Integrity and Your Alcoholic


I’ve always been told character is how you behave when no one’s around to see what you’re doing.

The result of doing the right thing for the right reasons is a way of looking at integrity.

There’s no mystery about what happens to integrity when your alcoholic’s lost in the bottle.

Here are three things necessary for integrity.


It’s quite clear there are issues with your alcoholic and honesty.

Evem in the early months of recovery honesty is often hit and miss.

Just because your alcoholic goes to treatment doesn’t mean all of the behaviors change over night.

It takes time to develop integrity.

You may have experienced something like this.

Your alcoholic gets a little bit of treatment and he’s riding on the cloud.

Out of the blue, he’s ready to take care of the checking account now.

After financial insecurity of the drinking behavior, there’s no way you want to give up the check book.

In your alcoholic’s mind it’s done. He’s in recovery. You need to just get over it.

The truth is it takes time to build integrity.

I can’t tell you how long it takes, but if it took twelve years to get to recovery it may take quite a few months for you to recognize integrity.

A helpful this you can do to make things clear to your alcoholic is to be specific about what you need to see.

Here’s an example of what you might say:

  • I’ve not been 12 years not knowing what to think, struggling to be okay. I need you to be responsible for what you do and say.
  • I need to see you follow through on your promises. Keep me informed about where you are and let me know if your going to be late and why.
    I need you to be accountable to someone besides me. Someone who will tell you the truth and you will listen to.
  • When I see these behaviors and can count on them, I’ll know you’ve found integrity.

    Honesty isn’t easy for the alcoholic in general. The recovering alcoholic is no exception.

    It may not be easy for you to be totally honest.

    Maybe you’ve become good at hiding what you feel.

    The chaos has resulted in overlooking truths because it seems easier.

    Your integrity comes when you begin to be a bearer of truth.

    When you get honest with what you feel and quit denying it.

    It can be emotionally painful to live with integrity.

    There’s often a cost for honesty.

    Being whole

    Integrity is about you being complete in who you are.

    Have you thought “I would be okay if…” and you fill in the blank.

    When you put conditions on yourself being okay you’ve just settled for being incomplete.

    Your well being can’t be attached to whether your alcoholic is in recovery or in the bottle.

    It’s really your responsibility to be whole.

    To be complete as a person you may have to take time to understand what you’ve been through.

    As you look at who you are and take full responsibility for who you want to be you’ll find it much easier to be whole.

    This means you have to not define yourself by your alcoholic.

    Be Unimpaired

    Integrity is being unimpaired.

    You get to a place where you no longer allow the situation hold you back from being okay.

    Just because your alcoholic doesn’t want to participate with the family doesn’t mean you can’t.

    In fact the hobbies and interests that truly express you need to come out.

    You alcoholic may choose to be impaired by alcohol. That’s his choice.

    It’s your choice to put your life together without impairment.

    You might say, but I don’t have…Fill in the blank.

    You can have everything and be impaired or nothing and not be impaired. It’s all about how you choose to live.

    I’m sure you want your alcoholic to have integrity. That will come when recovery takes hold.

    Your integrity comes when you embrace who you are and live your life by being honest to you and your alcoholic.

    In what ways does integrity matter to you? Let us know in the comment section below.


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    Here’s What 10 Other People Thought...

    1. Robin

      Question? were all the typos a test to see who actually reads you???? lol
      this article I enjoyed typos and all. Derek and honesty are strangers ,integrity peeks out like it is scared to be there. He doesn’t trust himself with the check book what works for us is me holding the purse strings and him getting a debit card with his slush fund. Derek can lose 180.00 in just one bar no clue how he lost it.short changed or just falls to the floor only god knows. So not in recovery never see the check book in recovery never see the check book . he would have to pick a different avenue to prove he is responsible to me it won’t be with the household money.granted his name is on the accounts and he could go into them with out my knowledge but he never has or does that alone is a form of integrity I guess. or …its too much trouble to do so and getting me to do it is easier. just not instant. thank you robin

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Thanks Robin, the typos have been corrected, the editor apparently slacked off.
        There are many ways integrity can be shown. It’s really up to him to become true to his word.

    2. kat

      Great piece, I love the piece on being yourself , I am lucky to be a stubborn cowgirl that wouldn’t let my drunk change me, in fact he would come to me for support and fun, the hard part was deaLing with his illness, trying to help him was his bite to me, he thought I was being mis wisdom when in fact until their ready TO except your help they will bottle up and pity themselves, integrity really helps when your in a group makes you feel important, after all the yrs of drinking interactivity has to be earned, oh no! yrs yes yrs! but it will come, i am lucky to have a husband that reads the bible and reads a lot so coming back is faster for him, I would have to say has helped him a lot he types in what he feels and the verse comes up for him to stay strong , I have found less said is better, remember they are ill how would you spongecake to an ill person , be kind and be yourself

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Kat, I know many people fight the influence of faith on recovery but it’s a strong component of recovery for many alcoholics. Thanks so much for your input.

    3. kat

      Can I add Robin give him a card that has a limit of 50.00 3 drinks your out , lol just saying

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Great suggestion Kat. Thanks for your input.

    4. INTEGRITY is my anthem. It matters to me above all and I have to say I think it is THE proof of a whole human being. I just tweeted a thought I had and it went something like this “The size of the gap between the image you project and your reality is directly proportional to how messed up you are”. The larger the gap the more help you need; and of course the less integrity you have. Integrity is impossible when someone will not be honest with themselves. It doesn’t matter how intelligent they are or how much potential they have at the end of the day we are the choices we make. If you choose to lie about who you are, if you hide things, that is a tell tale sign that not only do you know you’re doing something wrong but you want to get away with it. I believe that’s malicious. Lack of integrity, for me, is synonymous with lack of quality. And it’s sad. I’ve known two men now that had such WONDERFUL qualities to offer the world, to help make the world a better place and they choose to allow themselves to lie and pretend instead of stand and take control. As pessimistic as this sounds however I’m never able to completely stop believing in people. Even in the 11th hour a person can find the strength, the courage, to change the choices they’ve been making. And I think that what has to stay their focus if they’re EVER going to heal. They can’t think of change as changing who they are. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE AND UNNECESSARY TO CHANGE WHO YOU ARE> you MUST ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE AND CHANGE YOUR CHOICES> That way self hating, self manipulation, is not a part of the deal. In order to control your dark side you have to acknowledge it and embrace it. Once you’ve done that you’re not only on the road to recovery, you’re on the road to integrity.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Michelle, Awesome and profound. Well stated. Thanks.

    5. Kate

      My partner has recently lost a friend and has been drinking heavily for a solid six weeks since – I feel as though I am pushing him away by being angry at him every time he does come home which is becoming more and more infrequent but I don’t want to just let him be as I feel like I should be doing something to stop him going down this path. I love him dearly and will not leave him but I just don’t know what to do for the best – every time we talk he says I’m over reacting and that for the time being this is how things are going to be ( I imagine so that he can deal with the grief)

      Am I over reacting ?


      • FreeMyAddict Team

        It’s not over reacting to voice your concern. Alcohol’s never the answer to grief. It’s an easy excuse (reason) to justify intoxication. When he’s sober is a good time for him to talk through his grief. It’s always better to communicate with your partner when he’s sober and your able to not speak out of anger. Thanks for your comment.

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