May 9

INTEGRITY MONTH: DAY 9: “I’ve done some stupid things I regret, but I’ve managed to keep my integrity. Which is important because integrity is fragile. Break it once and it’s gone forever.” ― Jonathan Heatt

I chose this quote for the sake of the conversation that it creates. Most of us have lived lives where our personal integrity was forfeit. Ooh! I like that sentence.

Back on track…we have certainly broken our vow of integrity with ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I always knew that the worst crimes I committed were not those rules of others that I broke or violated, but the breaking of my own heart, the breaking of my own faith in who I was and what I could do or not do in this world.

Alcohol and drugs, and the world that I inhabited when doing them, created a false ME, a false person who was never in accord with her own heart. I think this is the cruelest and most damaging aspect of drug and alcohol addiction. It is and was for me.

I might do things that hurt others, but the one person I MUST remain true to, (just like on the chips we take!) is myself. When I violate my own heart, there is a great deal of work to make it right again.

So, the conversation around this quote, for me, is whether or not it is irreparably broken or if we can regain our sense of trust and honor with ourselves.

I vote for YES. I have become the person I never knew how to be all the time. A truth-teller, even when that is an unpopular thing to be. Someone who walks that truth when others dismiss or belittle it. So, I do not believe it is gone forever.

I think, perhaps, this man is speaking about reputation, which is a totally different beast. I am not here to build a reputation that will or will not keep me awake at night. My integrity is a completely personal thing. I don’t care if you find me integral. I care (TO DEATH!) about finding myself as such. This is an interior gig we do. When my actions and life do not match what I carry in my heart, I die a thousand times with a broken spirit and a broken heart.

Perhaps it is our co-dependent culture that makes us want to impress others so much. I am not interested in that. Your opinion of me is none of my business. Keep it to yourself. MY opinion of me is the only thing that can keep me on the path I am here to walk. You will never understand, nor are you meant to.

I am working to not only understand but live the journey I am here to live. This is a great thing to do. It was IMPOSSIBLE to live the life you wanted for me. It does not belong to me. And it kills me whenever I try to please anyone other than my own heart and spirit.

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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