September 10

FREEDOM MONTH: DAY 10: “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”― Eleanor Roosevelt

Addicts are stunted in emotional development; more so than any other people I have ever witnessed. Their inability to grow up and take responsibility is often aided and abetted by their families or friends, in a cycle of codependency that is challenging to work through.

Therapists, doctors, legal systems, and others who work with addicts are often in awe and wonder at this dynamic. In the early stages of treatment centers in this country in the early 1980s, there was a term given to addicts and their tyrannical demands for attention and more than their share of life. It was called “King Baby.” The ugliest behaviors were seen in this title.

Adults by age and size, but emotionally retarded in all possible development, these addicts are entitled, seemingly spoiled brats who rant and rage against life and taking any responsibility for their own place in it.

Having destroyed their prospects through addiction, they blamed everyone around them for the troubles they found themselves in. And expected that others would always step up to care for them in ways that were sadly adolescent, if not childish. This quote speaks about these immature and frightened tyrants.

Step 9 allows us to take adult responsibility and make adult relationships possible. That is why so many addicts refuse to take it thoroughly. It requires them to let go of their attachments to blame and entitlement and stand on their own two feet. They must become free of the constraints of childhood at a time when they should have been doing so for many years, but have not. It can truly embarrass them to see how awful their behaviors have been.

While we may have learned of this inappropriate attitude in Steps 5, 6, and 7, many have clung to the notion that the world around them did not suffer due to their infantile behaviors. That relieves them, so they believe, from taking any responsibility for change (amendment) to that attitude or behavior. Meanwhile, families, friends, places of employment, and society at large has been heavily impacted by their refusal to grow the hell up.

It is the most beautiful of steps, when we truly work through these issues to claim our freedom. It comes at a cost, but what a wonderful experience to own ourselves for the first time! Freedom for sure!

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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