Coronavirus has instigated changes throughout most aspects of daily living, but the Twelve Steps of A.A. offer a design for living which is applicable in all circumstances. Each week we will be sharing staff reflections upon one of our recovery steps, as it relates to a corresponding principle. This week, Zack B., Chris G., and Travis S., share on Step Five.
“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
I feel that recovery has prepared me for the conditions we are all facing due to the pandemic. While many people are coming face to face with their lack of control and the fears in their lives, I was forced to confront those issues when I walked through the doors of Discovery Place seven years ago and began my journey of recovery.
I have learned that the only thing I have any control over is my own action in the present moment. Today, practicing integrity looks like letting my actions be guided by spiritual principles, rather than fears and emotions. It looks like showing up when I say I am going to show up, putting the needs of others ahead of my own selfish wants, and being a man who is fully honest and who the people I love can depend on.
When I practice integrity to the best of my ability, a process that started when I illuminated the darkest corners of my character in my fifth step, I am able to achieve a sense of internal peace. I have found that when I have peace internally, I am then able to be at peace with any external condition I may face. When I practice integrity fear no longer controls me. I become a man whose insides match his outsides; a man whose character has structural integrity.
Now more than ever, being a man of integrity is of the utmost importance to me. Because of the new way of living the twelve steps has given me, which integrity is an integral part of, I am not only able to stay sober during this chaotic time, I am able to maintain peace. And that is a miracle and something to be truly grateful for.
It’s easy for us to rest on our laurels during this pandemic. I found myself taking it easy for the first week or so. Yet, I was still telling men I sponsor to go to online meetings, and even sent them a list of available meetings. I am supposed to walk with these men through everything, yet I was not. I was simply pointing them in a direction. During some self-reflection, I found I was not practicing what I was preaching, and I could not walk through anything with these men if I did not walk myself.
I say all this to bring up these points: How can I help other men if I am not trying to help myself? How in good conscience can I give them direction when I am not taking any direction myself? For other men to trust me I must have integrity. They must know I am like them and that I do what I suggest for them to do.
Integrity is not something where we say, “Hey look at me doing the right thing! I have integrity.” Yes, having integrity is important when it comes to public and private interactions. More importantly, though, is our personal integrity. Are we still doing what we are supposed to? Are we leading by example or just giving direction? Do we have integrity in both our personal and business affairs? If I am to be the best version of me, I need to have integrity and do the things I am supposed to do. I must hold myself accountable and to the same standards, I hold others. Whether there is a pandemic or not.
Integrity was something I had very little of when I began my journey of recovery. Step 5 taught me to own up, and take responsibility for myself and my actions. Being honest was something that I had to learn how to do. I lived a double life for many years, and once I asked for help, I felt relief for the first time. The more honest I became, the more I began to feel peace.
Today, integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. It also means following through with my commitments. I don’t keep secrets anymore. I am as transparent as I can be, with whatever it is I’m dealing with. I am willing to take suggestions, and I rely on my Higher Power to guide and direct me down a spiritual path.
I get to show up today. I get to have true partnerships with other people. I get to be a man among men, a worker among workers. Recovery taught me a new way to live, and the rewards have been monumental. I know there is more work to be done. I also know that as long as I continue to try to live with integrity and remain teachable, God will continue to reveal himself to me every day.
Are you struggling with addiction recovery while in quarantine?
Everything may feel upside down, but recovery must continue. We’ve reached out to our alumni to encourage them and make suggestions, and you should benefit, too. Here’s how.
Are you unable to figure out Online Recovery Meetings?
It can be daunting trying to set up a camera, mic, or even just a computer. But you don’t have to. Here a way to join an online recovery meeting without hassle.
How is Discovery Place responding to COVID-19?
While the disease of alcoholism and the consequences of addiction continue to threaten millions of lives, we’ve taken guidance from the CDC and implemented measures to ensure the safety of our guests.
Have questions about our recovery programs?
You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call, let’s talk: 1-800-725-0922.