No offense, but as I become increasingly more inundated with wordly life (bills, work, kids, family, dog, tenants, taxes, maintenance), I’ve realized that self-help gurus and addicts who don’t ever leave treatment are essentially fraudulent, not that I’m not, but let me explain…
Sure the self-help ‘gurus’ are generally accurate about psychology, karma and our inner lives, and sure addicts who never leave treatment are sober and sort of okay, but here’s the thing:
Um, it’s easy to be calm and at peace when all you do is hang out at an oceanfront retreat ringing a meditation bell, sweeping leaves and writing books on how messed up everybody is and how you just need to let go, man. While I certainly resonate with Buddhist philosophy and psychology, does anyone not see the inherent selfishness in this? Don’t worry, Many Western traditions are guilty of this kind of isolation and idealism too.
Try joining the world and working a full-time job and then we’ll talk. Better yet, try serving in the world as well as serving the dust particles in the monastery, as no one can deny that balance between inner and outer is the way.
Same with addiction treatment. It’s easy to be okay if you never leave the womb-like bubble of treatment, but after a certain amount of time, remaining in treatment or working in treatment year after year can become a crutch. I am guilty of multiple crutches, too, so no need to get trigger-happy with the keyboard.
To truly grow, we must rejoin the world, face the challenges of adult life, put away the blanky and the stuffed animal collection at the treatment center. Trust me, if you want to get really strong in your recovery, come home, serve your family, serve your friends and colleagues, get a job, work hard, pay down debts, serve your region, try new things and jump in. Remaining protected and isolated at some treatment center is fine for a while, but will cripple you after too long.
Remember, we addicts and alcoholics want to do what is HARDER, NOT EASIER, as the harder thing is the better thing for people like us, and perhaps everybody. It is harder to come home and be there for our families. It is easy to remain in the cozy bubble of treatment. Whenever we get too comfortable, we need to get moving. That is the trick to growing and staying strong year after year. Never make a home in your comfort zone.
See also, Don’t Isolate