September 10, 2011
Is it just me or do most alcoholic/addicts believe, at one point in their lives, that if people really knew who they are, nobody would like them? This was certainly true for me. I could not allow you to know the true “me” because I was sure you’d be repulsed.
I had the belief that there was something inherently wrong with me. Even before I went from a recreational user to a full-blown addict, I always felt damaged, incomplete. That really hurt; I had the feeling that everybody else was having a great time and I was merely surviving.
I also believed that I was not able to change who I was. I believed that I had been born a certain way and that no amount of therapy or drugs, legal or otherwise, would change me.
As we would say in A.A., I am not responsible for my disease but I am responsible for my behavior. I have learned to separate who I am from what I do. Once I was able to separate the two, I began to change.
When I began to contemplate recovery, one of my therapists assured me that, “there is nothing wrong with you.” I really needed to hear that. He is the one who encouraged me to keep trying to quit using. He was the first person who believed in me. He didn’t see me as a broken individual who was out to hurt people. He saw me as someone who was hurting and in need of help.
I don’t think I could’ve gotten sober if I had held to the belief that no matter what I do, there’s still something wrong with me. And now that I’m working with sponsees, I see them struggling too with the belief they’re broken and unfixable.
I remind them that they’re not their disease, that their past does not define them, that there’s nothing wrong with them. Some of them accept God’s grace and begin recovering; some of them don’t.
Alcoholism/addiction wants us to believe that we are damaged goods beyond repair, unworthy of God’s grace. Don’t believe it. There’s nothing wrong with you.