30 Jul Marcy gravitated towards people who wanted recovery as much as she did
THE POWER IN DIVERSITY
My name is Marcy, I am in long term recovery. I live in Tucson Arizona however my journey began in Chicago where I am from originally.
My first experience with recovery was given to me in the mid 80,s through a 30 day treatment center in Chicago. When I first arrived in treatment, I was scared and felt lost. I was completely out of my element of what was familiar to me. As I looked around the room observing the others, no one looked like me, no one dressed like me. I didn’t have tattoos, I wasn’t in a club or a gang, I had never been to prison. Once again, I didn’t fit in. Even in a hospital room full of drug addicts I felt separated. Where did I belong???
After a couple days, I went to my first 12-step meeting. I noticed people there were hugging and smiling. No one seemed to care about all the differences and the extreme diversities between them. Different religions, different backgrounds, different drug use, different skin tones, completely different cultures, rich, poor, homeless, educated, uneducated…. They were talking to each other about life, family, work, and feelings. They shared about having this “disease of addiction” and that the drugs were only a symptom. A “thinking disease.”
They talked about this disease rooting from complete self-centeredness and ego. That is was self-sabotaging. That the disease wanted us miserable or dead. They said that this was a program of accepting personal responsibility for our actions in life. That we were not victims but willing participants in most of our chaotic, dramatic and destructive behaviors. SAY WHAT?!?! Who were these people??? What was this??? Were they being brainwashed??? What was the catch or payoff???
As I continued to get more clear headed, I was able to pay more attention to what was actually being said in the meetings. I heard people share about honesty, open mindedness and willingness. They talked about their fears and their hopes. They shared, that this was a life changing program. That anything was possible in recovery. They said we were all examples of miracles happening in our lives, right here and right now!!! They talked about being grateful and having a new appreciation for life. Their words resonated through me and warmed my heart. I felt safe, I began to smile, I felt like I belonged. I gravitated towards people who wanted recovery as much as I did. The meetings and the people in the fellowship became my teachers. As I continued with my 12-step program, I naturally became more and more educated about my disease. I grew to understand the importance of knowing I had choices today. That I could live life WITH my disease and NOT IN my disease, huge difference!
Soon, I too became a person, who did not look for the differences between us but focused on our similarities. Even though our stories were different, the pain we experienced from the complete “unmanageability” in our addicted lives was the same. I came to fully understand the concept of, “The disease of addiction does not discriminate.” That this disease affects ALL walks of life. I became capable of sitting in a meeting and hearing the message of recovery instead of focusing on the person delivering the message. I was feeling compassion and empathy for my fellow addicts who were suffering. I learned about humility. My heart began to open. I felt alive again; I too was experiencing change. Two of my most favorite and comforting words to hear or say in a meeting became, ME TOO!!!
So, today when I think back about my perception of being brain washed, let me tell you something…..My brain needed washing. Heavy duty sanitizing!!! Even today, through life and all it has to offer, my brain needs a good washing from time to time.