In my role as Mountainside’s Executive Director, I am often asked about my perception of recovery and what I believe to be important for maintaining a life of recovery, happiness, and well-being. This is a particularly difficult question because every human being is different, and like snowflakes, each individual’s recovery regimen will be at least slightly different from everyone else’s.
Still, there are some fundamental truths and behaviors which are inherently necessary for everyone to practice if they truly want to find sustained peace and happiness in their recovery. The Twelve Steps talk about these truths and offer specific action steps, but I find it helpful to also look at them in an even more spiritual, philosophical sense.
Sobriety – true sobriety – is founded upon a healthy mix of gratitude, personal accountability, spiritual and physical wellness, open-mindedness and willingness, generosity of spirit and most importantly, intent.
Everything we do, say, and believe is founded upon our true intent. If our intent is pure and we truly are willing to do anything necessary to maintain recovery, then our choices and behaviors tend to be focused on recovery. If our intent is not completely pure and we are not willing to turn ourselves entirely over to a life in recovery, then the consequences of our choices can lead to a life with chaos and a more likely possibility of relapse.
For me, the power of intent is manifested through the decisions I make at any given moment each and every day. These “moments of truth” provide us the opportunity to take actions that define who we are, and where we are in our recovery.
At its simplest, a moment of truth is defined as an opportunity to make a decision. Some studies estimate we make as many as 35,000 decisions each day without even realizing it. This number includes decisions without long-term consequences (what to eat for breakfast, what to wear) but also includes other more impactful, morality and value-based decisions.
So, if our intent is pure and our focus is firmly on recovery, we have literally thousands of opportunities each day to do the right thing.
Learning to be more aware of our daily moments of truth is a process. This is why our true intent is so important. As we grow stronger in our recovery and develop new, healthy, recovery-driven habits we become more attuned to those opportunities we have to meet commitments, support the newcomer to recovery, volunteer to be of service, and more. These opportunities present us with many moments of truth each day.
For example: If I commit to take a newcomer to a meeting, then have the opportunity to go to a movie that I really want to see, what do I do? My intent and commitment to my recovery will help me to decide what I do. This is a moment of truth.
Moments of truth can also be less tangible. If I am striving to be generous of spirit in my recovery, I am faced with many simple opportunities each and every day. As I ambulate through my day, do I keep my head down and avoid the people I pass by, or do I make a conscience effort to make eye contact, acknowledge people’s presence, smile, or even stop to ask how they are doing?
Moments of truth play a large part as we practice our tenth step each day. As we take our personal inventory we think about the choices we have made and identify areas where we were wrong. Thinking about this from the perspective of moments of truth gives us clarity about our behaviors and allows us to compare our decisions and actions with the level of commitment to recovery and our true intent.
As I stated above, every person’s recovery program will be different. Still, experience has taught me that if my intent is pure, if I maintain a commitment to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness, if I do my best to inflict no harm on myself or others and if I maintain gratitude and generosity of spirit, I am definitely headed down the right path.
How many moments of truth will you have today?