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Five Principles of Recovery - Compromise

Five Principles of Recovery

 Accountability  .  Submission  .  Surrender  .  Compromise  .  Attitudes 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

Marianne Williamson


In a series of articles, we will explore Five Principles of Recovery, which if maintained, can offer freedom from the bondage of addiction. In this piece, we look at the dangers attached to Compromise.



Compromise is one of the archenemies of Recovery.


Because it offers an addicted person the ongoing option of comfort; a way out of the necessary wrestle between life and death; a battle that must take place if restoration is to root.



This wrestle will reveal character. As a result of it, the real person will emerge.

By contrast, personality and charisma are rarely authentic. These appealing personas are often adaptations that arise after painful exposure to parental, societal and emotional pressures.

The problem with masking is that by expertly disguising dysfunction, it misrepresents motive.

But Scripture says we will know a man by his fruit.

When we unpack this powerful truth, we learn that it is an individual’s attitudes and actions that reflect who they truly are.

Ethics, moral fibre and personal values are cornerstones of character, but only measurable once they are consistently applied and exposed in relational connection.

For the mettle of a person to be proven, we must look to actual past and present experience.



In the original Hebrew culture, a person’s name reflected their reputation.

Who are you?

If you look back through all your years, what story is etched into the blue print of your life? And, have you owned that, in every chapter, you were the architect?

There may well have been tragedies, losses and unforeseen circumstances to bear, but even then, the choice as to how you could have responded, always remained yours.

This is a harsh truth to confront.

Once you do, turn and look ahead. What do you envision? What will creating a new blueprint cost your inclinations to indulge? Are you prepared to surrender literally anything that will threaten your sobriety?

Or, are there reservations up your sleeve?



Addiction is anarchical.

A person engaging with this compulsive condition thrives on lawlessness; is relationally reckless and refuses to take personal responsibility.

Everybody else is always to blame.

As moral crimes accumulate, a public charge sheet points to complex diagnostics that indicate behavioural disorders, sexual depravities and mental delusions, to name only a few.

There is no medical cure.

Restoration lies somewhere between the complex process of emotional reframing; renewed thinking; a shifting of habitual response patterns; and healing of wounds that arise out of early trauma and unmet nurture-needs.

Even this simplified description can attract debate.

The point here is:

During the Recovery process, taking a detour around deeply-etched self-destruct patterns will not do. Instead, they must be faced.

There can be no further illusions, no lethargy, no pit stops, no cave to crawl into; no distractions. The only way out is to align with reality and walk through the pain.

Your commitment to focus must be fierce.



Our inner conflict can quieten.

As we embrace our authentic nature, we discover who we truly are. During this process, we come to terms with the self-imposed pain that must be left behind. We get choose to self-control over chaos and learn an emotional language that creates healthy connection.

God offers everything we need for our journey. His Forgiveness and Grace offer reconciliation and resolution.



Compromise is deadly.


Because it invites the easily-influenced addict to dance with denial.

In the slipstream of survival, grey areas can become intensely attractive. Somehow, they offer respite; a soft place to fall.

But, no matter our tension, there can be no excuses. Engaging in any quick fix can mark the beginning of our backslide.

Remember, relapse is seldom about the first drink, the first cut, or the sex itself.

It is the little foxes that will begin to break our resolve.

A bit of gossip here, a white lie over there, a silent night with a stranger. Once you have given yourself permission to slip, what will be next?

Take care! You may believe you are the keeper of your secrets, but in the unseen, your adversary keeps count.

In one split second, you can become enslaved, all over again.



Zero compromise! No negotiation.

If you do not compromise on the principles of accountability, surrender and submission you will have Recovery.

Conversely, if you empower any ideas of ‘maybe-somehow-just-this-time,’ you will fall.


Because as addicts we love grey areas. They offer us the opportunity to act in underhand ways. We become comfortable in sneaky spaces.

So, for us, the shadows of life are out of the question.  

When we do not consistently expose our inner world to truth and reality, our addictions gather momentum.



In Recovery, you are either in, or out.

Reservations will result in you becoming double-minded; cause you to become unstable in all your ways.

Common examples of compromise include the convoluted idea that since you only used substances, it is acceptable to drink. Or, there’s the false notion that, since your behavioural issues are sorted, you can begin gaming.

And, there are those people who, despite real evidence of shattered lives, refuse to accept that they are addicted at all.

Take heed: this kind of conditional thinking is dangerous.

It will activate habitual patterns that you previously relied on to release emotional tension.



The antidote to compromise is accountability.


Because we are well-schooled in self-deception;

Because being open, honest and willing to accept correction is vital to a sustainable Recovery;

Because when emotional issues aggravate, isolation is a default safe-space;

Because a victim mind-set avoids transparency and offers vindication;

Because self-pity is a sinking sand that invites discouragement;

And a decision to relapse most often occurs in one split-second.



It is essential we get this:

Recovery is a zero-compromise zone.

You are either in, or out.

Only you can decide.


By David Lacey

Human Assets Manager

David has been in Recovery for six years. He plays a key role in both the Management and Multi-Disciplinary Teams of Healing Wings. He stands testament to the fact that when we bravely face personal truths, new opportunities open up. He is a man who stands firm in faith. He does not bend or blend. Compromising the integrity he has worked so hard to regain is just not an option.

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