What’s a “Spiritual Dashboard?”

Bookmark and Share       Posted on September 10th, 2010 by by Bob

In the mid-1990’s, during the administration of Mayor Rudolph Julianni, New York City saw a 50% reduction in violent crimes (such as murder, rape and robbery) as the result of an initiative known as “community policing.” This campaign, which took its roots from Small Town America, focused repairing broken windows, cleaning up graffiti, and a crack down on minor offenses such as subway fare-scoffers and squeegee-wielding panhandlers.

Really? Let’s give that just a minute to sink in.

A 50% decline in violent crimes as a result of fixing windows and cleaning graffiti? That’s a startling statistic, and it’s also the underlying principle behind the so-called “Spiritual Dashboard” an important benchmark used by the clinical team every week at Jaywalker Lodge.

The Spiritual Dashboard is a measure used to gauge what we call “the spirit of the house” at The Lodge and Solutions – our two 90-day residential treatment programs. As a community, the spirit of the house fluctuates regularly. Sometimes a group of peers will be collectively focused on recovery, acting in a manner than creates an authentic space of healing for everyone in the program. Other times, a certain spiritual “malady” will inhabit the treatment milieu, creating a sense of uncertainty about recovery where small rule infractions and self-centered thinking can lead to larger and more toxic consequences like lying, stealing, or relapse.

The Spiritual Dashboard does not seek to analyse complex issues like root origins of addictive behavior or transference of unresolved family issues, etc. Rather it is a simple tool which provides the community with a quick glimpse at how our residents are keeping up with the daily disciplines of recovery: Attendance at AA meetings, our family style sit-down dinner, daily journal entries, chores around the house, made beds, and attendance at morning meditation groups.

And it really works! Just as cleaning graffiti or fixing broken windows drastically cut New York City’s violent crime rate, so too does a focus on personal accountability and small daily disciplines serve to create and sustain an authentic space of recovery and healing for our residents.

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