May 16

INTEGRITY MONTH: DAY 16: “As with construction, your personal integrity is the firm foundation upon which you can build a strong character, rewarding life, and healthy relationships.” ― Susan C. Young

There is a parallel, for me, in the spiritual principles and the stories of my childhood. The BB talks about Step 5 as being the place where we look at our work to see if we are building our new lives on a firm foundation.

I am also reminded, when I read this quote, of the 3 Little Pigs and the way they built their houses, first of straw…blew away; then built of sticks, and it was blown away; then the bricks, which lasted. We must build with a strong foundation, followed by the best possible building materials and the strongest, to withstand the storms of life and circumstances.

People relapse, or so they say, around different things that come up for them. Their inability to remain clean and sober during the stresses of daily life is a story we hear over and over…homes made of straw and sticks.

If you look at ancient building practices in various parts of the world, you will see that these types of homes were often constructed, because those are the building materials most easily found at hand. It works in the tropics, until a storm comes along…then you rebuild. Nothing is permanent, unless it has the kind of resilience we must have when facing storm.

I remember when I knew I needed to have Allene for my sponsor. I was going through my first set of challenges, early in recovery. I had withstood some tough stuff, but there was a BIG storm on its way, and I needed to stay strong and resilient in the face of THAT. She talked about how we come into recovery, dig out the old crap in the basement, rebuild the foundation and put up a great home.

We paint the place, hang curtains, put down rugs, and here comes a tornado! It takes everything but the foundation. So, we are here to rebuild, from scratch, the life we are here to live.

This means that we may go with a whole different floor plan. There is something to be said for all new homes. We may remake them to better suit our new way of living, after the storm. We may have new information and learning about who we are going to be, after the storm.

Sometimes, the storm turns out to be the greatest possible teacher we could have had. The real challenge is to remain resilient enough to get the lesson. Very important! There is ALWAYS more to know and to be and to do.

So, Step 5 gives us this process. The examination of the foundation of our lives, have we used enough bricks and mortar, enough work to reinforce the INTEGRITY of the building? See, integrity speaks to how well something is constructed. Shouldn’t it be the most important part of what we are doing, when our lives (literally!) depend upon it?

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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