Recovered or “In Recovery?” The choice, as always, is yours.
For 75 years AA has perpetrated the myth that one needs to be “in recovery” for the rest of their lives. As with most of the 12 Step hocus-pokus nothing could be farther from the truth.
One consideration -what does “in recovery” really mean – and one concrete example – ex-smokers – will suffice to demonstrate the real issues.
When it comes right down to it, AA and “in recovery” amount to the same thing. It is an organization and a condition which are dedicated to preventing you from leaving an alcohol focused life behind.
“In recovery” is the first cousin of “working my program” which is AA code for “I’m going to do all of the things I did when drinking was my excuse – avoid intimacy, responsibility, family, spouses, etc. – but now you’re not going to be able to complain about it without me being able to blame you for my return to active drinking.”
How sweet is that?
Now let’s take a look at people who’ve given up cigarettes – something that is far harder to do than giving up alcohol – but which far more “addicts” are successful at.
Because they don’t make “not smoking” the center of their lives! Nor do they sit around back rooms in churches bemoaning how awful it all is, and competing for who has the worst drinking history.
Smokers know it’s going to be tough for awhile but that they will be better off in the long run. So we tough it out, make the substitutions and adjustments, and get on with it.
No excuses, no thrice weekly pity parties, no trinkets, kiddy slogans, bumper sticker mentality, or labels, but a lot of success.
Really, have you ever heard anyone refer to themselves as a “recovering smoker?” Of course not!
Most of us even have only the vaguest notion of when we quit.
Because it doesn’t matter! All that matters is that we quit and smoking moved into the “been there, done that” category of things from our past. No longer an issue or habit of concern.
And those who successfully put alcohol abuse behind them do it the same way! No excuses needed.
So, “in recovery” or an ex-drinker?
Life denying or life enhancing?
Your life – your choice.
Isn’t it time to step up and feel good about yourself?
Does anyone need AA or to be “in recovery?”
Actually, the answer is yes.
Obviously there are a few people who manage to stay sober in AA who wouldn’t manage otherwise. We’re happy that they have found a program that works for them.
We’ve also spent over twenty years learning how to identify them so we can refer them appropriately – they are not suitable candidates for our approach.
So who should be seeking a 12 Step program?
The short answer is, anyone whose emotional development stopped at around the age of 12. People who, like middle school students, respond to peer norms, slogans, medallions, and so on. People whose behaviors are dictated by their external group and who blindly follow the “rules.”
These people are never apt to grow up and will need to rely on the AA group to maintain their sobriety.
That’s not a bad thing – in some ways it’s a lot easier than being a real live grown up and having to be responsible for yourself – which is what the rest of us are stuck with.
But with the responsibility also comes freedom and most of us don’t want to trade servitude to a cult for living our lives.
An interesting corollary to all of this is that good programs for “young adults” – and there are three – all stress the same thing to their clients: “Grow up, grow up, grow up!”
Well, you already grew up, most of you long ago. Now do you also want to learn how to live more fully without the alcohol?
That’s where we come in.
And it just takes a call to get started.