First Segment - Principle 9 - Responsiveness - What is integrity?
AS OUR RECOVERY DEEPENS, responsibility grows into responsiveness. Spiritual intelligence unfolds into spiritual integrity. Making amends expands into mending the world.
Step Nine taught us to apologize and make amends whenever we create harm. As we live Principle Nine, we move beyond the personal and the situational. We begin asking ourselves a larger question: How can I help make things better? As we go through our day, this question opens into innumerable others: How can I help my employer succeed? How can I deepen my relationship with my partner? How can I make my community safer? How can I be a better spouse, employee, volunteer, church member, parent, sibling, child, in-law, neighbor, community member, citizen, and steward of the planet? What is the next right thing I need to do?
- Where are you at in your making amends process? Have you moved beyond the personal and situational? What is the next right thing you need to do?
In living Principle Nine, we become acutely aware that every one of our actions and decisions has an effect on other people and the world. We begin to bring consciousness and discernment to everything we do. Our focus changes from me to we.
- Have you found your focus changing from me to we? Do you think this goes against the common phrase that recovery is a selfish program? What are thoughts on that phrase?
Our inner observer now assumes a larger role. In addition to monitoring our brain and evaluating each situation, it asks, How can I best be of service? It also prompts us to address difficulties and conflicts sooner rather than later. We deal with things rather than let them languish or fester. In addition, we become more proactive. We think through the likely consequences of each potential course of action—not only its immediate consequences, but what may happen in a week, a month, a year, and ten years. We respond to the future by making wise choices in the present. Day by day, we build integrity.
- Do you usually deal with things or let them languish and fester? Give me a recent example of when you addressed a difficult situation or conflict sooner rather than later.
A key aspect of this integrity is a nimbleness of spirit. One moment we may need to speak up. The next moment we may need to be silent and listen. Responsiveness may prompt us to follow a rule in the morning, enforce a rule in the afternoon, and break a rule (for an honorable reason) in the evening.
- How difficult do you find it to speak up in the right situations and stay quiet and listen in the right situations? Is this something you struggle with?
LIVING IN FREEFALL
Although we can imagine multiple futures, the actual future is always uncertain and unpredictable. Some of the things we expect to happen don’t. Innumerable things we didn’t think would happen do. What we embrace as a positive development always creates multiple outcomes—some positive, some negative, some uncertain. Events ripple outward endlessly in all directions.
- How have you come to terms with the fact that the future is always uncertain and unpredictable? Do you still try and convince yourself you have control over future events?
In his book Buddhism: Plain and Simple, Zen teacher Steve Hagen retells the story of an ancient Chinese farmer whose horse ran off. His neighbors expressed their sympathy for his loss—but the next day the horse returned, leading an entire herd. The farmer’s son soon broke his leg trying to ride one of the new horses. Then the army passed through and conscripted all the young men except the farmer’s injured son. With each new event, the farmer’s neighbors told him how lucky or unlucky he was; each time he replied, “Who knows what’s good or bad?”
We live in free fall. Events cascade around us, and we are presented with one choice after another, each with uncertain outcomes. As we live into Principle Nine, we do our best to stay open and alert. We respond to the challenge of the moment while staying focused on the larger call in our life. In bringing together spiritual nimbleness and a sense of purpose, we create spiritual integrity.
- Do you find it easier to live in free fall in recovery than when you were in active addiction or do you find it harder because you are more aware of what is going on?
Second Segment - Topic Of The Week
- Who was the last person, place or thing to piss me off?
What can I learn about myself and my nature from that experience?
Did I have retaliation fantasies for this injustice?
What sensations, feelings and thoughts come with my anger or judgment?
Third Segment - Quote Of The Week
“Step Ten: I will continue to evaluate my own actions and admit to myself what choices were wrong.” TeenAddictionAnonymous.com
An airplane leaves from the departure city en route for its destination thousands of miles away. Sixty minutes after departure the plane finds itself slightly off course. What does the pilot do? Seeing he/she is going the wrong way, will she or he fly back to the departure city and try again, or does the pilot make a slight in-air adjustment to put the plane back on course? We see the irrationality of starting all over again when a slight adjustment will do. If recovery is our airplane, values are our bearings; any time we are off course, we can turn back in the heading of living within our values. We accept that we will get blown off course from time to time. We don’t start all over, we simply alter our course. Step Ten is the compass or barometer to show us when we are off course in life.
If the pilot sees an engine is on fire, it would be foolish for her or him to push on just because it’s never been a problem before. Sometimes our recovery plane has to be landed at the nearest, safest airport for a rigorous inventory of the working parts. Unexpected turbulence or sheer flying hours can reveal wear or damage that needs attention. A regular Step Ten can sometimes reveal a recurring theme, highlighting a need for more intense inventory. For some of us this means outside help in the form of counseling, therapy and/or another Twelve Step program. Just like the pilot flying the plane, we affect other people’s welfare by the choices we make.
- Is a rational pilot flying my recovery plane? Am I living consciously or on auto-pilot? Do I respond attentively, calmly and open-mindedly to the messages my control panel gives me?