Personal Bill of Rights
I found this personal bill of rights on a folded piece of paper tucked away in my secretary after my move last Fall. The list includes a couple paragraphs about it afterwards which I will include at the end of the list. I figured I would post it here:
2. I have a right to discover and know myself.
3. I have a right to follow my own values and standards.
4. I have a right to recognize and accept my own value system as appropriate.
5. I have a right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe or violates my values.
6. I have a right to dignity and respect.
7. I have a right to make decisions.
8. I have a right to determine and honor my own priorities.
9. I have a right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
10. I have the right to terminate conversations with people when it leads me to feel put down and humiliated.
11. I have the right not to be responsible for others' behavior, actions, feelings or problems.
12. I have a right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
13. I have a right to expect honesty from others.
14. I have a right to all of my feelings.
15. I have a right to be angry at someone I love.
16. I have a right to be uniquely me, without feeling I'm not good enough.
17. I have a right to feel scared and to say "I'm afraid."
18. I have the right to experience and then let go of fear, guilt, and shame.
19. I have a right to make decisions based on my feelings, my judgement or any reasons that I choose.
20. I have a right to change my mind at any time.
21. I have a right to be happy.
22. I have a right to stability — i.e., "roots" and stable healthy relationships of my choice.
23. I have the right to my own personal space and time needs.
24. There is no need to smile when I cry.
25. It is OK to be relaxed, playful and frivolous.
26. I have the right to be flexible and be comfortable with doing so.
27. I have the right to change and grow.
28. I have the right to be open and to improve communication skills so that I may be understood.
29. I have a right to make friends and be comfortable around people.
30. I have a right to be in a non-abusive environment.
31. I can be healthier than those around me.
32. I can take care of myself, no matter what.
33. I have the right to grieve over actual or threatened losses.
34. I have the right to trust others who earn my trust.
35. I have the right to forgive others and to forgive myself.
In our recovery process, we begin to discover that we have rights as individual human beings. As children and even as adults we may have ben treated by others as though we had few or no rights. We may have ourselves come to believe that we had no rights. And we may be living our lives now as though we have none.
The above personal bill of rights are taken from a compilation of several groups and may be considered until you have your own personal bill of rights that is a part of your recovery.
Rivercrest Hospital, San Angelo, Texas, 1991
I am not sure where I picked up this list, but know it was at least 10 years ago and probably in some program or other — perhaps at business college in their personal development segment — and it is on a piece of paper that was possibly printed on a word processor rather than a computer printer. Anyhow I think it is worthy of reading through even if you might think it a little "flower child". I won't tell you which one I have checked off on that list in particular, though even after all these years, I remember checking it off.
¹ A "secretary" is a small desk in the form of a bookshelf with a leaf that folds down for a writing surface. Mine is a small bookshelf that my Grandfather made for one of my Uncles and was passed down to me when I was in Grade School.