As I write this, it’s Sunday evening, a night I normally attend my AA home group. It’s also the month I signed up to be chairperson there, except I wasn’t able to keep that obligation tonight and had to get someone else to cover for me, solely because of the level of pain I felt in my back. What’s interesting about this is how guilty I felt initially sitting at home while the meeting was going on and it totally relates to an old character defect of mine, that being an integrity-based one.
Integrity is something I never used to have much of. I often skipped obligations and commitments, backed out of plenty of gatherings, and was definitely not a man of my word, unless it suited me somehow. While I know I wasn’t truly out of integrity with my home group this evening, because I honestly didn’t feel well enough to go and was sitting at home on a heating pad for most of the night, it simply was a reminder of a time where I would cancel out on doing things like chairing a meeting, all because of a better option coming along.
I was always looking for a better option any time I signed myself up for something. Because in reality, I was constantly looking out for “numero uno”. I can’t count the number of times where I left friends hanging on evenings where we were supposed to hang out, usually because someone I was attracted came along and made a “better” offer for me. Yes, I really was that low, more than not, cancelling out on so many people, failing to keep to my word, letting many down in the process. I was truly out of integrity on most days of my life.
So, on an evening, where I couldn’t fulfill my chairperson duties and sat at home on my heating pad, I felt somewhat guilty, guilty for all the times I didn’t fulfill other obligations in the past and rarely for valid reasons. Because back then, I was never cancelling my commitments over health reasons and was always coming up with some sort of a lie instead. Why? Because I selfish, self-seeking, dishonest, and afraid…the four core character defects underlying anyone who suffers from addiction.
Thank God I’m not that person anymore. And thank God for that temporary period of feeling guilty tonight, even if it was misdirected and not necessary. Because the reality is I am a man of integrity today and I don’t ever want to return to a life where I’m not. I’m glad I’m a man of my word now, and I have to thank the 12 Steps of recovery and my walk with God for that…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson