Insight for the Journey: Exercising Good Judgment
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Insight for the Journey: Exercising Good Judgment

Substance Use Disorders Impair Judgment 

Alcohol and drugs impair judgment. In the throes of addiction, people often do things under the influence of a substance that they would never do if they were sober. They may make poor financial choices, take foolish risks, say inappropriate things, and make short-term decisions with devastating long-term consequences. Living a life filled with little discernment, bad judgments and incorrect assessments is painfully self-perpetuating. As the addiction becomes more severe, bad decisions lead to further errors in thinking and acting. This pattern, although difficult to address, must be interrupted and changed. The following principles will get you started in testing your decisions and making good judgements. 

Seven Guidelines for Good Judgement 

1. Good judgement is focused on choices and decisions that are positive long-term. Seek to make decisions based on your own best long-range interests. Resist the urge to indulge in instant gratification choices. 

2. Good judgements are well thought out, not rash, or impulsive. Spend time making your decisions without being pressured or rushed. Being careful in your planning will yield good results and prevent trouble in the future. 

3. Good judgements have the interest of others in mind. Don’t consider your own needs only, rather consider the needs of others as well. Good decisions are built on compassion and understanding of what is important to the important people in your life. 

4. Good judgement follows your own values and basic positive principles-Don’t cheat, lie, steal, manipulate, extort, or violate the boundaries of others. Build good judgements around your own values and positive character traits such as honesty, integrity, responsibility, and love for others. 

5. Good judgement requires honesty with yourself. One common self-deception is to believe my judgements are always good and right. Be cautious, knowing that errors in judgment occur frequently in addiction and can be confusing in early recovery as well. 

6. Good judgement is usually in keeping with the advice of your positive support system. Find advisors that understand your recovery program and can give you solid information and direction. Listen without arguing and accept guidance when you can. 

7. Good judgements protect your recovery. Make decisions that guard your sobriety and are choices you can be proud of and honest about with others. 

Making good decisions is essential in sustaining your recovery. It will protect your future and help you become the kind of person you can be proud of. 

Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!

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