When I came home from treatment, a friend of mine looked at me and said something like, “Man, I’m so proud of you! No wonder you got better… look at everything you have! You got sober for your wife and your family and all the stuff you have. Good job!”
I thought to myself, Oh my God, this guy has no idea how sick I really am.
He didn’t understand that nothing we have can get us sober or keep us sober. Likewise, nothing anybody says to us can keep us from drinking or using. No relationship, job, or possession means shit to us when it comes to our addiction. Trust me, I didn’t get sober because I was hurting my wife and mom. Sure, that would be a damn good reason. But the truth is that there is nothing on this earth that could actually get me to stop.
When I did finally manage to stop after 15 years of chronic drug addiction, it was only because I was broke, couldn’t get more money, could barely stand up, felt like I was dying, and to avoid feeling like I was dying, I dragged myself into an emergency room so some detox program would medicate me. That’s all. Yes, it’s sick. Yes, it’s selfish. And yes, it’s somewhat sociopathic.
But everyone should be clear: Nothing and nobody can make or give addicts enough reasons to stop. They will only stop once they’re broke, in jail, or their hearts stop. Non-addicts can’t fully understand the inability of an addict to stay sober. They think it’s entirely a matter of control and willpower. Well, what if your will is broken? What if you can no longer respond rationally or reasonably to thoughts of using? What if you are insane?
Bottom line: Addicts have a chip missing. Nothing can get us to stop unless we somehow manage to get ourselves clean and then wind up with a recovered sponsor or wind up at a treatment center/sober house where we take Steps, find God, and grow a new mind.
But if you’re an addict out there, maybe don’t tell your wife about that right when you get home. It might be nice for her to think you got sober because of her… and perhaps for her.
“Frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices.” – Dr. William D. Silkworth
God, teach us that no person, place or thing can fix us or keep us sober…