Keeping your side of the street clean in recovery is a foundational principle in 12-step programs.
Through the steps, we learn that we had a part in many of the things that happened in our lives. Not blaming others for our circumstances is a common lesson in 12-step recovery. Once we see that we are not a victim of circumstance, the concept of “keeping your side of the street clean” applies. It’s also a good principle for life in general: be responsible and accountable for your own actions. When we do something to harm someone else, which we all will do, make it right.
For many who enter recovery, taking responsibility is a foreign concept. It can be difficult to see beyond our own emotional baggage. A common coping mechanism is to point the finger at others instead of looking at the self.
Keeping your side of the street clean in recovery means making good choices and owning up to bad choices. It means developing empathy and regard for others.
Keeping your side of the street clean in recovery is also part of living a spiritual life. Before getting sober, emotional reactions tend to rule life, causing a lot of chaos and destruction. Family, job, friendships, money: everything is affected. When you stay grounded spiritually, you tend to live proactively. The emotional ups and downs of life do not overpower you. You start to trust yourself, knowing that no matter what happens, you have done your best and will be able to face any challenges that arise.