Even after 21 years of sobriety (August 23, 1992) I continue to struggle when good news comes my way. For those in the know, I’ve been offering addiction advice since before I got clean and sober. I worked in an alcohol and drug detox and rehab in Somerville, Massachusetts in 1990-91, and have been doing similar work since then (Drug and Violence Prevention for the Governor’s Alliance Against Drugs), but online for about 5 years with Pat Moore Foundation in 2008, and here at Ask Recovery Rob in late 2011.
When good news comes my way, such as it has recently, my ego wants to shout from the roof tops “Look what I did!!!”while my low self-esteem whispers, “They must have the wrong person.” Even as I write that, I feel my facial muscles tug the corners of my mouth and I begin to laugh at my character defect – in a good way of course. I’ve come to learn over the years that it’s okay to have these feelings, these thoughts. It’s what I do with them that matters. That’s what being clean and sober has done for me. I no longer need to curl up in a ball hoping the world doesn’t see me, but then be upset that I am not the center of that same world. It’s a weird duality, and the odd comforting part is that I am not alone. There are many just like me in the halls of addiction recovery.
So, what good news am I squawking about? Well, I received this email the other day. I am paraphrasing a bit, but here goes:
It’s great to see you’ve provided a safe place for people in the addiction recovery community. I especially found your post on opioid drug detox recovery to be inspiring. As an influential voice in this space, we know that the community would value hearing from you about the drivers of opioid dependence and the importance of treatment, as well as the opioid dependence space in general.
We would like to invite you to join a discussion on Thursday, September 19 at 11 AM EDT profiling the incidence and prevalence of opioid dependence with Dr. Stuart Gitlow, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and U.S. Medical Director for Orexo U.S., an emerging specialty pharmaceutical company. A patient who will share their story of dependence and recovery will also join Dr. Gitlow….”
Pretty exciting stuff, right? I had to read it a few times to get the gist of what they wanted here, that they surely had the wrong person. After all, words like “influential voice in this space,” “the community would value hearing from you,” and “inspiring” all throw me for a bit of loop – my ego is stroked but my little “less than” person deep within says, “Hold up. There ain’t no way these people got it right.”
So, how did I move forward? I responded that I was thrilled to be seen on the internet, explained that I am humbled by their attention, and then stated my honest qualifications. I didn’t boast or brag, but I also didn’t shoot myself in the foot. They responded that based on the qualifications I possess I am who they are looking for to participate.