Bill White recently wrote a powerful post about the intersection of recovery, character, and activism. First, on character as an essential element of recovery advocacy:
What is the role of character reconstruction in addiction recovery? In recovery activism? I have repeatedly returned to these questions over the course of my adult life, especially as young recovery advocates sought my guidance on how to best use their lived experience as a catalyst for social change. Effective recovery advocacy and peer recovery support depend on the scope and depth of one’s knowledge and skills, but equally important is this dimension of personal character.
He goes on to explain that advocacy founded on personal character requires a personal mission and code:
The challenge in recovery is how to rebuild a name (character) ravaged by the addiction experience. The challenge in recovery advocacy is how to use the fruits of that character reconstruction as a fulcrum for one’s service to others. As Burroughs suggests, service to one’s cause requires a foundation of personal integrity. That, in turn, requires a personal mission/vision (What am I here to achieve?) and a personal code (What are the values and personal code that will guide my journey toward that goal?)
Bill shared his own mission/vision and code, which I strongly recommend you read and reflect upon. It includes maintaining his own recovery, emphasizes listening to others, seeking to understand people who offend him, humility, and supporting the freedom of the people he seeks to serve.
He follows his own code with this statement:
Such an actionable set of values constitutes the building blocks of character. It enriches the recovery experience, quiets the childish attention-seeking of the self-absorbed ego, and enables compassion and care for others.
The post is worth reading, contemplating, and re-reading.