What are core values?
Our values are our beliefs that some things are right and good, other things are irrelevant and some things are bad and wrong.
Our CORE values refer to what is really important to us. They give us insight into who we really are.
Values give our life meaning and purpose.
Knowing what our values are and sticking to them leads to higher self confidence, good self-esteem and a healthy sense of self. It allows us to make good decisions and to have a sense of direction, meaning and purpose in life.
Many people who say they don’t know who they are, actually mean that they don’t know what is really important to them. Or, they have been following the values imposed on them from family, friends or society in general.
When you come dependent on alcohol, drugs, or food, you can tend to lose sight of your values.
As the addiction progresses, things that were important are given a lesser priority or ignored completely. Many core values are compromised – intimacy, loyalty, honesty, career, health, integrity, education, to name but a few.
The emotional effects of not paying attention to your values are a profound sense of emptiness, dissatisfaction, lack of meaning and purpose.
Directly acting against your own values can leave you with an over-riding sense of anger, shame and failure.
Having to choose between values can cause confusion, indecision and a sense of being stuck.
All of this negative effect can create a further need for substances to numb the emotional pain that you feel.
Look at the list of core values below and circle around 10 that are important to you. Then try to put them in order of priority – 1= most important.
When you have done that, think about whether they are really YOUR values or whether they have been carried over from your family or whether they are society expectations that you believe you should value.
Take some time to do this exercise and really think about what is really important to you.
Examples of core values
|Connection to others||Intelligence||Spirituality /Religion|
Core Values and Recovery
Core values are critical in overcoming any kind of problem – not just addiction.
We need a strong “why” in order to change.
It is very likely that your underlying values finally got you to seek help. Maybe it was your deteriorating health, the excruciating shame of constantly compromising values, lack of connection with your family/friends/ or not reaching the potential you believe is possible.
Or maybe you could see no direction or future for yourself.
Write down which values in particular are pushing you to change.
What values are missing from your life?
What have you been compromising?
It is also important to create a clear vision of what you want in your your future life so that in difficult times or when self-sabotaging urges hit, you can remind yourself of what you are struggling for.
Many people live a goal driven life.
The problem with living like this is, once you have achieved the goal there is an anti-climax and a need to find another goal. If you don’t achieve the goal you will feel like a failure.
This leads to very short-lived satisfaction and a life of constantly trying and maybe failing to achieve. Having goals is necessary but if you start trying to live a value driven life you are much more likely to achieve long-lasting fulfillment.
In a notebook, write in detail about some of the things you would like to have in recovery that are based on the values that you chose. E.g., if you chose love – describe in detail what that means to you – what would it look like in your life. If you chose integrity, look at areas where you are not walking your talk. If you chose spirituality, look for ways that you can incorporate spiritual practice into you life.
then EVERY SINGLE DAY do something in line with your values