The quote above is from a chapter in the Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text entitled ‘We do recover” and that we do recover is a fact that is offered freely to anyone who is willing to place their recovery and the things necessary to maintain it as the priority. In the same text on page 22 it states; “We have found hope. We can learn to function in the world in which we live. We can find meaning and purpose in life and be rescued from insanity, depravity and death…” Given the choice between hope and insanity, depravity and death it is safe to say a reasonable person would opt for hope. The fact that people can and do recover is manifest in the lives of those who have, are and continue to recover. Addiction being a disease of isolation, self centeredness, self obsession, and self pity leads the mind of the average person in early recovery to conclude “Sure, others can recover but what does that have to do with me?” All too often folk in early recovery ‘out class’ themselves for the solution by concluding that the gift they see before their eyes in the form of others that have ‘been there, done that and come out the other side’ is not available to them. This is evident in internal dialogue that follows the lines of; ‘nobody’s seen the trouble I have seen…Yeah, but…I am not that bad (yet)…I am too bad, fundamentally flawed, crazy or better than all those people…” Essentially pride and reverse pride will tell one that they are either too good or bad for the solution which frequently becomes a self fulfilling prophecy in the form of continued relapse, insanity, depravity and death. For better or worse it is a fact that acquiring the honesty, willingness and open mindedness necessary to begin recovery is a painful process complicated by a myriad of unwanted consequences that lead the afflicted to acknowledge what others in their life have been telling them; ‘I am the problem.’ Out of this pain and turmoil one is able to approach recovery without stipulations or reservations. If you are trying to negotiate the terms of your surrender to the fact you can no longer use drugs successfully, or need to have this, that and the other thing before you obtain or maintain abstinence you may not be done yet. If you are the good news is-although it typically does not look, feel or smell like it at the time-is that where one’s previously held hope dies, new and real hope for a real life is born. Churches, 12 step programs and related literature is full of stories of folk like you and I who have empowered after defeat to live a life they gave up dreaming about or never thought possible for themselves. One needs merely to peer out of their mind, stop listening to the cognitive dissonance to see it and let the light of that hope penetrate their mind. “If they can do it maybe I can too…” As stated above, to start on this journey one must place their recovery and all things that support it as the priority in their life. Relapse is more likely when relationships, jobs, money, power or prestige eclipse recovery as the priority unless one returns to the basics. In early recovery it is necessary to begin building a foundation of things such as keeping my drug of choice out of my body, attending to my support needs, having a mentor, following direction (actually allowing those I have asked to aid me assist), trying to be of service and attending all aspects of one’s person; physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. On such a footing “new dreams reawaken and new possibilities arise-not only for me, but for you too.
By: Richard Dole, LCSW, Therapist, BES Group and Associates Pasadena location.