I want to change. It’s that simple. But how?
I’ve reached a fork in the road and have a decision to make as to what path I should follow. I can continue to go down the path I’ve been following of abusing substances and numbing my feelings of worthlessness OR I can travel down a new path of sobriety and seek the help of others through support groups to address the underlying fears and beliefs that have led to my addictions. The one path is familiar and regardless of how destructive it may seem, is comforting in its familiarity. The other path is the road less followed and seems daunting but also potentially liberating.
I am almost ready to commit to taking the road less traveled, a.k.a., sobriety. This raises the question again of “how?” I may do that. I took to the local bookstore to find some answers and consulted my doctor on ways through which I can enact this change. She suggested counseling which I am due to start this week. At the bookstore I was confronted with a variety of titles and authors who promise a better life and a better way. I desperately perused the stacks searching for a book that would speak to my soul. I found several but one in particular stands out: Russell Brand’s “Recovery – Freedom From Our Addictions.”
Russell Brand breaks down the 12 step program according to him and explains how one may engage with it and truly change as a result of it. I will admit I have much skepticism towards the 12 Steps, particularly its religious undertones. However, Brand suggests that the program can be taken even by an atheist and that it is up to you to define what a Higher Power means to you.
Brand even mentions his first thoughts on the 12 Step program as being a bit pious: “The first time I saw the Steps, I thought, ‘Hmm, a bit religious, a bit pious, a bit ambitious.’ There was the ‘Christianity’ feel. Look at the third step, ‘turn our will and our lives over to the care of God’ – steady on old boy, that just sounds like a cosy version of ISIS. But now I know that you could be a devout Muslim with a sugar problem, an atheist Jew who watches too much porn, a Hindu who can’t stay faithful, or a humanist who shops more than they can afford to and this program will effortlessly form around your flaws and attributes, placing you on the path you were always intended to walk, making you, quite simply, the best version of yourself it is possible to be” (Brand 13).
I want to give the 12 Step program a try because quite simply nothing else has worked for me yet. I want to eliminate all illicit substances, alcohol, and cigarettes from my life. As someone who has smoked and drank heavily for over eight years, this will be no easy feat. I believe sobriety will yield an enlightenment of sorts in that I will be able to think and reflect more clearly on my life. Why does this matter you may ask? Because we are dying every minute and every second of each day. I want to be able to fully engage and participate in my life and I believe, no I know, that my drug use is a distraction from this.
So I have decided to give the 12 Step Program the good old college try. The first step of the program is “We admitted that we are powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable” or as Brand simplifies the step “Are you a bit fucked?” I am truly ready to engage with this program and feel as though by writing this blog post I am indeed admitting my powerlessness over my addiction. My life has become a bit of a mess due to drugs – hospitalizations, lost friendships, feelings of guilt and shame, but I believe that I have the power to change this with the support of the program.
Today I am completing step 1 of the program and admitting to myself that my substance use is a serious problem and that it has made my life unmanageable. I am tired of my life being about my next fix. Something has got to give so I will be attending my first ever support group for addiction at a local church on Monday. I am nervous for a variety of reasons, one being that this group may stress the religious aspect of the program more so and that I will be turned off. Another being slightly more ridiculous in that I am nervous I may be too fucked up to relate to these people or to really change. Regardless of these fears, I will be moving forward with this program and seeing if it works for me.
Stay Tuned for Updates on my discovery of self and the activities I engage in to try and achieve this.