Character Counts

Every week here at Helping Up Mission, we focus on a character quality which can help us in both our recovery and our spiritual walk. The focus of the 12 Steps is not chemicals, addictions or compulsive disorders – but character. Character beats chemicals every time. If you have character, you don’t need chemicals – and if you have chemicals, you are not interested in character.
So each week we address a new character quality that we can work on and which can empower us. Our list of Character Qualities is 26 long, covering half a year. Since most men in our Program go to work or school at 6 months, everyone is here to go through the entire list before they take that next step in their program.
I have been pleasantly surprised how seriously guys have taken to these character qualities over the years. Every Friday we have an afternoon chapel service where we recognize men who move from one phase to another of our 12-month Spiritual Recovery Program. Men who have completed all 365 days are invited to speak to the assembled audience, including staff, other graduates, underclassmen, family and friends. When Will graduated three months ago, his graduation speech was carefully crafted around these 26 character qualities. It was very clever, but I was really excited to see how much they meant to his recovery and spiritual walk.
Two weeks ago, Reggie (who we just recognized in chapel yesterday for earning his high school diploma!) showed my his cell phone. Each week he types in that week’s character quality and then refers back to it every day during that week. Another clever idea and it showed me that he really understands the value of these character qualities in his life.
If the whole idea of these character qualities is appealing to you, you can find our list – monthly – on the website: from the Homepage, chose Programs/Services, then click on Character Qualities on the left-hand side of that page. This week’s Character Quality has been Security – structuring my life around what is eternal and cannot be taken away or destroyed. Interestingly (at least to me!), the last time I blogged about our Character Qualities, was Election Day (11/4/08) and the character quality was Security. Not sure if that is supposed to be some sort of message or not, but we would all do well to keep our lives structured around things that are eternal and cannot be taken away or destroyed.

Pastor Gary Byers

Spiritual Life Director