Integrity is being honest, true to ourselves and our character. Integrity is unwavering dedication to one’s moral values. It’s adhering unflinchingly to one’s principles. It’s having a personal code of conduct and living by it. To do the right thing even when no one is there to witness it is to show integrity. Addiction causes us to abandon our integrity in pursuit of our next high, however. We lose sight of what really matters to us, much to the detriment of not only us, but those around us. We check out and stop caring. Integrity is the core of who we are. We have lost our way.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“One of the effects of an addictive disease is that it destroys our integrity. We see ourselves doing things at work that compromise our value system, and we say nothing. We are reprimanded for something for which we are not responsible, and we say nothing. We act in ways that are not in keeping with our own personal morality.
The addiction to doing too much is just like any other addiction in that it puts us in a position where we are willing to do anything to get our ‘adrenaline buzz,’ to get our ‘fix.’ We see ourselves participating in decisions that are wrong for us, we neglect ourselves, and we neglect our families. We have lost our integrity.”
Integrity is a fundamental component of our personality. Who are we if not for our morals and values, the things for which we stand, that which we truly care about? The sad thing about addiction is its destructiveness, how it strips away everything good in life bit by bit until there is nothing left of ourselves and our lives but our addiction. It does the same to our integrity. We fall for the lie of the drug (overwork, busyness, drugs, sex, alocohol, shopping… whatever it may be). We start to believe that all that matters is indulging, and we begin to look for ways to get our next fix sooner. Eventually, our entire lives become centered around our addiction—from where we go and who we see to how we make decisions and more. Integrity is all about choices, the choices big or small that we make every day. Addiction ultimately robs us of that choice, replacing it with our preferred poison instead. It’s time we set it aside to discover who we are again, and reconnect with our principles.