October 14, 2016
Integrity is the spiritual principle of Step 5 – admitting our wrongs. We discussed this during our last Spiritual Friday, along with other spiritual principles related to integrity: honesty, humility, and love. These principles are all equally important in our quest as addicts to not only stay clean, but to also learn to love others as they deserve to be loved AND to love ourselves the way we deserve to be loved.
We gave each patient a copy of the list below.
To Live a Life of Integrity
Admit when you're wrong.
Be the first to forgive.
Be the first to stand when everyone else sits down.
Do what is right even when no one else does.
Say "No" when people are trying to get you to do something you know you shouldn't do.
Tell the truth and accept the consequences.
Stand up for what you believe in even though it may mean rejection or ridicule.
Defend someone who is considered unpopular or unacceptable.
When faced with a limitation, give your very best, regardless of pain or discomfort.
Confront a fear without running away.
Give sacrificially to protect or promote someone who has been wronged, someone you love, or someone who needs you.
The patients then presented powerful quotes. Here are a few:
"Through understanding the painfulness of greed, we are moved to be generous. Through our experience of the suffering caused by hatred and divisiveness, we are moved to discover a source of love and forgiveness within. In our willingness to turn our attention towards the shadows in our hearts and lives, we find an integrity that is true and unshakable. An ethical life is not a state of sanctity that we arrive at, but a verb; we discover genuine integrity in those significant moments when we follow the pathways of ending harm and sorrow rather than causing it."-The Buddhist Path to Simplicity
"There are days when you will interact with people that lack integrity and honesty. It's tempting to meet them where they are at. Don't. Remember their choices are not yours. Your integrity is not optional. Being your best in the face of adversity is the most rewarding choice." - Anonymous
"He who walks in integrity walks securely." - Proverbs 10:9
"Integrity is choosing your thoughts, words, and actions based on what's right rather than what's in it for you." - Tanya Masse
"I am not bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anyone who stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong." - Abraham Lincoln
"Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching." - C.S. Lewis
We then asked the patients the following questions.
- What is integrity to you?
- How is integrity spiritual?
- How does it feel when you live this way and when you don't?
I played music and led the group in a brief meditation based on the idea we can be a living Sanctuary in recovery – someone who makes others feel safe, comforted, and feel G-d in our presence.
I found this great clip from "Remember The Titans" that was perfect for our topic:
"There is a time when we have outgrown a situation, when there is nothing to be gained. This is the moment we must be willing to let go. For like the serpent whose skin has grown too tight and worn, we need to shed what belongs to the past to move into the new possibility. We may feel vulnerable for a time, but greater ease of movement will come." - Anne Mortifee
The new possibility for addicts is living a life of integrity. And, as we shed that skin, there is a new one underneath waiting to be worn.
Gratefully, we are never alone. In this new life, we are surrounded by guides (sponsors, therapists, sober supports, friends, etc.) – real vessels through which G-d can teach us this new way.
Reverend Laurie Durgan