May 10

INTEGRITY MONTH: DAY 10: “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.” ― Lillian Hellman

I struggle, as written about yesterday, with a strong sense of right and wrong. I know what is right and wrong for me. I have to be mindful about imposing those values on others. It keeps me locked into a tight ball, which is not conducive to being of optimal service to others.

I can only carry my own message. If I adhere to my sense of right and wrong with strict and unwavering dedication, that is up to me. To expect others to do the same thing is not fair to anyone. I am setting myself up for disappointment and resentment.

This is a dance that is difficult for me…a strong personal challenge. How much do I allow others into my life, based on my own needs and sense of integrity?

I once dated a man who drank daily. He seldom got really drunk, but was always impaired. When we began the relationship, he was aware of my recovery and complied with the rule of not drinking in my home. Soon he had to drink when we went anywhere for a meal together. And he wanted to eat out all the time if he stayed at my home. That soon began to wear on me, because I could see how impaired he became, and it put a wall between us that was impossible to scale.

I could sense that he had left the room with even half a drink. That was uncomfortable and made him unavailable to me for a sense of connection. My thought at that time was, “Why bother?” I was available for the relationship, but he was only there part-time. I don’t roll with a part-time relationship. So, it ended.

I have had other relationships that ended due to dishonesty and other behaviors that I am not on board with. That is not what recovery is about. So, I have to let go of those people who do not contribute to my life in ways that I find beneficial and true to my code of honor.

But, I can allow them access to me in less intense fashion. I have a family who all drink and use drugs. All of them. I see them seldom, and have very little in the way of relationship with them. I am okay with that. They are not available to me either. I want to save space in my life for those who can connect with me deeply. I insist on that.

But, I cannot draw a line and insist on only that. There are others with whom I hang out only on occasion and casually. They are there, and I am here. I can maintain that and be myself, letting them be who they are. It is a dance I don’t necessarily enjoy, but can do. They will not be a big part of my life, but a small part that I can tolerate. This is the balance point I sit at today. I am not sure where it goes from here, but it is like that now.

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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