No one like us has ever existed before. There are similarities with others, and some of those may be more important than the differences — such as our identification with and understanding of other addicts. Nonetheless, the combination of elements, molecules, electrical charges, life experience and consciousness that combine to be “us” has never existed before and never will again.
Even identical twins begin to diverge from the instant the first group of cells divides into two individuals. The part that we consider “identical” is, in fact, only descriptive of superficialities. Inside, they are unique, irreplaceable like the rest of us. Furthermore, neither they nor we are the same from moment to moment. All of the factors mentioned above — and even the subatomic and quantum conditions that make up our “unique” selves — are changing so rapidly that they are impossible to measure with any meaning. We aren’t the same people from instant to instant, regardless of how precisely we measure the instants.
So it’s really pointless to compare ourselves to others. My siblings are unique. So were my parents and their ancestors. My relatives, friends and every other human being — living or dead — possess the same uniqueness in abilities, drive to succeed, interests and motivations that I have. I may admire others (or the reverse), but comparisons are ridiculous! I’m comparing myself to a standard that literally no longer exists.
I can’t be someone else, nor they me. I can only be myself. I decide what’s next. That’s not to say that I can’t learn from others, but I need to be sure I’m making my decisions based on what’s best for me. I need to build skills — like those of recovery — that make it possible for me to make decisions and move in directions that put me at peace with myself.
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When we are no longer blinded by addiction, we find ourselves open to a new world of beauty and discovery. We notice and marvel at wonders that never before registered as worthy of our attention, from the perfection of a tiny flower at our feet to the laugh lines of a loved one. The isolation of our addiction opens up into a universe of delights to explore and cherish.
All we have to do is overcome our fear of change and get to work.
NUMBER 1, LIFE’S NOT EASY…don’t try and make it that way. It’s not fair, it never was, it isn’t now, it won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitlement trap of feeling you are a victim, you are not. Get over it and get on with it. And yes, most things are more rewarding when you break a sweat to get ’em. More…
Resentments are the poison that we drink, and then wait for the other person to die.
Some of the truest words you’ll ever read.
Think about it. Think about that terrible thing that (insert name here) did to you back in the long-ago. Think about how bad it made you feel. Think about how you’d like to get back at (**), how you’d like to tell them off in words that would make them shrivel and leave them with nothing at all to say.
How often do those thoughts come into your head? Once a week? Once a day? Continue reading
“I know you’re in there
You’re just out of sight.”
~ Al Stewart
I can’t begin to number the times my wife has said to me over the years things on the order of “I just want to talk to the real you!” It used to piss me off, because I was convinced that the “real” me was the legend I’d created in my mind and was attempting to project to the world. Hell, it was frightening to think (because it was true) that there might be someone inside that I didn’t even know — someone who might blow my cover, who might leak the word that I wasn’t the tough guy I’d painted myself to be. What if the world back then had known that I secretly wrote poetry; that my greatest ambition was to live in the woods, take pictures and write? Would they have cared one way or the other? Probably not. But having been convinced that the real me wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t about to let them find out. Continue reading
I recently ran across a piece of writing that made me really sad. There was talk of repeated relapses and “doing things differently,” but never a mention of a support group.
I’ve been around recovery for a long time, and I have never seen anyone recover successfully without some kind of support outside their immediate family. (I’m not saying that such folks don’t exist, but merely that I haven’t known any.)
Isolation and secrecy are part and parcel of addiction in all its forms.
In early recovery we are still concentrating on our addictions. Even after we are abstinent, it takes us a while to reach a point where not acting out isn’t foremost in our minds. Eventually we began to think of ourselves as sober addicts, and develop interests that take us farther yet from our addictions.
No one is perfect. If we are preoccupied with thinking about our mistakes, we will find ourselves living in the past. We can’t change the past, nor can we control the future. If we insist on trying, we will make ourselves crazy. Living in today, to the best of our ability, is essential for successful recovery.
Steps one through nine are our tools for dealing with the past. Completing them as thoroughly as we are able, along with some outside help if needed, brings us up to today. Ten, eleven and twelve guide us through the present. Tomorrow isn’t up to us at all. It will take care of itself.