What is authenticity and how does it impact upon recovery?

Authenticity refers to genuineness. When you are authentic, you are allowing yourself to be you. Authentic people are like young children.

When you are yourself, you can make authentic connections with others. Authentic connection fills the psychological void that so often fuels addiction. You can enjoy seeing and being seen with love and acceptance.

Authenticity can be destructive if not filtered. Respectful authenticity entails being both spontaneous and appropriate. When you are respectfully authentic, you abstain from doing or saying anything that might be harmful. You see and accept who your are in the moment, including any destructive thoughts or feelings that arise. You are lovingly authentic with yourself, but spontaneously inhibit expressing your authentic self in any way that might harm others. No harm trumps untamed authenticity. You humbly commit yourself to not harming others out of your recognition of their sacredness. You commit to being thoughtful and kind. You commit to non-judgment of peoples’ essences.

Being authentic starts with being authentic with yourself. You look at your experience before words. You see your way of being. This is the authentic you. You mindfully note whatever thoughts and feelings your mind generates. You lovingly say “thank you” to whatever arises, out of your commitment to cherish yourself for who you are, as you are, including your dark side. Paradoxically, this self-cherishing creates the conditions for healing and integration.

So authenticity requires self-cherishing. This is made difficult by the self-hatred that trauma, neglect, and abuse create. When you hate, you hate both inwardly and outwardly. If someone punished you, you may punish others. Your self-hatred blinds you to the truth of who you are—a miraculous being who has destructive thoughts and feelings.

So recovery entails the practice of cherishing oneself. This allows for authenticity, which allows for the healthy, loving connections everyone needs. Self-cherishing helps others to cherish themselves, making everyone more open to naming, claiming, and taming their own dark sides.

Practice cherishing yourself through practicing mindfulness, in which you become present to what is before thought. Note all that arises in your mind with a friendly, acceptant attitude, no matter how dark, destructive, or otherwise distasteful. Do this as many times as possible every day. Make it a daily life habit. If you do this 10,000 times, you will notice a change in your being. You will cherish yourself and others. From this, respectful authenticity will arise. You will experience loving mutuality. This loving mutuality is a cornerstone of a stable recovery.

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