Archive for the ‘Compass’ Tag

Values   3 comments

What are values and how do they influence our Road to Recovery?

Our values are the foundation of who we are; they are the basis for how we see the world around us, our beliefs on how things “should be”.  We develop our values through a variety of avenues: 

  • Faith
  • Family Upbringing
  • Experiences
  • Social Environment
  • Geography

In the best case scenario, each of these will run parallel to the others; but for many of us, this is not the case and these influences provide us instead with conflicting messages.  Because each of us encounters these influences in different ways, our values themselves are individualized, and to an even greater extent our perception/belief of what values are.  So as to provide some clarity and get us all on the same path, let me provide a definition to which we will be referring back to throughout this article.

 Beliefs and/or ideals held by an individual or group about what is right and wrong and what is important in life. The individual/group has an emotional investment in these beliefs and thus they (the beliefs) control behavior.

 I have heard some say that another word for values is “morals”. To a point, I would agree. I believe our morals are an important component of our values.  As the definition states, our morals are that internal compass that tells us what is right or wrong. It is also this compass that we use when we judge the behaviors and character of others.  It is this compass that guides us in our choices and resulting behaviors. We use this same compass to judge our own behavior and character. But as previously noted, just because I observe you demonstrating a certain behavior that I deem to be inappropriate, based on my values, you may or may not believe that you are doing anything wrong, because your values are different that mine. That being said, most of us are actually more similar in our values and morals than we are different, and typically it is our nature to interact and build relationships with people with whom we share like values. Then by being in these relationships our beliefs, ideals, morals and ultimately our values are strengthened. This true rather our values and beliefs are positive and appropriate or negative and irrational.

 Another aspect of our values is the relative importance, merit and/or worth that is placed on something.  This component as ever bit as important as our morals, and it is typically shaped by them. Think to yourself what is important to you?

  • Family
  • Work
  • Money
  • Sports
  • Leisure Activities
  • Friends
  • Faith
  • Life


What are you able/willing to give up in order to avoid loosing something else?

 Another word that fits this concept is priorities.  What comes first?

 I once heard a minister talking about values state that we demonstrate our values and priorities by where we invest Time, Energy, Money, and Talents.  So I challenge you to some self-examination; evaluate where are you investing these resources? Are your investments contributing to your recovery or are they hindering it?

 Because our values are so incredibly personal, we grow to have very strong emotional investments in them.  When they are questioned or challenged, we become defensive and take it as a personal attack against our character, and the very person that we are.  Thus an issue that may seem to be insignificant to you may be something that I feel very strongly about and as a result I become emotional charged resulting in conflict.

 So what is the point? How do our values affect our Recovery?

 Our values have everything to do with our recovery. As mentioned, our values are the glasses through which we see the world, and the compass that points us in the right direction along our journey.  As mentioned at the beginning for many of us there is no such thing as “clear” “black & white” values. Our life and experiences have led us to develop more “cloudy” values that are more like varying shades of gray. This ambiguity and uncertainness often leads us to often take the easiest road at the time. In addition, we find ourselves making impulsive decisions based on our current emotions rather than thinking them through and applying our values to the given situation. In order to be successful in our recovery, we MUST be more mindful of our values and think through our responses to situations and base decisions and behavior on them.

We must make decisions that demonstrate that we place value and importance in our Recovery!

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