On Recovery, Deception, and Heartbreak.
I shared an article on twitter this morning about Overdose Awareness Day and heroin addiction. I’ll post the article later, but my e-pal had a response that had more to do with (heroin?) addiction in general than the article specifically.
I just had way too much to say for twitter and decided to write my first post on Medium instead of break it up over multiple tweets, or post a picture of my words, etc. So, here you go:
I’m a recovering alcoholic myself and I’ve met tons of people in the recovery community and yeah, I dunno it’s really hard. You’ve got to take things at face value but have a finely tuned bullshit detector. To help people and make meaningful relationships, others have to trust that you trust them but know you won’t take shit.
Everyone lies, addicts or not, but among addicts deception is really only more of a factor than “normal” if you’re dealing with people in active addiction. Recovery is a process with different stages, and it takes brutal honesty from the beginning to work on yourself and addiction to get there. That effort is what makes the difference between “not using” and “being clean/sober.”
This is why people say “oh they have to *want* the help. The addict has to help themselves.” Before I got sober, I thought this was the most heartless thing, but it’s true — someone else can make an addict stop using, but they can’t make them sober because of the radical acceptance and honesty that recovery process takes, and that person will start using again.
This isn’t to say people in recovery don’t lie ever (addicts are the furthest thing from angels) or that everyone you’ll meet is there because they want to be. I’ve just found, most of the time, if someone is trying to get clean for themselves they are honest — even when they relapse.
I’m no Pollyanna. I’m sure someone particularly clever has lied to me or taken advantage of my kindness for a free lunch or something. But I’ve not noticed so it couldn’t have been that big of a deal — “don’t sweat the small stuff.” I think I’ve avoided major heartbreak because I do try to not get close with people who don’t seem like they’re “in it to win it.” I do this simply because my own sobriety is a work in progress and isn’t strong enough to withstand someone else’s drama and weak recovery right now. My duty is to myself first.
BTW, this is the article I shared and you REALLY should read it. It’s about heroin addiction, but it speaks to societal reasons behind all addiction and drug use.