Friday, April 9, 2010

Integrity in the recovery proces. Meaning what you say and saying what you mean

A few weeks ago (March 13) I talked about the role of discernment. Discernment is the process of deciding, choosing, and uncovering for yourself what is at your core and your personal truth. As part of the discernment process, integrity is essential. A quick definition of integrity is meaning what you say and saying what you mean. And for most people in the depths of addiction and compulsivity, all integrity has been lost. Trust of you by another person is built on your integrity. Early in the process, integrity is absent. Two recent examples in my practice highlight the importance of integrity.

A client who I hadn’t seen for many years let me know he celebrated 9-months free from meth use. In offering congratulations, I asked how was he able to stay sober. His response was “I discovered I wasn’t being honest about stopping. Yeah, I told you I wanted to stop, but I was still glamorizing the drug and sex.”

Another client talked about a recent use of pornography. He said “I’m not able to stop viewing porn. Oh, by the way, my wife thinks pornography is a problem, but I don’t. “

Both examples highlight the role and difficulty of integrity. Only when you’re transparent about who and what is important in your life, can you build integrity. It is imperative that you be radically honest in the process. Tell everything to your support network. If you engaged in a behavior, say so. Minimizing is a failure of integrity and feeds the acting out cycle. Sharing every interior/secret thought helps uncover the multiple rationales behind your behavior. Saying you want “A” because your partner wants “A” is a failure of integrity. Being honest about what you want, for example, reduces resentment.

Building integrity requires recognizing the disconnect between what you say and what you do, and then completing the steps toward honesty. It requires work, and conflict may ensue. There are ways to recognize the level of integrity in your life. Think about the following:

1) When someone asks, “How are you today?” do you respond with a bland response or with integrity? “It’s a good day” or “It’s a bad day.”

2) When you engage in a conversation about where to eat, for example, do you put your opinion out there, or simply “go along?”

3) When you struggle with a goal, are you sure that it is YOUR goal. Are you ready to put the work toward reaching the goal? For example, do you really want to loose the 15 lbs, or are you simply bowing to the pressures of culture saying you should when you really don’t want to do what is necessary regarding diet and exercise.

4) When your partner says, “stop that” do you agree with his/her request, or do you go along with the request to avoid conflict? For example, I agree to no porn. Or, I agree to engage in sex today.

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