Here is one of those lines that has stayed in my head for many years – a sure sign that the concept is meaningful and meant to be remembered. My counselor in detox, Joe Iverson, said something like “Addicts don’t want change. They seek an unchanging life, like a flat line. The problem is the only time you have a flat line is when you are dead.”
I relate to that concept in understanding what I really wanted from alcohol and drugs was just to be anesthetized with alcohol so I did not have to live life on life’s terms but only exist. Recovery has shown the opportunity for so much more in life. Change has meant:
- when I change and choose to truly live and respond to life, the opportunities are tremendous.
- when I change to stop blaming others but become accountable for my actions, I no longer restrict myself to playing the victim role. Such change is very empowering in living into my true self – who am I really meant to be on this earth? what are my responsibilities? my talents? my passions?
- when I change and take risks, the rewards are great. There is the paradox of sorts: if I go through a situation drunk, I pretty much know the results from the start. If I go through sober, there really is a risk – a risk of exposing true self, of being in community with others. In recovery, there is a risk of truly experiencing an event or situation to which I will need to respond. If I am drunk, I likely will not even remember the experience except for the shame and guilt.
Although my recovery is tied to a core principle of not engaging in the active addiction, whether food, alcohol, drugs, or resulting behaviors, the real recovery process remains an ever-changing landscape of challenges and opportunities. As Joe noted a bunch of years ago, to think otherwise is to act as though we are dead.