As a kid I always felt different. Sometimes I felt superior to people and sometimes I felt inferior. Very rarely did I identify with people as being on the same planet. As my addiction picked up throughout my teens and 20’s I became convinced I was different.
I remember I was forced to sit with a substance abuse counselor for a pre-probation interview. The counselor asked me a series of questions, I answered honestly well at least I thought I was being honest. For example one question he asked me if I had ever “blacked out” due to the use of alcohol? I had no idea what he meant by “blackout”. I assumed it was the times I could not remember anything from the night before after a night of partying. To me that was not a problem, in fact it was one of those things that I was proud of. It meant I had a good night. Besides if you take Seconal and drink alcohol you would black out as well! So my answer was “No”.
Well I did have a couple of yes answers. When I completed the questions he said to me, Dan if you answered two or more questions with a yes you may have a problem with alcohol. I thought to myself 2 out of 20 why wasn’t high school that easy? Heck 65% is passing in my book. Besides I am not an alcoholic! I never lost a job due to alcohol, I simply quit showing up! I was always different!
When I finally recovered I was told to identify with the feelings that people were sharing and do not compare myself to them. I was a bit on the paranoid side as well. If I shared with in the group and someone shared after me and indicated they had me in mind, I would share again to straighten them out! Finally, the pain was so great that I began to listen, open my mind and became willing to do something differently.
Over time I have learned that as much as we feel we are different we are more alike then we are different. Research suggests today that 85% of the population in the US has a history of dysfunction. If that is the case then why is there a 1 in 18 ratio or less than 6% of American’s afflicted with alcoholism? (* My disclaimer, there is a difference in the effects (and the choices we make when using) of alcohol on the individual that is afflicted with what I call “The Creature” i.e. alcoholism/addiction.)
Why do I bring this up? It is natural to want to make sense of it all. It is part of human nature to question and develop our perception of reality. But do not get caught up in what I call “Crack-Pot Functionalism”. Basing how the world functions on how they make sense of the world. That is dangerous.
Here is my point; your life is personal. Your recovery is personal. Treat it that way. There are several methods, techniques and programs designed to assist you in the recovery process. Find the one that works for you. But realize this in the process. Recovery is not solely the abstinence of your drug of choice.
Recovery is a term that has emerged from the integration of the professional addictions communities, the 12-step community, and the Religious communities. Bill and Bob considered themselves “Recovered” from alcoholism. This is not a debate as to “is an alcoholic or substance abuser in recovery or recovered”. It is solely a bit of insight into how much we are alike as “Human Becomings”.
We all operate in the same universe under the same laws and principles. There are no exceptions. True recovery is living your life with direction, a clear path free of any foreign substance. The attainment of a worthy goal or ideal is the path. You are no different than anyone else in the world when it comes to living life on life’s terms. It is dangerous to think otherwise.