As our addictions progressed, we lost our zest for life. Some of us, depending on our childhood experiences, didn’t have much to begin with, but for sure as our need to feed our addictions at all cost became greater, we began to focus on that instead of the natural joys of living. We reached a point where we had no energy, felt sluggish, were unable to work up any enthusiasm unless we were high (sometimes).
We became self-absorbed. We withdrew from others when their attitudes toward our using began to threaten our disease. We became self-centered, and often convinced ourselves that we didn’t need other people in our lives. Eventually we denied ourselves one of the basic things that makes us human – – our sense of community and belonging.
Successful recovery demands that we overcome these feelings of isolation and unworthiness. The best place to do that is in our recovery groups, where people understand us and what we’ve gone through. Although those not in recovery may mean well, they don’t “get it” most of the time, and indeed will in most cases try to pass along to us a world view that we are not yet equipped to understand.
Gradually we begin to trust the people in our groups. As that trust increases, we begin to let them know who we really are, and as we do that we become able to let the child inside come out to play sometimes. Without the trust that we build with our peers in recovery, learning to appreciate and enjoy the world at large is difficult, if not impossible. Once we become convinced that we don’t have to check for a sniper behind every bush, we can relax and enjoy our walk through the park.