The other day, someone posted a question in one of the online addiction recovery groups I’m in.
I answered the question in depth and realized after that this was a topic I wanted to blog about for quite some time.
Maybe I didn’t have the balls to do it.
Maybe I didn’t want to hear from a bunch of haters.
But more likely, I think I just had more important things I wanted to write about.
And thanks to this person’s question, and my detailed answer, I realized I wrote the blog post I’ve been wanting to publish in the form of my response.
In the words below, you’ll learn my view on this subject matter.
It’s just my current belief, and if it’s opposite to yours please refrain from getting angry.
I don’t hold onto my beliefs.
If I learn new information or have new experiences, my beliefs often change.
I’m open-minded and flexible.
Some people that read it will really resonate, and others will become totally outraged and insult me.
I know this because every time I write about my current beliefs about “recovery” this happens.
And yes, it’s the people in AA that believe “it’s the only way.”
Here is the question a man posted in the online addiction recovery group, along with my detailed response.
“Why do we count our clean date? Should we celebrate our freedom instead?
Anyone whos not counting and manage to stay clean? no meetings no facility, no doctor or treatment?
how do u deal with it?”
“I don’t count my days or months or even remember my date. I don’t go to meetings or any type of “organized recovery” solutions.
I ended my addiction over 7 years ago.
I totally changed my life and built the life of my dreams.
I’m happier than ever, healthier than ever, wealthier than ever, have better relationships than ever, more positive habits than ever, in better shape than ever, and on and on.
Just like you don’t need to have a religion and go to church to have a relationship with God or be spiritual, I and millions of other people don’t need an “organized self-help program” to quit substances, stay quit, and create meaningful, wonderful, joyous, prosperous, and inspirational lives post-addiction.
It’s a common misconception that ALL people need meetings and an “organized program” created by someone else in the 1930s, but that’s just a myth.
People recovered from addiction for thousands of years before these programs, and they will recover for as long as humans inhabit the earth without these programs as well.
My favorite myth is that if you don’t go to meetings you’re “white-knuckling it.”
I haven’t had a craving or urge to use in over 7 years, and my life is filled with so many wonderful blessings.
I read books, listen to audibles, meditate, journal, exercise, eat well, sleep well, travel, do yoga, watch movies and shows, cook, go camping, nature hiking, swimming, and so much more.
I would be miserable if I switched my dependence from drugs to needing meetings and a sponsor and a big book to stay clean.
I contribute, give to charity, help others, help my family, and much more.
In essence, one could say that “I’m working a strong program of recovery.”
The only difference between mine and many others is that I simply don’t go to self-help meetings.
Yes, I made amends, I did a lot of work on my inner issues, am in contact with a higher power, and continue to work to be a better person, and my life is dedicated to service to others.
I don’t consider myself an “addict” and I don’t say I’m in “recovery.”
I say that a long time ago I was heavily addicted to drugs, then I quit and totally changed my entire life, and now I’m just a normal person.
I drink once or twice a year but usually don’t finish one drink, as it just makes me sleepy, and I take various legal natural substances and chemical nootropics PRN for medicinal use or more often bio-hacking, for instance for more energy and creativity while working, etc.
Every person is free to choose how they want to quit substances and stay quit, and how to frame their identity and how to describe their own personal idea of recovery.
One book written in the 1930s by two regular people isn’t “The One and Only Manual” on how EVERYONE MUST quit substances.
As quoted by that book, which is just a regular book (although many believe it to be the Bible of Addiction), “AA is merely a SUGGESTED program of recovery.” (I’m paraphrasing)
And even if the authors said it was mandatory, who the heck are two people from the 1930s that were drunks to have as much influence as Jesus Christ or the Buddha?
They created an amazing book and program, which has helped so many people it’s nearly unfathomable, but geez lueeeeeeze… so many members of AA go around as the “self-appointed AA police” to shame everyone that doesn’t do exactly what one book out of hundreds of books about addiction recovery says.
AA and the book are amazing, but I found a different path which worked great, and so do many others.
Whether it’s through the church, moving to a desert island, getting on a medication or two that help, joining the military, going to prison long-term, and on and on and on and on and on… and on.
By the way, I’m not suggesting that no one should go to AA or NA, etc.
I’m not suggesting that these are bad programs.
What I’m saying with absolute conviction is that the “Self-Appointed AA Police” or “Big Book Thumpers” don’t have any power over anyone but themselves.
When they tell people they are doing it wrong, whether with love or with shame tactics, I’m sure they mean very well, but ultimately, WE are the navigators of our lives.
We ultimately get to choose our own beliefs, or own values, or own RECOVERY STYLE, and anyone that says otherwise is simply brainwashed or narrow-minded, and at the least obtuse and close-minded.
I wanted to write this so in-depth because I feel like it will help maybe even one person.
In meetings, they often say “if you don’t keep going you’ll end up in jails, institutions, or dead.”
They are simply quoting a book that was written in the 1930s, and that saying is not based on any type of scientific evidence at all.
And that statement is actually invalidated by the millions of people that have recovered without self-help meetings, and the countless people that recovered before the 1930s and the people that live 200 miles from a meeting so they never go in the first place but still end their addictions.
My advice is simply to become an independent thinker.
Learn from different books as well.
There are hundreds of books on addiction and recovery, and endless books on psychology, philosophy, spirituality, health, relationships, and so much more.
Again, I’m strongly emphasizing that I love AA/NA etc., but certain members have taken it upon themselves to be “enforcers” of the book and program, and they fail to realize that there are many other types of programs helping people and that countless people recover WITHOUT ANY TYPE of “ORGANIZED” programs.
It’s a fact.
Indisputable, not arguable, and I and many others have proven it.
Does that path of self-recovery work for everyone?
Do I recommend it for everyone?
But “there are many paths to recovery” just like there are many religions, political views, etc.
So yes, to sum up my answer to your question, I have managed quite well in life post-addiction, without the use of meetings, counting my days, remembering a “sobriety date” (and I don’t consider myself in “recovery” or a “sober person”) and all the common things that people hear about.
I also told you how I manage and excel doing it, and I also reiterated that this is just how I recovered and how many others have as well, but that doesn’t mean my path is for everyone, or even for the majority.
To each their own, live and let live, and like AA says, “Open-mindedness and Willingness,” which obviously should include being open-minded and willing to accept that there is no wrong way to do it.
As long as you quit and stay quit and live a meaningful life, really who cares how you manage to stay away from active addiction?”