Chris Newcomb, M.Div.
Virtue is an old school word. It's not used all that much today. As a matter of fact, you might be wondering what it really means. Virtue is, "a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being."
Why are virtues important? To answer this question, it might be helpful to look at the opposite of a virtue which is a vice. A vice is, "a practice or a behavior or habit considered a fault, a negative character trait, a defect, an infirmity, or merely a bad habit." Types of vices include, but are not limited, alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, and listening to Justin Beiber (just kidding...maybe). While we believe in the 'medical model' of addiction at The Coleman Institute, one could say that the outcome of addictive behaviors can be considered as negative. We, however, do not judge those who choose unwise behaviors as 'bad' or 'immoral'.
Having said that, most of us have a vice of some sort. Mine is ice cream. I could eat it at every meal. I'd have a heart attack and die but it sure would taste good! That would be the vice of gluttony. So, I try to exercise the virtue of self-control.
Do you have a vice(s)? What virtue could you employ to prevent your affinity for your vice? If your vice is alcohol, maybe you can bring a bottle of water to a social gathering. If it's drugs, maybe you have to use the virtue of wisdom and say no to negative people, places, and things.
To be sure, when you embrace virtues your life will get better. However, it is important to remember that it is a practice. Since none of us is ever perfect, you never own a virtue. You have approximations of virtue. You get near virtues but you never possess them. That would be perfect and we know none of us fit that description. Still, we can aim high and practice virtues to help make our life and the lives of others a little bit better one day at a time.