We recover, I relapse
With the odds of beating addiction and leading a productive life so low, the question has to be asked: Why do some recover? What is it that those few people are doing that opens up the door for an addiction-free life?
There are many factors involved, Divine intervention being one of them! But overall, the current path showing the best results are the 12-step programs. “So what are they doing that other programs are not?” you may ask. And I am here to tell you what I believe it is.
The fundamental aspect of the 12-step programs is that you do not go it alone. One of the very first suggestions to a newcomer is to get a sponsor. It is strongly suggested that the person you choose to be your sponsor has at least one year in the program, goes to meetings regularly, has a sponsor them self, and inspires you to stick around. This person should be of the same sex; or in cases of gay or lesbian, they should be the opposite sex. Many deep emotional processes will be encountered in this relationship, and having a romantic interest would destroy the sanctity of the sponsor.
It is well-known in the 12-step world that if you ignore this suggestion, the chances of your gaining long-term sobriety are bleak. Addiction is a disease of denial and deception. And who knows better if you are living in denial or deceit than someone who is all too familiar with those states of being? The old saying “You can’t bullcrap a bullcrapper” (insert your own profanity if you so choose) really applies here.
“An addict alone is in bad company”
Life was not intended to be lived in solitary. We live in the Realm of Relativity and we need others to help us shape our perspective. This is especially true to the recovering person as they have spent nearly their entire existence telling lies. This reminds me of a 12-step joke. Please indulge me here….
“Do you know how to tell if a newcomer is lying?” says one 12-stepper to another? “Yes,” the other person says, “when their lips are moving!”
Sometimes recovery is down and dirty and you have to assume the worst in order to help someone get through a tough time. The one thing old-timers in the rooms know, pulling punches never helps anyone. You have to be straight, direct, blunt, and willing to alienate someone if your gut instincts tell you they are up to their old tricks.
This is the area that the 12-step programs have nailed down perfectly. We do not need to have people in our lives that tell us what we want to hear. What everyone needs are people surrounding them who will speak their truth at all times. Compulsive behaviors, addiction, and deception cannot be practiced in the light of honesty and openness; this is what gives way to long-term sobriety. The Tenth Step says something profound:
“We continue to take personal inventory, and when we are wrong, promptly admit it.”
Wow! Imagine the world for just a moment if everyone used just that tiny part of the 12-step program in their daily life! Nevermind the humility it takes to do that, but think about the amazing conversations that we would be having with each other. Humans would bond together like molecules of water, ebbing and flowing with purpose through life. Some may argue that there is no “right and wrong.” And I will give you that. So let’s change the wording slightly:
“We continue to take personal inventory. And when we become aware that something we are doing is not an expression of who and what we are at our core, we promptly seek to make the changes necessary to bring ourselves back into alignment.”
Let’s face it, we are human. And “to err is human.” This is the beauty of the Realm of the Relative. We always have events occurring that could use improvement. This is a process of evolution we are in here, and we have many opportunities to move along that path together. Every opportunity to express ourselves in our highest expression moves us to a place of greater understanding. By purposefully being aware of our own behavior, how it is sent, and how it is received, we offer ourselves and the other the space for expansion.
(Kevin McCormack is a Conversations with God Life Coach, a Spiritual helper on www.changingchange.net, and an Addictions recovery advisor. You can visit his website for more information at www.Kevin-Spiritualmentor.com To connect with Kevin, please email him at Kevin@theglobalconversation.com)