by Joshua Hoe
So here are some things I have learned about my addiction:
1. I don’t want to be an addict, as a result, I often don’t want to go to meetings or call anyone.
2. I hate appearing weak, as a result, I don’t want to ask for help at meetings or on the phone.
3. I believe that I am never supposed show weakness, as a result, I don’t want to share at meetings or on the phone.
4. I believe that I am supposed to fix my own problems, as a result, I don’t want to let anyone else help me at meetings or on the phone.
5. I believe that I, as a man, am supposed to keep my emotions inside and never let people see my weaknesses. If I have to show an emotion it should be anger. As a result, I don’t want to let anyone else know how I feel at meetings or on the phone.
And here are some things that I have learned about finding recovery:
1. Like all forms of therapy and recovery, recovery starts with coming out of my isolation and sharing. Isolation is my enemy.
2. Recovery comes from learning to reconnect with your emotions. They were always there, I was just swallowing them. The more I swallowed the more they stewed, until they came out as anger and resentment.
3. Recovery is about giving up control, letting myself feel, and letting myself be open and rigorously honest with people in my recovery team and recovery community.
4. Recovery is about not trying to “solve a problem” it is about surrendering my problem to others and my higher power.
You can see the problems my upbringing caused me in recovery?
And yet, I wondered why recovery was so hard for me to find, after literally years of struggling.
Everything in my upbringing was always fighting against recovery, until magically it wasn’t.
The magic was surrender.
It as trusting my therapist, my recovery group, and my higher power to catch me when I fell.
It was about unlearning what was blocking my progress and accepting what worked for me (and these two things were almost always diametrically opposed).
Change Is Good (Even When It Is Hard)
Yes, my parents basically taught me everything that would make recovery difficult.
I am certain my parents meant well, they had no idea I would be an addict.
My parents were just passing along the lessons they learned from their parents. And, the truth is, many of these lessons make sense for the non-addicted portions of the population.
Unfortunately, lessons this ingrained can be hard to slough off.
But just like in the famous trust exercise where you have to trust that your team will catch you when you fall. You have to accept that your program of recovery will catch you, no matter how hard it is letting go of those hard learned lessons from childhood.
One tool I have found very helpful is telling myself to do things that I don’t want to do (in recovery) precisely because I don’t want to do them.
I know that I can’t trust the internal guides that work for me so well in every other area of my life when it comes to addiction.
* When I don’t want to go to a meeting most, that is likely the meeting I need to go to the most.
* When I don’t want to call my sponsor, or another program member, that is likely the time I need to pick up my phone and call the most.
* When I want to just keep it inside and try to “fix it myself” is likely the time I most need to surrender my problem up to other members of my recovery team or my recovery community.
Don’t do it because you want to, do it because you don’t want to.
How do you handle getting past your upbringing? What do you do to retrain yourself? I would love to hear about the tools you use, leave a comment!