When you live that world called 'addiction' there are all sorts of principles and laws you need to become familiar with if you are going to be successful at it. I know it sounds like heresy to use the word "successful" with the term addict or addiction but it is the truth. I think almost all good addicts want to be successful at their addiction because lack of success means no drugs and no drugs means not being ok in their own skin aka sober or abstinent. This is one of the greatest fears of any good addict. So having success means getting high and feeling like you can cope and deal with this thing called life. It is the great lubricant for life.
Hopefully for most addicts living in the world of addiction the day will come where you will hit bottom or want help. This gives you a whole new set of language to learn. When being only familiar with street terms like " keep your friends close and your enemies closer" or "waking and baking is a way of life" it can be difficult and cumbersome to try to catch on to acting differently or speaking differently. Addicts love to be non-committal, grey and exaggerators and they are, by very nature, extremely dishonest.
Obviously when you give up trying to be right and want to stop lying this can put you way ahead of the game. That said sometimes people in recovery just remove the abused substance and think they can still behave the same and chalk it up to "well I am not using". From my collective experience over the past 12 years it does matter how you say things and the way you respond.
By default , addicts early in recovery want to explain their way out of things and not give the entire story. Swearing excessively and pretending to still be a street junkie didn't serve you well then so why would it now?
I will end by suggesting to those in recovery reading this, watch the language you use and most of all get a sponsor, work the steps and make restitution to those whom you have hurt - that's more important than the crazy tales of terror you tell amongst your early recovery friends (and we don't want to hear about it in the 12 step meetings anyways). Save that stuff until after you work all 12 steps in order, then share it with a newcomer for the purpose of identification - Please and Thank You.
This article was contributed by Michael Smith. Michael Smith is Director of Multimedia Marketing at Burning Tree - A long term addiction treatment center in Texas. His background is in counseling and marketing. Originally from Portland, Maine he moved to Texas about 3 years ago to continue his work in the recovery field. He has been in his own personal recovery since 2003.