What goes through your head when you hear this word? It’s usually someone defending it, re-establishing it, building it or holding it. The definition of Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principals that you refuse to change.
When I was doing my thing, drinking and all that other stuff, I had very little to none. As expected I was not very honest with those around me and honest to those I loved. I was vindictive, manipulative, sneaky and very dishonest about a lot of things that were going on in my life. I lied to my parents all the time or I embellished the truth to a point I would believe my own lies cause I said them so much and so often. My friends paid a price as well because I did the same to them but they didn’t know me like my family did. Work was the same, I would call in because I was too hungover or drunk, still smelling like last nights party. I didn’t want to deal with anyone from that particular place and their same old bullshit that was on the agenda day in and day out, not figuring anything until later that most of the stuff was my own baggage that I brought. As long as I had a good time I was fine and enough money to cover my own costs. Last year when the Calgary Stampeders went to the Grey Cup and won I was blitzed, I didn’t even buy any booze and somehow I wasn’t able to go to work the next day. When I woke up I grabbed a full beer before I even made that call into work, slammed it back to make sure, if it was good in my head then it was good enough to me. I just was not a good person to myself and those around me the integrity was pretty much shot and the moral principals…what were those?
That’s when I came into recovery, I had none and I wanted it back, I had very little to hold onto to begin with and I was between a rock and a hard place. How was I supposed to get it back for myself?
Like I said in blogs before I dropped off the face of the earth for the first three months. I went to detox for four days which just re-iterated what I already thought of myself, I was a loser and had to do anything to get sober for the last time. I stopped talking to everyone that was a friend or family cause I had to focus all my energy into my thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, directions and my integrity….. That was a huge one for me, in recovery being honest and upfront is what we strive for and we start working at it little by little, we crawl before we walk. Eventually we tell those we love what we did, or we tell our bosses that we were shitty employees but were willing to go to any length to get some dignity back. We stop and hope to hell that people will give us a chance, one more or the last one and sometimes we don’t even get those. Burned bridges and crappy roads are what we came from and there’s not enough wood or gravel to fix it. Even when some of us think all hope is lost we still trudge on cause we want something that we couldn’t offer ourselves to begin with. I was on a mission of my own and in the beginning it was lonely. I had to find my own support team and in the beginning it was Wellbriety, Stephanie (My best first friend in sobriety,) My counselor Phyllis, Ketso, the few other friends I had at the mens shelter and myself. The Process was slow.
I remember one of the first times I had to ask my dad for money because I needed cigarettes. My parents came to Prince George for a cousins birthday party a couple of months after I quite. It was a rainy day and I had to walk to meet him. He told me that he couldn’t keep doing this and I understood, he thought I was gonna go buy booze and before I would have. This was the lie for me before…. enough to get smokes and a bottle to ease that feeling for a little while. That wasn’t the case this time, I opened up to him instantly after seeing him, saying I had gone to detox and that I just didn’t want to drink anymore. I also said I didn’t want anyone to know anything yet, it was still nerve racking to me and my tail was still between my legs, I was scared and fragile from being in the spot light. He was exhilarated at the fact and gave me a huge hug that made me burst into tears, I got emotional and that to me was confusing. Another feeling I was not used to because of the pride I always carried, the pride I was shedding off now.
I was doing something but I still had to prove with time that I was being honest. That was me crawling before I was gonna walk. I’m only a little over 9 months sober but it feels like an eternity has passed since than. Reflecting to those days when my integrity was being built back up from slivers of shattered wood, It would start forming the foundation to go on building bridges from the charred remains they smouldered from. That smoke keeps me grounded from a past that eerily haunts me less and less everyday and that the integrity I have built this far is my identity now. I tend to keep on fortifying those bridges by being grateful for the struggles everyday because they are growth in my life and sobriety. My morals, principals and integrity are what I have and define my life and identity in who I am. I want someone to rely on me because I said I was going to do it rather than worry if I’m about to go get drunk and dismiss it altogether. I like the new me because he’s hopeful and reliable and has a lot more to offer.