May 26

INTEGRITY MONTH: DAY 26: “The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.” — Gautama Buddha

We all want to be liked and popular. A person with many friends. It is kind of like being a politician, being included in everything, going everywhere, a part of every party. Haha…that made me laugh…a part of every party.

It keeps us distracted, to be going and busy all the time. Ego food. It does nothing for the soul. It keeps us attached in ways that are not possible to sustain. We may do this, and most do, for those early years in recovery where we are the prince or princess of the group.

In healthy ways, we will begin to detach, to develop our own sense of identity apart from the masses. This is the process of maturity and growth development that is natural and normal in the world.

Being part of the gang or going along with the crowd is not healthy growth. We need to get past this teenage stage of development to gain individuation. This is where we learn to form ideas and values that are specifically ours.

This process requires that we learn to be comfortable without busyness and constant stimulation and input. Most addicts take about 7-8 years to get to this, if they are working to grow up responsibly and becoming an individual rather than part of the group-think.

A friend of mine used to say that we wear this recovery cloak like a loose garment. That is a beautiful way to say that we still belong to the group, but they are not our identity or the only thing we have going on in our lives. We become people with our own values and ethics and moral compass. It cannot happen when we are in meetings all the time or running with the pack.

That does not give us time to do anything to develop personally. We do not know our own sense of right and wrong. We do not know our own purpose. We are too busy working to “fit in” and belong. That is not the way to practice a spiritual path.

A spiritual path will not be antagonistic or rebellious, which is what begins to happen when we look around and see we have no personal life to speak of. It is all still running around and busy-ness. That is living, it is distracting. Another drug, another addiction. All ego food.

Living from an authentic heart means we have spent many, many hours within. We know who we are and what we are doing, especially when we know we fly against the stream. That is the way to find the path that fits for us. Are you willing to stand up for big things when it matters?

These philosophical questions define us as individuals. Of course, the group consensus is important in meetings and group decisions. But that is not integrity. That is herding sheep. We are not supposed to live as sheep. I will examine, every day, my personal set of ethics and refrain from the herd.

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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