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Old 10-25-2007, 11:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Mask of Recovery

I wrote this, a few years back, for an NA Newsletter. Figured I'd post it as a different topic:

The Mask of Recovery

Becoming employed, socially acceptable and reunited with our families does not make our lives manageable. Social acceptability does not equal recovery.” -Basic Text, page 21

Many of us come to NA beaten. We think that drugs were the cause of all of our problems, and we figure that if we could just stop using drugs everything would be all right.

We start going to meetings and change people, places and things. Before long, we’ve acquired some clean time and get “locked and loaded” on making up for all those years we used and getting back all those things we gave away because of our addiction.

For many of us, we get the jewelry, we get the apartment, we go back to school and get degrees, we become employed, we get the new relationship, we get the car, we get the new clothes and we get into a routine of doing what we believe “normal” people do. We have reached a point of social acceptability and many of us view these changes in our lives as recovery (especially if we‘ve acquired extensive clean time). Many of us don’t have time for Step work (if we ever did) – we’re too busy. Too busy to recover!!

“We start to look normal – just by removing the drugs. Acceptability in the eyes of the world is a benefit of recovery: it is not the same thing as recovery.” -Just For Today, page 204

Many of us can put on the mask of recovery by staying clean and by imitating the things that we think will make us be seen as acceptable. We may fail to see that we are still trying to fit in with false images, false personalities and false status symbols. The phony images we used to hide our low self-esteem during active addiction are often substituted for new phony images when we get clean. It‘s too bad we fool ourselves more than anyone else. NA tells us, “Sometimes we think that these images, built to protect us while using, might also protect us in recovery.”

Recovery is an inside job and not always directly associated with clean time (drugs are just a symptom ), status, employment, jewelry, property or college degrees. Just as apples are just an ingredient of apple pie, staying clean and acquiring the symbols of social acceptability are just factors of recovery – not recovery itself. I’m sure there will be those of us who will read this article and immediately become defensive, or challenge what I’ve written. That’s okay too. Our literature doesn’t lie.

In Narcotics Anonymous, we deal with every aspect of our disease, not just the most obvious symptom –our uncontrollable drug use. Staying clean must come first, but recovery is about more than staying clean. So the next time you hear a member say that clean time “equals” recovery, ask them what program they are working? The Steps are the solution that makes recovery possible.


Garry W.

Taken from – “Inside The Rooms,” April 2004
__________________
~Garry W. ~
8/24/98
One Program, One Disease, One promise
"We are powerless not only over drugs, but over our addiction as well. We need to admit this fact in order to recover." NA Basic Text, pg.20, 5th Ed
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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yeah, that sentence jump out at me for some reason.
It cuaght my attention becuase i thought it was odd, but
i never seriouely gave it a second thought....not until the sheit
hit the fan of course.lol

After gaining everything back and more. i had a nice job, a nice
home out in the country, a nice family to come home too.
I almost had those white picket fences too. It was dream come
true for an addict like me. i had to pinch myself on somedays
just to makesure i wasn't dreaming.

But slowly, I lost touch with recovery. i bascially went to work
and home, which was good for a daddy that settled down.

At my 5th year mark my ex-gf ( she an EX..lol) told me, gave
me changes, told me to call my sponsor or start going back to meetings.

But no...I started my old behaviors again (in my marriage..lol)
I was constantly living in fear again. i feared of loosing everything
that i worked so hard for, i feared of loosing my wife and child.
i became a workaholic and basciaclly wasn't living.

I missed my duaghter's school play and that was the straw that broke
the camel's back.

I came home to an empty house oneday at 7.30 P.M. ...she packed her belongings
and took the girls and left.

i didn't relapsed over it ..but it tored me a new one.
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Old 10-26-2007, 09:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Recovery is not social acceptability--so true!

As for me, I did not lose a bunch of stuff when I got clean. I had decent grades in college, I was on a career path, I had not alienated my family, my health was good. By some measures, I was socially acceptable. But I felt bad about me. I didn't like the life I was living, even if I was doing okay on the outside. I had gotten really tired of the same old same old everday. I felt like a loser. My lowpoint was a spiritual one, not a financial, social or legal one.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I see it all the time. Oldtimers get a life and make 1 meeting a month, can i put this article in our newsletter? I'm the newsletter chair for the Frederick, MD. area and we have little to no participation.
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Old 11-11-2007, 08:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Garry, i printed the newsletter for our area with your story on the front page, i need your email address to send it to you
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Old 11-11-2007, 07:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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you got it!
__________________
~Garry W. ~
8/24/98
One Program, One Disease, One promise
"We are powerless not only over drugs, but over our addiction as well. We need to admit this fact in order to recover." NA Basic Text, pg.20, 5th Ed
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