As a recovering addict, I’m no stranger to feelings like guilt, shame, remorse, embarrassment (I could go on…). In the past four years, 12-step programs have been a revolving door of sorts for me- things get bad enough that I have no choice but to put down the dope and “try” again, so I do- until they don’t feel so bad, and I’ve become healthy enough for my next run. I blamed my failures in recovery on a lot of different things- the programs don’t work, these people are trying to brainwash me, I can’t get with God so it won’t work for me, (again, I could go on). So I excluded myself, slunk back to the shadows, and got high- totally justified, mind you- because there was no hope for a dope fiend like me, and I “really did try this time”. Two years and four months of continuous clean time later, I realize that I could never find a solution, because I could never pinpoint the problem- it wasn’t drugs after all. Wasn’t even that 12-step programs are bullshit. Low and behold, the problem was me.
Realizing that I am my own worst enemy was easy. After all, I’d sabotaged careers, relationships, bank accounts, homes….all while remaining blissfully unaware thanks to a self-inflicted chemical lobotomy. But what I’d failed to realize, is that all this time I’d carried with me an insidious disease. One that told me the things that were falling in around me weren’t my fault. I could get clean on my own. I carried an ego so big, that even when those closest to me reached out and offered help, I was too offended to accept. I carried a pride so great that when I did make it into a meeting, I could look around the room and decide who I was better than, and who was better than me. This is what my “Junkie Pride” looks like- it tells me that I’m too smart, better than, capable of doing it alone. It disqualifies people without even speaking a word to them. Today I am humbled by what recovery has given me- a life beyond my wildest dreams. And there are days when thoughts and feelings try to push me out of recovery, but I’ve have learned the tools necessary to make sure they don’t turn into actions. No matter what feelings I have, I know there is no good reason to pick up today.