Benefits of being a recovering alcoholic
The reading in ‘Each Day A New Beginning’ is on a broadly similar one to the one on pain of two days ago, though this time pain is referred to as ‘suffering’ – the result of pain. Suffering is individual but in sharing our suffering we are helped through it and in knowing others have come through their suffering, we are given hope. Suffering gives you understanding and empathy for your fellow human beings. Once through the other side you can see what you have learned and gained from it. Working in a rehabilitation clinic we really do see the benefits of our clients working a 12 step programme.
The Just For Today reading from Narcotics Anonymous. Explains our attitudes towards others. We learn to accept other people and their sometimes annoying characteristics. By accepting we can learn to tolerate them – and this can turn to liking them. Is it they who have changed or ourselves?
Working in a treatment centre, I see every day that our patients change. I see many of them come in drunk or under the influence of drugs. They can be negative, aggressive, unpleasant, in denial, attention seeking and generally difficult. As they detox and begin to accept that they are where they need to be, they can change before my very eyes.
By the time they leave at the end of the 4 – 6 week stay they are generally with us for, I have grown to really care about them as people rather than as suffering addicts. I see them go home happy and full of hope for the future and I rejoice with them and know I will miss that person who was originally so negative and grumpy! As my time working in the field of addiction builds up, I know it is not just these patients that I see changing but my experience gained from meeting and getting to know them is changing me!
The Daily Reflections reading from Alcoholics Anonymous explains that there are two over-riding principles within the programme which are fundamental to recovery: humility and responsibility. Humility means admitting that we can be wrong. Many addicts are headstrong and controlling individuals who are convinced they are right the majority of the time. We got into the mess of our addiction by being certain that we could sort our ‘little problem’ out ourselves. Knowing us, our families and friends believed us. As the little problem became a big problem, we still felt that we could fix it. Our families and friends began to doubt it. Eventually it was so obvious we were in a big mess, they knew we could not do it ourselves. It usually took us addicts a lot longer to admit it – our first step towards humility.
Taking responsibility for ourselves
If we take responsibility for ourselves and our recovery, practising the 12 Steps in all of our affairs, attending meetings and taking the message to the newcomer – while being reminded by the newcomer of where we have come from – we will not go far wrong.
If you or a loved one needs help for alcohol or drug addiction, please call 01462 851414.