The Virtues of Good Moral Character: The Foundation of Healthy Relationships Forged in Sober Living. (Part I)

I feel its pertinent to dive deeper into the virtues of good moral character before I bring the discussions of sober living,  healthy relationships, and virtues of good moral character to a close.

If you’ve been following along with the blog posts in this series, you’ve come to understand how living life on a path of recovery is much more than abstinence. Recovery is a process of change. In this process, one vital change you will make is transitioning from living life in isolation, alone with your addiction, to a life of connections.

If you missed our last few blog posts on this topic, you can follow the links below to get caught up (go ahead I’ll wait) or come back to them after you read today’s post:

  • Why we need to commit to communicate, trust, and participate in our healthy relationships forged through sober living.

  • How the Serenity Prayers helps you stay on top of living a life of good moral character.  

Residing in a sober living home jumpstarts the transition into a life of good moral character because you will have chosen to live, communicate, and commit to new healthy relationships with peers aiming to find their own personal path in recovery.

Within your new healthy relationships forged in sober living, you’ll desire to act from a place of moral goodness, for several reasons, which include:

  • Acceptance

-to be productive and a positive part of the community within the sober living home.

  • Self-esteem or self-worth

- It feels good to do the right thing. New positive feelings will help you dispute negative self-talk and doubt, so you will strive to act with good moral character habitually.

  • Better decision making

- As you create habits for feeling the reward from positive actions you’ll start to weigh the cost of your actions. You’ll evaluate and decide the best course of action, instead of being impulsive and reacting to your feelings.

  • Habit

- You’ll create habits for acting with a good moral character because it makes you feel good. The reward of the habit is feeling good about yourself, instead of feeling filled with regret, shame, and guilt about your past.


1) Honesty

The fundamental virtue and key to all healthy relationships are being able, to tell the truth.  Telling the truth is a critical skill to establish trust, respect, and camaraderie within healthy relationships.

You have obligations to all persons coexisting in a sober living home. Not only is being honest about your thoughts and actions important but being able to hold others accountable for their actions is crucial. When you are being honest you are acting reasonably for the benefit and growth of the relationship. You have a responsibility, to be honest in your thoughts and actions.

2) Awareness

Learning to relate with others requires you to remain vigilant and aware of not only fulfilling your needs but making certain the needs of others are met too. When you practice self-awareness, you will have a better understanding of how the inner critic (inside all of us) is examining the present through our wounds and pain of the past. Being aware will help you to relate and advocate for yourself and others.  

3)  Empathy

Communicating honestly and openly with others residing in sober living homes is not possible without empathy.  Letting others express their needs, concerns wants, and desires, without fear forms the base of a healthy relationship. Knowing that you are able to communicate, act, and learn to live without judgment and criticism strengthens healthy relationships.

4)  Open-mindedness

It is difficult to live a life in recovery without being open to accepting feedback from others, understand you cannot change others, and courage to try new things for the sake of sobriety.

When you approach other residents in your sober living home with an open mind, you are shedding light on your ability to admit that you do not feel you know everything. You are communicating the message that your way doesn’t always work, you don't have all the answers and you trust in your new relationships to help you find a better way.

Open-mindedness is vital to acting assertively and resolving conflict. Just because all residents residing in a sober living are working for the same end-long-term sustained recovery- doesn’t mean that there will not be conflict. Keeping open to actively listen and relate to the feelings and emotions of others will help you to express assertiveness before anger arises.

5)  Compassion

Stepping outside of yourself, and acting in a way which is selfless is compassion. Doing something for another person just because you can is a foundation in recovery. Giving of your time, knowledge, or ear to actively listen to others without expectations of reciprocity is critical to reinforcing your recovery.

When you first come to reside in a sober living home, you might feel you have nothing to offer the other residents. Feelings of regret and shame will aim to keep you feeling sorry for yourself and critical of your life. In actuality, this is irrational thinking and negative self- talk at work. You always have something to offer another. Sometimes what you might label trivial is actually huge to another person in a healthy relationship.

6)  Respect

When you respect yourself it means you respect others. When you reserve the right for others to feel respect from you, you are in turn showing respect for yourself. Treating others fairly by letting them express happiness or sadness allows you to strengthen the bond of sober support while respecting yourself and your path of recovery.

You show your respect when you speak to others with courtesy, dignity, and honor.  Which are all virtues in/and on their own? Maintaining healthy relationships within a sober living home with respect illustrates to others that you trust, support and value each members independence.

7)  Loyalty

Sober support is the epitome of never giving up on another. Yes, it often happens that someone might give up on themselves, but it is crucial to always stand by and support this member of your peer group.

When you know that others stand by you, respect your decisions and anonymity you are empowered and desire to change. Change is not always easy, but with the support of sober living and new bonds found in healthy relationships.

Showing concern for others by being the first to ask how they feel or are doing creates feelings of loyalty. Knowing others are invested in your well-being, willing to listen to what is ailing you, and offer you support creates, the virtue of loyalty experienced in relationships forged in sober living.


While reading the post were you mindful to how these virtues are becoming more present in your life and in recovery?

How have you become more honest with yourself and others? Do you take the time to address your frustration and disappointments with others, instead of letting it snowball into anger?

Maybe you are taking time to let others know you trust in their advice and you are there to never give up in your support of their decision to change.

Did you offer of your time by choosing to actively and compassionately listen to what is bothering one of your mates in the sober living home this morning?

Can you be there for someone to speak with tonight?

Head over to LinkedIn or Facebook and comment about how your actions for good moral character have changed since finding your path onto the road for recovery.

Let us know how you supported a peer in your sober network of peers.

Look for our post tomorrow. We will continue to outline the virtues of healthy relationships forged in sober living.

John MakohenMorsals, Virtue, Gratitude