Men’s Issues: Doing The Right Thing

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At Jaywalker Lodge, we help men overcome the hurdles preventing them from achieving and maintaining long-term sobriety. This means that we have firsthand knowledge of the issues that plague men on their journeys to recovery. We see it all, and we’ve dealt with a lot of it ourselves. The reasons behind chronic relapse and difficulty embracing the program of recovery are many, and they are unique to each man. However, just like we all have the same disease of alcoholism and addiction, there are many common problems we deal with as well — problems that pretty much all men can relate to. That is why we are taking the time to explore men’s issues.

Today we are talking about doing the right thing. Let’s acknowledge the vagueness here: the “right thing” may look different from man to man, and what’s right is sometimes dependent on the details of a given situation. Do you remember the story of Pinocchio? How about his cricket friend who acted as his conscience until he became a real boy? We all have that inner voice or feeling in our gut that tells us when we’re about to make a bad decision. Well, men in recovery are a lot like Pinnochio, in need of someone to help them reconnect with their conscience again.

Connecting With Our Conscience

The 12-Steps, our sponsor, and our community of sober friends act as our conscience in early recovery until we find our steady legs again. They can help us see the right way to handle something and know the right thing to do. More importantly, as we work the 12-Steps, we become better able to hear our own conscience again. We learn how to connect to and stay in tune with our conscience. We learn how to intuitively interact with our higher power and the small voice inside us again. 

Have you ever walked past a homeless person on the street, then further down the road you feel a gnawing in your gut to go back and give them a few dollars? Or worse, does it bother you afterward if you don’t heed that little intuition? That’s the conscience. Working an active program of recovery not only helps it come back online, but it helps us hear it better and empowers us to follow through on its yearnings. We will always need and benefit from the guidance of the 12-Steps and our sponsor, but it also helps to be able to build a trustworthy intuition and stay in tune with our guiding conscience.

So far, this all sounds pretty easy. We work the 12-Steps, live a recovery-centered life, and boom — our conscience comes back online. We can hear it and we are given the clarity to follow through on its guidance. So, we’re done, right? Not exactly. There are a few more things to consider.


There’s that word nobody likes again. Practice. It can be hard sometimes. It requires patience, paying attention to our mistakes, and growing from them. It may sound a little unexciting, but practice is absolutely a key ingredient to all good things. It takes time to learn to trust ourselves again, and it takes practice to be able to hear our conscience and follow through on our intuitions. Quite serendipitously, we have the 12-Step program of spiritual action which provides us constant opportunity to practice these things and will always give us helpful feedback. The more thoroughly and regularly we work the 12-Steps, the more they will help us see chances and ways to do the right thing.

The Right Thing Isn’t Always Easy

And the easy thing is seldom right. There is an old saying that goes, “If you want self-esteem, do esteemable things.” It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not. We often think the best route to take is the one that will make us the happiest in the fastest amount of time. This is usually not the case, but it is an appealing trap every time we come across it. Doing the right thing sometimes requires sacrifice, self-denial, or foresight. It can mean going against the grain, being the odd man out, or making a choice that will be beneficial in the future instead of a choice that seems best right now.

Doing the right thing is, again, a subjective thing for each of us. Time spent in active recovery will help illuminate our inner compass. Our higher power is our ultimate authority on what is right, and each of us must decide for ourselves. That’s why it is so key that we allow the 12-Steps to re-awaken us on the inside. Only once we are in tune with our conscience again can we even begin to aim what the right thing is.

Each of us has in our head and our heart an idea of the kind of man we are and an idea of the kind of man we would like to be. Bridging the gap between the two often requires spiritual action, which is built right into the 12-Steps. We all have some sort of moral code — an idea of what is okay and what is definitely not okay. These value systems and ideas of what is right are one of the major sources of conflict. The literature of recovery tells us that “love and tolerance of others is our code.” It also tells us that one of our main jobs in recovery is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to our higher power and our fellow human beings. We must remember that the 12-Step program tells us that love, tolerance, and service are serious, important business. So anything that is “right” should include at least one, if not all three.

Doing the right thing hardly seems possible when we are trapped so deeply within the prison of alcoholism and addiction. So many of us have betrayed ourselves, our values, and our loved ones in service to our disease. Luckily, there is a solution and it can help us begin to live rightly again as our own heart and higher power guide us. The 12-Step program, when willingly and wholeheartedly engaged in, can produce the necessary psychic change and vital spiritual experience that lead to freedom and recovery from alcoholism and addiction for so many. Doing the right thing becomes possible again as we begin to heal ourselves and rebuild our lives by being of loving service to others. At Jaywalker Lodge, our foundations are firmly set in the 12-Step program, and we have experienced the transformative power of this program firsthand. It saved our lives, and it can work for you, too. To begin your journey in recovery, call us now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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