People in Recovery Get People in Recovery

Truth“My serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations.”

This is such a powerful statement, which is found in the Big Book, Acceptance is the Answer. It depends on which edition of the Big Book you have to find the page, so give a look at the chapter and you tell ME what page is it on, okay?

My sober life is amazing. Well, at least I feel that way today. Tomorrow might be a tough day, but today will be a good one because I want it to be. I have the opportunity to share my story, share my crazy thoughts, share my struggles, and most importantly share my solutions.

I’ve been sober since August 23, 1992 and will confess I am NOT the poster child for sobriety, AA or anything. I do well, the obsession to use is gone, but I struggle a lot. Why do I struggle a lot? Well, I am a willful brat who at times feels he can stay clean and sober all by myself. I often times feel that no one will understand my problems, especially other sober people. My problem is that I place expectations on people around me to behave in a particular manner, and then when I feel they don’t, I either cut them off or treat them differently. Typically I will be nice, cordial, and extremely pleasant. However, I shut them off from getting to know me, and me getting to know them.

See, this way I don’t get hurt. At least that’s my excuse. Logically I know that I am hurting myself by limiting my life experience. There are many people out there who are human and who will do things, behave in ways I might find displeasing or not fitting into what I want around me. Emotionally, my heart tells me that I should be around people who won’t disappointment, and that I should be around people who are more like me. In fact, my addiction then kicks in and says, “You know what? There aren’t many like you. They are hard to find. So, why don’t you just hang out by yourself? You won’t get hurt that way.” Isn’t that lovely?

So, what do I do with that chaos in my head? What do I do with the many voices clamoring for attention and domination? Well, what I DIDN’T do was talk to a fellow recovering addict. I’d share my situation with a ‘normal’ person because that’s what I wanted to be. I wanted to be normal and a normal person would tell me what to do. After I’d spill my story, they would invariably look at me, blink, and not know what to do with me. They’d start looking for the exit from the insane asylum they accidently walked into.

Left to my own devices, thinking I am crazy because my friend who is normal is now keeping his distance, I spiral out, or down depending on what expression you like most. I isolate. I pull away. I internalize my problem and hate myself or the person who is causing me the self-imposed grief by not meeting my expectations. It’s a terrible cycle to be on and I don’t like it.

What I do now, is find a clean and sober person I respect and can speak openly with. Most people in recovery experience the cyclical pattern of self-abuse like that, so they aren’t ones to run so quickly like their hair just caught on fire. They can help you see your situation from a different perspective. Normal people don’t get people in recovery. People in recovery get people in recovery.