**Please note that all matter stated here is that of an independent writer and does not represent the River Source trying to re-define the promises, this is simply a look at how treatment uses the 12 promises and helps people achieve them. In support of that purpose, only a synopsis of each promise will be included every month. For a list of the 12 promises and the accurate/official definitions please contact AA world services or obtain a copy of the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”.**
If you have been following this article series from its inception, you will recall we have covered treatment’s relationship with the 12 steps and the 12 principles. This year we will examine the 12 “promises” of recovery or what the recovering person and to an extended family, “wins” as a result of sobriety. These articles are independent of the previous year’s so no worries if you are just coming on board.
The sixth “promise” (in quotations simply because that is not an official recovery term, rather a term of endearment used by the recovery community) discusses a recovering person letting go or losing the feelings of uselessness and of self-pity or self-loathing. This may be the major point in a person’s recovery. So much of an addict or alcoholics pain and suffering (therefore, by extension, their families) is rooted in the low self-worth that surrounds addiction. Look at it like this, to sum up, a bit of what we have discussed in this series in past years, there are two types of “getting high” in the world. Everybody pursues one of these two types. The first is called an “earned high”, in other words, anything that you do that creates a feeling of accomplishment or satisfaction in you. Thankfully, our world is full of opportunities for “earned highs”. Going for a walk, a good day at work, playing with your kids, etc, are all examples of “earned highs”. The second type is called, you guessed it, an “unearned high”. This would be an addictive behavior that creates a false positive feeling in you that you did not have to achieve in any way. For example, if you use drugs you can sit in a basement all day and not do anything, yet feel like you achieved much. This is an “unearned high”. Human beings self-worth is based on the amount of “earned highs” they achieve. When using drugs, not only are you not achieving many “earned highs” but you are so emotionally blocked and manipulated that the good things you do are not getting through emotionally to you. As you can see, a person who uses drugs and alcohol to abuse has very few “earned highs” and therefore, little self-worth.
The recovery journey is one of regaining and finding that self-worth. Many addicts and alcoholics feel useless because, in all honesty, they have acted relatively useless over the years. In recovery, as one admits defeat, finds the strength to overcome, cleans house and amends wrongs, a newfound sense of purpose and pride arises. People are able to re-connect with “earned highs” and achieve new levels of use and good feeling. This is the point in recovery where many people become sold if you will, on the premise that recovery does truly provide a new and wonderful perspective. One learns to not pity themselves, but to take action to help others and to make their lives purposeful and passionate.
How does treatment help with this “promise”? It is a slippery slope up to the hill of self-worth. Many new people to recovery have tremendous doubt about their ability to achieve anything, even if they can get clean. In treatment, the staff and recovering peers are able to share their own experience and help clients overcome obstacles that may stand in the way of their progress. This is done in an empathetic and understanding manner in order to allow the client the best opportunity to grow without guilt and to change without fear of what they will face along their internal journey. This freedom helps clients to reach their goals and to feel better about themselves during the process.
Stay cool and we will see you next month!