By their wounds, we are healed. We often speak of the ‘wounded healer’, the person who is able to be an instrument of healing because of her own wounded and the way in which those wounds have been used. In my experience, many of those who have endured great pain and have transcended its damaging effects have a remarkable power to draw others to them when they are in need of strength and consolation. – Kenneth Leech, We Preach Christ Crucified, p. 25.
The Twelfth Step of AA goes “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs.” I realize discussing this very simple statement could consume many, many blog posts. A quick rewrite for me goes – “Through the process of recovery, I live in a world of gratitude, solutions and possibilities. I want to share this message of experience, strength, and hope with others who came from the same place as I. As well, in claiming my place in this world, I also want to live this message in everything that I do.”
I recollect saying in a recovery meeting once that I really enjoyed that folks in recovery were highly qualified to be a part of recovery solutions of others. A trained counselor shot back about the need for their professional expertise and training. To me, this is where the wounded healer concept comes in. Professional services, counseling, and so forth are great – I have used them a bunch – but I also know that having lived through addiction and into the process of recovery provides one with a sense that cannot be obtained except through the experience.
This understanding is one reason I am attracted to the idea put forward in messages like the Anonymous People film. If the significance of the wounded healer is true, then those in recovery have an obligation to live into the Twelfth Step. It’s not a matter of ego, it’s a matter of doing the next right thing.