January 31

ACCEPTANCE MONTH: DAY 31: “Nothing brings down walls as surely as acceptance.” ― Deepak Chopra

I love my friends…most of them are people who have been in prison, condemned by the social and cultural environments where they lived, been locked up in mental institutions (or should have been!), and made disgusting and shameful the lives they were living.

That is who my people are. We are all in this thing together. I love that there exists in this world a common ground for us to meet and enjoy each other inside. This is the rooms of 12-step recovery. I am still amazed when I realize that I can go into a meeting and pretty much say anything I want, as long as I preface it with my name and the nature of the disease others in the room have in common with me.

Isn’t that amazing? I think so. And I love it.

I remember one of the first things that shocked me about this deal. That is that not one of the other members has EVER seen me drink or do drugs. You are all just willing to accept me on the basis of me saying I am an addict and an alcoholic or whatever I tell you. That is scary to me at times, considering that I am the biggest liar I know.

In my experience before this gig, it was always necessary for me to qualify for membership to any group I wanted to join. That just is not the case here. I think that is very interesting. I hate, hate, hate listening to drunk-alogs or drug-alogs. I think they are a demeaning and huge waste of time. In my book, I think we should all only talk about the steps and the solutions found in recovery, not rehash what pieces of shit we were or glamorize our misdeeds while drunk or high.

So, how do we relate to each other? By the feelings we had when we felt so broken and hopeless and despairing while drinking and drugging. THAT is all I share when I speak. That last night before I ended up in a recovery home. How it all felt, just that. It is enough for others to relate to…the rage, the pain, the shame.

Long, drawn-out drinking and using histories mean we have nothing about recovery to share, in my book. I think it is important and vital that newcomers hear the hope of recovery, not have to find relating in the way we did it. They may not. But, they CAN relate (and DO!) when we share how it felt to be an asshole drunk and druggie. The rest is all ego, if you ask me.

When we are working with newer members, I think it is always good to share feelings about specific things that happened and how you see that through the lens of the 12 steps. What? You don’t have that lens? Perhaps you need to renew (again and again!) those first steps 4-9. I believe we all need to do that, over and over. Just sayin….

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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