My humble apologies, it’s been too long since I’ve submitted a blog. Please believe me when I say it was due to computer problems beyond my control. Happy belated New Years to all “We are 1 voice” readers.
I’d like to talk about “Will power” or should I say the “Misconception of Will Power in addition to a few other misconceptions” I’ve heard a great many say they will recover from addiction on their own and that they have the “will power” to do it. First and foremost, “will power” has NOTHING to do with one’s ability to recover from addiction. It’s one of the biggest misconceptions there are when it comes to recovery. You can’t get over alcoholism and addiction with will power any more than you can use it to get over cancer or any other life threatening disease. If that were the case, there would be a lot of people in the world curing themselves.
Addiction is a mental disease and in order to truly be in recovery, the individual MUST address the underlining reasons as to why they do it. Alcohol and drugs aren’t our problem, it’s the solution to our problems. We drink to forget, we drink not to feel, we drink to cope. It isn’t until we face all of our inner demons and conquer them that we can be truly sober. As I have said before, there is much more to sobriety than just not drinking or using. Will power plays no role in it whatsoever although many who are in active addiction seem to believe it does. It really isn’t until after we are in recovery that we realize it.
Another misconception with regard to alcohol and drug addiction is one that mostly comes from those who don’t suffer from the disease. Usually friends, family members and all those standing on the outside looking in. I’m speaking of the fact that we can’t “just stop” That is a question that we get asked quite a bit, “Well, why can’t you just stop?” Please believe me, if it were that easy, we would. It’s not that simple and not something that can easily be explained to those who don’t understand addiction. I speak from experience when I say that we (the alcoholics / addicts) do not like the pain we know we conflict on our loved ones. If it were a matter of just simply stopping, we would. We are not wired the way a “normal drinker” or an occasional user is. In the 28 years that I was drinking and using, I can’t ever remember one time when I cracked open a bottle or laid out a line and said, “I’m only going to do this one.” I never drank to be social, I drank to get drunk and to drink any other way was foreign to me. No one knows why but that’s the way our minds work.
Adding to my list of misconceptions, is the one where after a significant amount of sobriety time we “think” we have been sober / clean long enough and could suddenly be able to drink / use like a “normal” person. That’s the biggest bold faced lie ever told! As long as we maintain our sobriety, we can live normal addiction free lives. The minute that first drink or drug hit’s our system, we wake the demon and we’re off and running. Our disease does not go away with time. Like with other life threatening diseases, there is no cure. We’re going to be alcoholics / addicts for the rest of our lives. While in recovery, we’re only in remission. Our disease is still very much alive and growing stronger with time. It’s embedded deep within us doing push-ups and taking steroids. All it takes is ONE drink or drug and we are right back where we started and it gets worse. I say this quite often, I KNOW I have another relapse in me, what I do not have, is another recovery. If I go back out, I know I will unintentionally drink myself to death. Testing the “I can have just one theory” is one I’d rather not test thank you very much.
I have to laugh about the next misconception because it’s one that I myself believed to be true in the very beginning of my recovery. That’s the “Oh my God my life is gonna be completely boring if I can’t drink or use” misconception. I can’t begin to tell you what a joke that one is! I’ve had more fun and have been extremely not bored since I got sober. In fact, I got sober then I got busy! If you are reading this and still using or drinking, than you’re not going to understand it. It’s one of those many things you don’t realize until after you’ve been in recovery for awhile. Many of my students are in their late teens, early twenties and tell them to ask themselves why they feel they can not have fun without being under the influence of something. Where is the fun in getting so tore up that you make yourself sick and can’t remember anything the next day? Where is the fun in waking up full of piss and vomit? Where is the fun in making a complete ass out of yourself night after night? Things that make you go Hmmmmmm……………
Remember now, I’m talking about those who are in full, active addiction. We take things to the extreme. It’s not enough for us to just get a buzz on, we have to do things in excess and 99.9% of the time that ends badly.
I hope I have clarified some of the misconceptions regarding this deadly disease. If you have any questions, please feel free to hit me up. I’d be glad to answer any questions you may have to the very best of my ability.
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist