evaluation (as it should be with everyone) is with my own leadership roles, as a Mother, Business owner, Christian, Social Worker, Woman, and fundamentally as a human. While recognizing my own human frailty and acknowledging my own imperfection daily, I choose to fight to improve areas that need to be strengthened, to acknowledge mistakes, to seek guidance from other leaders, and to pray and share with those who I am leading, my understanding for each of them and their struggles.
My utmost higher calling in life is my leadership role as a mother. This leadership role should be given more praise and respect in our society, as parenting of today’s youth shapes the future leaders and citizens of tomorrow. It is often a humble and sacrificial role where action is the key element of leadership in teaching our children how to treat others and how to live with integrity. This teaching role, to me, has been spiritually inspired and beneficial in my personal journey, as I am honored to see my boys grow into young and intelligent men of integrity, faith, compassion, and loyalty. As I look at some of my friends who stay home as full-time mothers and educators, I am inspired by their creativity, love, care, and dedication to their families, which is often over-looked by many as there are no raises, promotions, or materiel rewards. However, as I see it, each of them shines bright in beauty and inspiration for their roles as a mother. Psychiatrist, Carl Jung, eloquently states, “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
I have the pleasure of being the President and Owner of South Orange County Detox and Treatment. I have the honor of leading the staff and clients in a much-needed field of addiction recovery. I never aspired to be a business owner and the more years I have been in the role of leadership, the more I empathize with the complexities of leadership that I never before considered. I have always been flexible with following God’s path for my life, but I never saw it being in leadership. Leadership is something I learned from both of my parents, and from having an independent spirit, that was often rebellious and eccentric in nature. To me, a true leader needs to be independent, strong, creative, optimistic, invested, and this is often the outcome of individuals who are leaders long before given that role. I never saw my own strength until this role was given to me, and I felt compelled to forge a path and make it my own.The opiate epidemic and the rising tide of those who suffer from addiction has become a war we are losing whereby people all over America are experiencing a horrific tragedy that is taking too many lives. Families of sufferers are in a state of perpetual post-traumatic stress with limited answers to quench their thirst for solution. With passion, purpose, and love for saving lives, I found a place of leadership that I felt worth leading. It has been a painful journey and I have sat with many parents and loved ones as they grieve the loss of their child, sibling, friends, and partners; brilliant and beautiful people lost in the depths of addiction too soon for all of us to understand. For the many who have been able to find themselves, their higher power, their passions and vocations, and their sobriety, the fight has been worth struggle and leadership has been natural as I have a passion for this divinely inspired path of trying to save as many people suffering from addiction. The honor of this leadership role comes not from self-exaltation but from seeing people’s lives transform because they were willing to allow me to help them.
If more leaders, specifically political leaders, would take the time to remember why he or she first got into politics, rekindling the passion that led him or her to serve as leaders of the people, the self-driven and selfish desire to be powerful may dissipate and a greater vision emerge for America. Hate corrupts the heart, and never solves problems without war, death, and pain. I have found myself having to discuss the honest truth about current politics with my sons where hypocrisy, hatred, and corruption seem to take precedence over the real issues that need to be discussed, debated, and resolved with intellect, understanding, and resolution. If we stopped to listen to each other and stopped trying to prove points by attacking others, more of the problems may be solved with less solution sacrificed. Too often, there are news stories of mass shootings and the aftermath of hateful debates on how to solve them, it seems like we are far from providing a solution.
My daily efforts in practical and pragmatic solutions in my other leadership roles of life, often leaves me indifferent towards politics at times. In that way, I myself haven’t been part of the solution. The TV debates and criticisms of the left and right, leaves me so overwhelmed that I often find myself avoiding it at all costs. Martin Luther King stated, “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” Dr. King’s statement encourages all of us to start showing more love, justice, and strength that is necessary to create the change that needs to happen within America, despite the outcome of any election or any media event, so we can all be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Leadership is shown when a mature individual takes the conscious time to lead others by example. True leaders boldly have the courage to stand up for their beliefs and what’s right, despite the circumstance. In recovery, a leader’s actions speak for themselves because they practice what they preach and stick to the example they lead by. Leadership isn’t a spoken title, rather it’s shown by a life lived with integrity and honesty. I used to think that leadership is something that is given to you but I realize now that it is something you carry within yourself.
When starting your recovery, it is important to have a positive leader in your life. There has been so many times where we’ve been influenced by the wrong people that were doing bad things. They lead us to bad choices. Now in recovery you need to have a positive leader such as a sponsor that helps you charge through the rough times and doesn’t let you give up. Someone who has walked your path before, multiple times, and has tried every which way direction you can go and already knows the outcome of any situation. Having this leader or guide will help you through the steps, that one day you can help lead someone else through.
A part of being a leader is believing and trusting in the ability of others, pushing them to unlock their potential to become better. Titles are futile and everyone can be a leader if determined and passionate enough. It is all about finding balance, keeping an open mind, and willing to work hard. Thus, effective leaders create more leaders not more followers.