September 1

FREEDOM MONTH: DAY 1: “Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

If there is a more perfect quote for Step 9, I do not remember it. This one resonates so well it pisses me off! Hahaha…

We all believe that freedom is the notion that we do whatever we want with impunity. That is never the case. True freedom requires a great deal of maturity and responsibility for our way of thinking and behaving.

Lack of freedom is imposed restrictions on making choices for myself. If I am free to make choices, then I am free to live with the outcomes of those choices. THAT is freedom.

And free will gives me the ability to decide for myself what my attitude is going to be. And free will means I can believe what I want. Others will try to impose their will upon me, but I can believe what I want, no matter what party line I may have to tow.

I know many people who have been brought up in environments that did not mesh with their internal belief systems. They may be Communist, Socialist, Democratic, Republican, Marxist, Sikh, Buddhist, Catholic. So many choices in this world!

And we don’t have to believe what we are programmed to believe. It is our imperative that we begin to choose for ourselves what we believe and how we operate around that belief system. For me, I am rebellious against the beliefs of my family. Always was.

So, I have formulated my freedoms into a code of personal ethics that resonate with my spirit. This way of recovery has been the tool that gave me parameters that made sense for the first time in my life. I have been allowed the freedom to work this thing in whatever fashion I deemed appropriate, with the strong guidance of a couple of really amazing sponsors. Their examples resonated with me. They had a kind of system of beliefs and living that I was looking for in drugs and alcohol.

So, in this step, we get to proclaim our beliefs by taking the action that is required to keep ourselves on the path of recovery. No other step is as powerful in its application as this one. We are walking into contract with those people we have previously harmed to stop the bleeding at some point and recover. I have watched a lot of people never work this step, although they pretended they were cleaning up their wreckage. They believed that not drinking or drugging was the best they could do. There were no changes in their behaviors.

I avoid these people in my day-to-day life. I am not comfortable with just “not drinking and not drugging.” That, for me, is not recovery. And they are not free. Never were, may never be. I am free, and I will fight for my freedom by applying these principles more rigorously than ever; every single day!

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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