Define respect: What is respect in addiction recovery?
Quotes about respect
When I was asked to do an article on respect, my thoughts immediately flashed to Aretha Franklin’s 1967 theme for the feminist movement- “R.E.S.P.E.C.T”.- which upon examination of the lyrics, tells us that she will do anything in return for respect. Respect is very important to each of us! (I was surprised to learn the song was written and first recorded by a man-Brook Benton in 1965.) That the song was recognized as the “anthem” for major social change emphasizes how important respect is to living an abundant life.
Again in my research, I looked for famous quotes that relate to respect. The one most often cited is by Stacey Charter who is known for being quotable:
“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.”
Respect impacts every addict
In working with the varied client base I do, there is a word that has to be addressed with each and every person no matter what their issue. The word is RESPECT and it impacts relationship with others, but most importantly, it impacts your relationship with that most important person, YOU. How can you give to others what you haven’t got for yourself? If you believe that you should do on to others as you would have them do on to you, why do you do the things you do to yourself?
How to define respect?
When talking about a word, I like to make sure we’re all on the same page. I turn to Webster’s for clarity. Webster’s defines respect as “the special esteem or consideration in which one holds another person or thing”. Good enough?
Now let’s add respect for self, or self-respect, into the hopper.
Have you got it?
Apply respect of self to your life
You are here to focus on addiction. That you’re here is a statement in itself. I would strongly suggest you may want to give some serious thought to respect – the respect you have for yourself and others. If you “over indulge” in behavior that might be considered by some as addictive, what are you saying about your own level of self respect? And if you can’t respect you, truly, how can you respect others? As Stacey says, “make the changes that you see fit” and do it for you.
Please go back and look at the Webster’s definition and then apply it to your own life. Is there something lacking?
In working with others, I coach a holistic approach focused on balanced living, the practise of good mental, physical and spiritual hygiene. The start point is learning respect for self, and it is an absolute necessity for anyone who truly wants a life filled with peace and serenity, a life with hope. Without respect for self, how can you expect the respect of others, something we all aspire to?
When it comes to addiction and recovery, I do not think there is a one size fits all solution. I do believe addiction must be “holistic” but to be blunt, I don’t think recovery is the exclusive property of 12 step groups. That I am a member of a 12 step group tells you something, but I have worked with 100’s who have recovered without going in a meeting room. I coach people to success and work with them for the recovery that they can get.
Next week, join me and let’s continue on with this topic. If you think that “respect” might be an issue in your life, and you want to take some action, I’ll share some simple things you might try and give you one way to test low self esteem for addicts. Share your comments and I’ll read them all and try to address your issues from my perspective next week.
Photo credit: Thomas Hawk