April 28

HONESTY MONTH: DAY 28: “Just be yourself. An original is worth more than a copy.”― Suzy Kassem

The universe was created with each and every single thing being unique. All of it. Although you can be in a forest of oak trees or pine trees or sequoia trees, they each have distinct properties unique unto them. People are the same way. Even identical twins have differentiating qualities. It may only be their health indicators, but those are seldom identical, even when appearance and all other factors appear the same. Why then, do we strive to be the same? Remember in school, especially around the age of 8, 9 or 10, it was so scary to be different, to really stand out. While some kids are tall and gangly at that stage of development, others are heavier and short. A myriad of body types and appearances are present, yet it is dismal to be that age and feel left out, isolated, different, alone, not part of the pack.

These feelings of being cut off from the herd are common in every story from every addict I have ever interviewed. And I have worked with (literally!) somewhere around 125,000 to 175,000 addicts in my career.

We all wanted to have the cool clothes (just like the other cool kids), to live in a cool house, to drive a cool car (later on!), to wear the cool shoes, ad infinitum. God forbid we should be unique or stand out in any way.

The smart kids were geeks, athletes were cool, as long as they played basketball, baseball or football. Soccer, swimming or wrestling…not so cool. Dumb kids were made fun of; along with those who had looks that did not stand up to the standard of cool…think back to that time. It was (and is!) brutal! Social standing was everything, but only a tiny proportion of the cool kids had it. Maybe about 1-3 percent. The rest of the kids felt like social pariahs and found a niche to hide out in.

Addicts found drugs and alcohol shortly after this age…for the most part, the common age of beginning to experiment with them is around 11-13.

And all because no one gave us social permission to just be who we are. There is so much anxiety and stress around being a kid. To fit into the group, to become a sheep. Sad. Hide your intellect if you have one. It is embarrassing. Hide your family story if it isn’t what the others have. Hide your skills if they differ from the cool kids. Hide your fears, your feelings of inadequacy, and shame.

This is the social stigma of addiction. The need to blend in with the crowd. We have spoon-fed our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren this crap since time began. It isn’t true. And we take years to develop our own set of personal traits and principles after this indoctrination ends. We become exquisitely broken only to find out the rules were wrong, the game is completely dysfunctional, and we can throw all that crap out any time we want to be free of the dishonesty it fed us anyway.

Go ahead, jump out of the herd, move into your wonderful self and let the world see the miracles of another perfect creation by the Universal Power who is master of creation.

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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