April 24

HONESTY MONTH: DAY 24: “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Compromising our values is death to our spirit. I am a pretty open-minded and liberal woman. I did not come from that ethic, but I believed in those things we stood up for in the 1960s…peace, an end to war, equal rights for everyone, and compassion to the Earth and all animals. I have to live with these values as a guide to my behavior. This means I take more time and trouble with things than our hurry-up culture promotes. But because I continuously find ways to live in accordance with these values and to walk the beliefs I hold, I have gained self-respect and self-esteem. In the 1980s and 1990s, a common thing written on the diagnostic page of every addict in treatment stated “low self-esteem.” My take on this is that is sounded like a vitamin deficiency or a mental lapse. It is not. We can only think well of ourselves and feel good about who we are when we have discovered those things we believe in and live according to what that dictates. I am good with those who have a differing set of values than those I hold if they are integral with how they live and it doesn’t impede on my life. Most of my friends do not go to the lengths I do for lots of things. That is okay with me. We all get to live the life we are most comfortable with. The reason we are diagnosed with low self-esteem is that we are living outside the set of principles WE hold dear. It doesn’t matter if I violate the laws of man, church and the state where I live if I am in accordance with what I believe is right. I may be in jail as a result of that, but my sense of self can still be in tact if I am integral with self. A part of the inventory process that is not followed up with in the BB is taking account of assets we possess. We all have them. Most of us may have forgotten what we hold dear, what we have done well, what is good and fine about us as human beings. This is the most important part of the inventory process, for me. I have to have good building materials when I begin to create anything. After we rid ourselves of the character defects we find later on in Steps 6 and 7, and we rid ourselves of the messes we need to clean up and re-set our compass for better life choices and better relations with others, we have to begin to build a life. If we don’t know what we have to do that job with, we have missed the boat with the inventory process and the other steps are not going to go well. I tell my sponsees that I have found the critical error in the BB. That is that the beginning of Step 4 talks about a fact-finding mission and the importance of a balance sheet in running a business, but the rest of the instructions are only focused on what is wrong with my life and who I need to clean up messes with. I find this to be problematic and wrong, because we are not any good to anyone if we cannot find some good in our beings with which to continue to live this good life. I had dreams and a big heart that was broken when I got here. These have been the things that propelled me through those steps and into this amazing way of life. I was not all broken and wrong…there was some good stuff under the bad behavior. We have to shine a light on what is RIGHT with each other in order to instill hope and a sense of purpose and a good path. I think this is forgotten far too often in the process of uncovering, discovering and discarding. Some things need to be kept and polished back to life. In being rigorously honest in Step 4, we need to take a FULL inventory of what has worked for us and what has not. What we focus on grows, so we need to have a strong focus on those assets so there is space when the misdeeds and old ideas are gone to strengthen and fortify the good stuff. Let’s all find those wonderful qualities in each other and shine some light

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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