Living a life of sobriety...
So I bet you're asking yourself right now, 'What does a bunch of birds (above) have to do with sobriety?' The answer to this conundrum would be, absolutely nothing- on the surface that is. But in reality, recovering addicts are much like a flock of birds insomuch as they tend to congregate in places to talk about their respective addictions. That's about where the comparison ends from the birds' perspective anyway. I mean it's not like these birds are discussing what they did to make an ass of themselves last night, or how many of their bird friends they pissed off or made uncomfortable because of their use of illegal narcotics or perfectly legal alcohol...the birds have better things to do I'm sure. Nests to build, eggs to warm and the like...
Why then do people do such? I bring this to light as this has been a subject that has been front and centre for me for some time now, six years today as a matter of fact. Yeah me- six years sober! This year the date has kinda come and tomorrow will be gone without a bunch of fan fare and truthfully that's really the way I like it, prefer it even. This post will be the extent of my non-celebration of the milestone that to me has little meaning with the exception of a huge personal achievement yet not something I really care to celebrate as so many recovering alcoholics do and will. This was and is my battle and no one else's.
Last year my dear counselor Ashley made a request of me to mark the 5 year anniversary, as to a timeline of events of those accomplishments over the previous 5 years and I gratefully obliged her of this request. I will say it indeed was very enlightening for myself and her. Since Ashley and I are no longer in this client counsellor relationship, I am on my own this year. I know she would have wanted me to mark the occasion somehow, no matter how insignificant I deemed this to be. More so for the sake of simple acknowledgement. This, therefore, is that attempt. I do miss Ashley.
As for the photo above, just ignore it, or admire it, doesn't matter. I clicked on the wrong photo and couldn't get it to delete..
Anyhoo, where was I? Oh yes, sobriety, right...
There really was a reason for writing this post today, and it just so happens that after the lovely Ashley and I parted ways it was suggested that perhaps I try and find some other outlets for any misgivings or shall we say, chinks in the armour of said sobriety. She did give me some very good avenues for this but my concern was starting from square one again. Did I really need to go through all of that again and my honest answer with myself was no. I felt I was secure enough in my sobriety that this was not needed. Yet just in case it is always nice to have a 'fallback' if you will. I do have my respective support network and for all intents and purposes that works just fine for me. I looked anyway.
In the last few weeks I have found three different scenarios for lack of a better description (you'll understand the meaning here momentarily) all of which have been 'for profit.' To say the very least, I was astonished at this.
Anyone that knows me is aware I have written and published two books on the subject of recovery and continued sobriety. Anyone that has read those books knows full well the reasoning behind the writing and subsequent publishing was never ever to make a profit off of someone else's hardships.
In my six years of sobriety, I had yet to have seen anyone else engage in this behaviour either. At least not as a business adaptation anyway. Lo and behold I find three separate ones in a very short span of time. I'm not talking a small sum here either, such as buying my ebook would set you back a measley $7.99. No, no, I'm talking thousands of dollars to tell you in plain language exactly what picking up the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous will. Sure it's been re-worded and played with and re-tooled to make it their own, but basically the same thing.
At the same time though it is degrading to that piece of work from so long ago that has worked for so many millions of people over the course of the 80+ years the Big Book has been in print. I was and I am disgusted. Stating that AA does not work, that the entire premise is derived from beating yourself up about the stupid mistakes you have made in the past and never being able to get past your shame, rather living within that shame for the rest of your lives. Hell if Dr. Bob was alive today, I'm quite sure he'd be having a coronary right about now, he's probably turning in his grave at the very least!
Success rates for continued sobriety are very slim, I know this and it is unfortunately a part of the recovery process. It very rarely works the first time. These are addictions we are talking about and once in the cycle of self-destruction it is something that is very hard to break away from no matter how strong you are. But for these groups to chastise the program in the fashion they have been doing is abhorrent to me.
To claim that these new systems they have invoked are all science based and will work so much better than the tried and true methodology of AA and NA. How dare they. Do not misunderstand, I have my issues with the AA premise still, but I firmly believe in the principal of the program. 'It works if you work it' (sorry for the Morgan Freeman reference there) yet it seemed appropriate (wish I could remember the name of the movie)
Interestingly enough I wrote a rather in depth email to the founder of one of these organisations in which I detailed the similarities between her 'new' program and that of Alcoholics Anonymous, and wouldn't you know it she has not returned my email! I'm not the least bit surprised.
What this woman is playing on is the simple fact these are desperate people that have tried every way from Sunday to quit drinking and have not succeeded, and she promises a new and exciting program that is nothing like AA (even though the literature is in theory exactly alike) and that this will indeed work for them unlike anything else. She does not go so far as to guarantee results, yet she does give you the option to delete your credit card information if you find it doesn't work. This is of course after you've bought her book and her video content all at exorbitant prices. And all of this is done on-line. There is no human contact whatsoever.
Now me, I think when I do need that contact, I'm gonna stick with that bunch of birds scenario I started this piece with, thank you very much. I much prefer a room full of chatty cormorants over a chat room any day.
About the author
JP Willson is an accomplished chef who's worked in some of Vancouver and Victoria's most prestigious kitchens. Now as an author of two self-help books while living and working in Victoria, British Columbia. Life has become far from ordinary