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Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

We are accustomed to making pledges or taking oaths. We often make promises to ourselves and others. How effective are these pledges, oaths or promises? To what end are we setting these in motion? In the context of shattering the stigma of addiction, it is important to be clear on our own personal reasons and values. We can be stirred to action for many reasons. To sustain action it helps to set intentions, to understand our motivation and to put a promise into concise words.

My personal mission statement is:

To reduce suffering in the world through grace,
ease and dignity for all … including myself!

Some years ago I found myself losing focus on my goals, struggling to pick them up again and again. Stephen Covey’s work helped me realize I needed a mission statement. As I began putting this into practice, my focus improved. I learned a lot about myself. One significant phrase needed to be added to the end…”including myself!” I find it easy to offer dignity to others; yet I was not giving myself the same respect.

Another thing I learned from having this statement was that my values needed to be clear. Why is it important to offer grace, ease and dignity? Over the years that my son struggled with addiction, Jim wasn’t always treated with respect. This is common with the disease of addiction. This is true of many who simply think differently, look different, or come from different backgrounds. Grace, ease and dignity are basic human rights.

Personal integrity is critical to my sense of self. I make a promise; I deliver. Laughter is another important value – to be able to laugh at myself when I fall on my face, when I do human things like make mistakes. Many other key values came into focus as I kept working within this mission statement.

Finally, I began to understand more deeply that each of us has the same 24-hours a day to attend to our life goals. None of us gets more. I’m hard wired to help others. To offer myself grace and ease, I had to lower my personal expectations so I could rest as needed, find space to see the humor in my own humanity.

Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world. Arthur Schopenhauer

If you choose to commit towards change in shattering the stigma of addiction, consider establishing your own mission statement and promise. Choose what works for you. Willing to share your Mission Statement and Promise? Send them along to inspire others!

Here’s something to consider from Rotary International.

The Four-Way Test – Of all the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the Truth?
  2. Is it Fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
  4. Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

My Promise:

As I work to shatter the stigma of the disease of addiction, I promise:

  • To keep my Mission Statement foremost in my daily activities.
  • To continuously learn about the complexity of issues surrounding addiction.
  • To be bold in the face of resistance.
  • To discover additional areas of blindness within my own perceptions of the world.
  • To honor my children, my brothers, my niece and all who suffer this disease and those who love them.

If stigma starts within our own set of beliefs, it can only end in the same place – within our hearts, deeds and choices. If we choose to offer healing and hope in the world, we must take action.

Gandhi said it best:
Be the change you wish to see in the world.