Many people will try and tell you that there is only one program of recovery, the 12 steps of alcoholics anonymous or one of it’s many sister programs. Coming from a 12 step culture, I admit that that was the turning point for me. I will also admit that it wasn’t through choice. The truth of the matter is that that was my last option in a journey that had took me to all manner of different support networks both professional, faith based and peer led, each of which served their purpose at a particular time on that journey. All of which, in my opinion, were as important as each other. Had I not taken that particular journey of discovery then I may not have been around to make it into the 12 step program. The 12 step program states that if you follow your own wisdom about your body and mind then you are possibly on dangerous ground and attempting to do things ‘your way’ which was what, inevitably, ended up in you being in the situation you are trying to deal with. Although I agree that my best thinking may have brought me to my knees and can see the sense in this approach, there is still a part of me that say’s ‘isn’t that the point?’ In fact, sometimes your wisdom is best. Only you know your pain. Only you know that you cannot deal with the anxiety you feel when beginning, maintaining or ending a relationship. Only you can decide when to give up taking heroin, crack, nicotine, alcohol, etc, etc. You are the best person to evaluate why you find comfort in substances, why you feel the need to use them, what changes you need to see happening in your life to relight the inspiration needed to change what needs to be changed.
When someone gives you advice or feedback, or when someone tells you, you ‘have to’ change or gets mad at you, insisting you do something, make sure the message you absorb is kind. When your partner insists you come home after work without stopping off at the pub for a drink…or ten, is it because they don’t want you to die in a DUI incident or is it because they have an important meeting to attend and need you to look after the kids? Try to distinguish which part of the message is for your partners benefit–which it is definately their right to consider and perhaps your responsibility to honour–and which is for your benefit. Avoid getting trapped or influenced by other peoples opinions and look to what you know to be true. Obviously there will need to be some allowance for debate and negotiation, but you will never be individual by simply bending to other people’s will. No-one is capable of utlising your strengths and assets better than you, no-one knows you better than you, no-one knows your needs better than you and no-one can make decisions for you. You must always be accountable for your own actions and reactions and realise that for everything you do in this world there will be a consequence. Some will not be nice but you still have the choice as to how you deal with them. Fundamentally all human beings have the same needs, wants and desires. We all suffer the same pain isolation and stigma at some point in our life, although not for the same reasons, the resulting feelings are the same but the way we react is different. What is it that makes some of us want to just push the ‘fuck it’ button whereas others just take it in their stride? Why do some of us rely on coping mechanisms that we know ultimately make things worse? How can we all be so similar yet so different?