Life is full of lessons to be learned, of wisdom to be gained. It is not uncommon to hear about the importance of these things in life. However, the issue of integrity is one of those issues that rarely comes up in self-help topics. And integrity is often thought of as a quality that one either does possess or that one does not possess, with very little promise for someone without the quality suddenly being in possession of it. But I believe that, in being conscious of one’s actions, and in being guided by genuine motivations, it is possible to develop a character of integrity.
And this single characteristic trait goes a long way on the journey to recovery. Because, when you are a person of integrity – yes, even as an addict, and maybe even particularly as an addict – you will find that the steps that you take on your journey must be governed by truth in order for you to be successful. And it is the truth that will help to set you free.
Now, my working definition of integrity is a bit different from the dictionary’s definition of the word. The dictionary implies that one has integrity when he “adheres to moral and ethical principles.” I believe that an individual is a person of integrity when he speaks and acts according to truth.
Notice that this working definition of truth is much richer than the basic definition that we are taught as 4-year-olds about admitting that we did, after all, steal the cookie from the cookie jar.
Speaking and acting according to truth eliminates situations where someone does something good for the wrong reason, or something bad for the right reason. The truth simply is, and it should not be tampered with according to one person’s personal preferences; and it most certainly should not be altered to help support one person’s personal agenda.
Understanding that “the truth simply is” removes unnecessary noise from the equation.
It removes confusion, lies, and deceit – all of which work in stark opposition to recovery.
On a true journey of recovery, you must be a person of integrity with yourself, and a person of integrity with others. Period. Everything else is a lie. A distraction. A derailment from your recovery.
And you must be mindful of the distraction trap. Fantasies, desires, boredom, creating one’s own drama, subscribing to someone else’s drama, etc. All of these things are noise on the recovery path.
So, focus. And remember that the journey to recovery is about getting to the heart of one’s own truth. You will have to muster all of your energy and get to the heart of your issues, and deal with them.
That is walking a journey of integrity. And that is the only way that recovery can be true and long-lasting.