I’ve been re-reading and annotating Tommy Rosen’s book, Recovery 2.0. it’s the sort of book to gulp down greedily in the first sitting and then return to in a little while with a highlighter and a biro in one’s sweaty paw, to dig deeper into its implications.
one of the topics Tommy addresses in the early chapters is that of our individual Addiction Story, which is the story which we tell ourselves that justifies our continuing addictive behaviour.
and I have been trying to elicit my own Addiction Story from my own heart. so I hope writing it here will throw the clear light of day upon it. and this is fragile ground so I am trusting here for your sensitivity in any comments….
my Addiction Story goes something like this:
I am a bad and weak person.
My life is more difficult than anyone else’s.
I need something to make me feel better.
Drinking is the only thing that makes me feel better.
Drinking makes me feel better.
phew. shit fuck bollocks. ow ow ow.
and if all of those statements were Gospel truth, would I be justified in drinking? perhaps. are they all true? well, hell no, sister.
in reverse order:
drinking makes me feel better. this is a tricky one. because I wouldn’t have done it unless it did, initially. drinking works really well for many of us right up until when it doesn’t. so this may have been true, once. but it is not true, now. so, now and in the future, that statement is FALSE. and that was the first realisation I came to, the one that gave me the impetus to try and get sober. I’ve blogged (here) about when I realised that it wasn’t making me feel better anymore.
drinking is the only thing that makes me feel better. I believed this 100% by the end of my drinking days, when alcohol was the ketchup I poured over my entire life. it was by determined application of Belle’s sober treat principle (GENIUS, sheer GENIUS) that I came to see that this statement is also FALSE. because what ALSO makes me feel better is sleep, or a hot bath, crying, chocolate, a good book, a song on Youtube….this list is endless.
I need something to make me feel better. This was, and is, TRUE. this is also something I worked out for myself. it is not something I was ever given permission to believe, while I was growing up. because, you know, you just get on with ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is. and if you can’t do that – if you retreat into food or alcohol or cigarettes or bad relationships or whatever your thing is – that would be evidence to support premise no 1…
My life is more difficult than anyone else’s. here we go. FALSE again. but I believe(d) that because of an innate gap in communication skills, the gap between seeing other people’s lives from the outside and imagining that they were like that on the inside, too.
and, finally, the corker, no 1. that I am a bad and weak person. and the problem is that the whole addiction story, when applied to this underlying ‘fact’, confirms that belief. so the further I go on the addiction path, the more I believe the underlying statement that supports it. and this statement would definitely fall foul of the ‘ask 100 people on the street’ test. and in the past I would nod, sagely, and believe they were only disagreeing with it because they didn’t know what I was really like inside. uck. so, no: FALSE.
like pulling teeth, writing that last sentence. still. I’m hoping that doing so will help me internalise it and truly believe it.
so, how would I like my Sobriety Story to read, now? how about this?
Like everyone else, I am a flawed but infinitely precious person.
It is not just acceptable, but advisable, to ask for help and to treat myself with kindness.
By being open and letting others in I enhance both their lives and my own: the true richness of life is found in relationships.
I like that story, infinitely better than the old one. I will keep reading it to myself and, I hope, by doing so will make it come true…
If you have any thoughts you’d like to share here on what made up your Addiction Story, they would be most welcome. but these are sensitive topics, so if you’d prefer to turn them over in your own heart then I absolutely get that too.
take care of yourselves, people. we are precious, all of us.