Tag Archives: denial

Blaming Has No Place In Recovery

By Bill

There is much debate about the causes of addiction: environment, genetics, moral failing, physical changes, emotional trauma and so on.  While interesting intellectually, these things have nothing to do with quitting.  If I’m acting out, the reasons for my alcoholism and other addictions don’t really matter; what matters is stopping.
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The Two Steps

The Two Steps:

1. We admitted we powerless over our addictions — that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. We tried to carry this message to addicts (alcoholics, overeaters, gamblers…whatever).

All of us who have been around the rooms for awhile have seen the Two-Steppers, and some of us (myself included) even survived the experience ourselves.  These folks are easily recognized by two traits: Their zeal for fixing others, and their lack of (or lack of use of) sponsors and the other encumberances of newcomers.  Rather than collecting phone numbers, talking to old-timers, getting sponsors and becoming involved in their program of recovery, they jump from the first step to the 12th and set out to save the world — with or without its consent.  As I mentioned, I’ve been there and I have the ratty old t-shirt to prove it.
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Thought, Feelings and Behavior

By Bill

As an addict in early recovery I never quite got the idea of emotions. I’d been living in my head for so long – bending my thinking to support my addictions and fears – that I’d managed to stifle my feelings so that I didn’t have to be concerned about them (I thought). In fact, I probably couldn’t have identified more than one or two if I’d had to, and would most likely have denied having those.  I thought love was when I was feeling good about a relationship. Anger was beneath me — the cool intellectual.  I just didn’t have time for that other psychological fol-de-rol. It was okay for all you “still-suffering addicts,” but hey — I was in recovery!.

I carried that denial with me for a long time. I was unable to identify many of the issues in the people I tried to help, because I didn’t understand them in myself. As a result, I was far less effective than I probably could have been, and far more importantly it allowed me to completely ignore some critical, basic issues for a long time – like 24 years. If you can’t identify your feelings, you don’t have to worry about where they’re coming from. Until you do.

After a good chunk of therapy and work in and outside of treatment, I’ve gotten a little bit better about not only identifying feelings, but also understanding how they affected my life for nearly seven decades. Actually, that’s a misstatement. They affect my life today, all the time. They affect yours, too, whether you think so or not, so I thought I’d share a bit about what I’ve learned in the hope that someone might find it useful. If you already know about this stuff, fine. If I’d known more about it oh, say, 20-odd years ago, I’d be a much more sober guy today. If you don’t, I’d suggest giving it some…

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