Recovery Reflections: October 18, 2017
Hello there, my name is Leah and I would like to welcome you once more to Detox to Rehab’s Recovery Reflections. Please join us and listen to Brandon, Madison, Patrick and Joey discuss their experience of humility and faith in recovery from addiction.
We will pre-record one of our reflections every week for you to watch. In these sessions, each of these individuals will express how the reading of the week relates to their own experiences in recovery and how it has helped them along their paths.
October 18, 2017: An Open Mind
True Humility and an open mind can lead us to faith.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 33
My alcoholic thinking led me to believe that I could control my drinking, but I couldn’t. When I came to A.A., I realized that God was speaking to me through my group. My mind was open just enough to know that I needed His help. A real, honest acceptance of A.A. took more time, but with it came humility. I know how insane I was, and I am extremely grateful to have my sanity restored to me and to be a sober alcoholic. The new, sober me is a much better person than I ever could have been without A.A.
Delusion and Insanity of Substance Abuse
“For me to be here with four years sobriety and, bing, come up with the idea that I can drink like a normal person, that’s insanity,” Joey explained.
People who are addicted to substances tend to tell themselves a story— a story of why or how their using is justified. Despite it putting them in terrible situations and leading them to make horrible decisions that they may be traumatized by people who are addicted will continue using. As this use continues despite the detrimental results, there is usually some form of backward justification for the use.
Maybe the story is that you ultimately can control your drinking, that you can drink occasionally and in moderation like ‘normal people’ or that your using is just a phase and you will stop once you have played it out. This is the insanity— that someone who has developed an addiction will believe these things even though they are blatantly untrue. It is delusional thinking, but that is what addiction does to a person.
In active addiction, people begin to believe the delusions that they have made up. The brain tells you that using Alcohol or drugs is more important than anything else and that you need to keep doing it. This isn’t your fault. By the time it gets to this point, these delusional thoughts are largely out of a one’s conscious control.
Recovery Requires Support and Time
“I was okay with just drinking ‘til the bitter end until I found the rooms, until I found a particular group or groups that really could speak to me,” Patrick reflected.
People need support and they need time to resume more sane thinking. For many, the 12-step program is that support. Meeting regularly, over time, with people who have overcome those delusions already can be helpful. There are people at all different stages of their recoveries at these meetings who often have insight that can bring to light the experience of someone newer in sobriety.
You may hear someone speak about how they overcame something that you yourself are currently struggling with. You may realize that you have overcome a struggle that someone else describes and offer your own experience for her to take as an example and grow from. In both of these scenarios, you are growing and helping others to grow as well. This revolving support is a huge reason why the 12-step program is successful for so many people.
An Open Mind to the Program
“I just know that I did what I was told to do when I came into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and it worked,” said Brandon.
It is common to hear people in recovery say that they don’t quite understand how the program works, but that they did it and followed the advice of those tenured in sobriety and it worked. There is a famous Chinese proverb that says thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits and habits become destiny. When you actually do the program, when you truly work the steps, this becomes instilled in you.
Action itself seems to be the final commitment to an idea. Even if you don’t know or even believe that it will work before you go into it, those new actions will become faith. Through the support of others and establishing a new way of being that you are consistent with over time, you move beyond your old ways.
Finding Faith through Humility in Recovery
“I do believe you can practice true humility… and it does in fact lead us to faith,” Megan said.
Humility is largely about surrender, about letting go of what you think you know and understand. Instead of trying to have control, humility is about admitting that you don’t have control. This requires having an open mind to things that you can’t fully understand or control. If the program works for you, let go of any attempt to control your recovery and allow many people and actions to lead you into a better state of body and mind.
Addiction, by nature, stops an individual from thinking logically or prioritizing anything over a substance. This is regardless of how passionate he or she may have been about family time, art, sports, work or anything else. To overcome addiction, help from others is quintessential, and humility allows for that help. Once progress is made and the work of that help is visible, faith comes easily.