Written by Donna N.
At a recent conference on addictions that Suzanne and I attended, I noticed that all of the prominent speakers that had substance abuse issues acknowledged that they had referred to themselves as “in recovery”. My question to you is: would you rather be “in recovery” or “recovered”? My question to the prominent speakers is: Are they truly free of addiction??
Personally having been in recovery and now recovered, I can honestly say that I prefer being “recovered”.
When I was in recovery, I was still considered an addict with all the “addict” behavior associated with the label, however I was not using or abusing drugs. I went to meetings and was identifying as an “addict”, albeit in recovery. This only sent the damaging message to my unconscious mind that I was still an addict with an addiction problem. Having sent this message to my unconscious mind each time I went to a twelve step meeting and hearing others identify as addicts in recovery at these meetings convinced me that I was indeed an “addict” which did give me the unconscious excuses I believe for my addict behaviors.
Twelve step meetings are helpful assisting people with getting off of drugs and abstaining from drugs. What they do not do is help people become recovered. They place the addict in a precarious place known as “recovery” and leave them there to dangle, sort of like in purgatory, halfway between heaven and hell. It is hard to have a compelling future of any sorts when one is still an addict and has an “addict” mind.
Twelve step meetings and therapy along with the other usual forms of help that an addict can seek out in attempts to stop their addiction seem to stop short in clearing the addictive behavior from the addict. They are helpful in so far as they are a meeting place where addicts can go to assist one another, however I have never met an addict at a twelve step meeting that truly had it all together, for if they did they would no longer need to go there would they? If they had a full enriched life, that included a compelling future would they really need to go to meetings regularly to stay clean and free of drugs or alcohol? Ironically each time they go to these meetings they are only re-enforcing the idea that they are an addict with addict behaviors and problems.
When I have the flu, or some other sort of illness and I take the appropriate measures to overcome the illness-be it an antibiotic or whatever-I want to rid my body of the germs that cause the illness and get to the point where I no longer have the disease so I can call myself healthy. I do not tell myself I am a person who is in flu “recovery”. To me that signifies I still am very much prone to the aches and pains and all the symptoms associated with the flu. By getting treatment I want it in my past, period.
If I believe I am still sick, I will feel sick. If I believe I am healthy I will feel healthy. Telling myself I am healthy and not sick is certainly a step in the right direction towards health. Telling myself I am an addict every time I raise my hand in a meeting, or telling myself and others that I am an addict in recovery, or a recovering alcoholic, or an addict with 10 years clean, or an alcoholic with 12 years of sobriety still lets my unconscious mind know I have this problem with drugs and alcohol and am still an addict or alcoholic. And after the hard battle to put down the drugs and the bottle, I want to be DONE with the entire scenario. This means I want to be rid of all the behaviors associated with the addictive process. By ridding myself of all the addictive behaviors associated with this illness I can call myself “recovered”. By calling myself recovered I no longer tell my unconscious mind that I am open and vulnerable to relapse. I no longer have the option of using and abusing drugs again. I am recovered and it is now in my past and not a part of my self any longer. This allows me to free my mind and self up to allow myself to have a “compelling future” which as Dr Richard Grey pointed out in his study is of the utmost importance for it takes away the desire to abuse substances replacing it with the idea of doing those things that fulfill me.
Having attended many twelve step meetings in both fellowships, I can honestly say it was hard to focus on a compelling future when hearing I am still an addict and needed to keep coming back to stay alive. It took a lot of work going to these meetings and hearing that I was still sick and needed to keep coming and working the program.
The program did help me to get clean and free of drugs, and there is much to be said that is good about the twelve steps, however I do not believe that it should be a life long commitment, thereby re-enforcing that I am still ill and will never be well, or at least never “not” be an addict. It is like once I bit the apple, I can no longer be free of the sin of addiction.
Through hypnosis I found this to be an untruth.
I found that by working on the very issues that caused me to take that first drug and experience my first high, I was able to stop the behavior and re-frame my mind into the belief that I am no longer an addict. I am recovered. I have the compelling future and can devote 100% of my time in development of this future, for I no longer need to go to meetings and spend my time telling myself and others that I still am an addict. Instead of working on my recovery, I am recovered and now working on my compelling future.
I am no longer in purgatory with the chance of falling back into hell, I am on full speed towards heaven thanks to hypnosis.
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith said recently of his reconciliation with his band that his band “Aerosmith is the strongest drug I have ever taken.”. He also said in a recent interview to the Associated Press on June 3, 2010 that his prescription drug problems were like a “500 pound gorilla on my back.”
In NA there is a saying that we always have that monkey on our backs and when we are not looking, usually when we stray from meetings and stop working our recovery this monkey rears its head and we are most vulnerable to “use” and relapse.
Being a huge Aerosmith fan, I would rather have Steven working and singing with his band – his compelling future for sure- than always having to carry around that monkey that has since turned into the 500 pound gorilla on his back for the rest of his life. Surely the monkey that was on his back which has since grown to 500 pounds will keep growing and eventually kill him.
I say let us set the monkeys free to live amongst the wild where they belong.
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