Johann Hari stated at the end of his viral “TED Talk” that… “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection”. This comment was received as a landmark and almost heretical statement in the field of addiction treatment. It sent shock waves through the recovery community. It was a new and innovative way to view addiction and address recovery.
“Love and tolerance of others is our code”. (Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 84)
Several years ago, close to Valentine’s Day, I was listening to the radio one morning on my drive into work. The radio host asked the above question to the listening audience. Immediately, the phoneline was inundated with dozens of phone calls from listeners all offering sage wisdom on the topic. However, one caller’s comments have stayed with me all this time. He responded with, “Love isn’t a noun – it’s a verb”.
I was 18 years old and three years sober. Ever since I went through treatment in the summer of 1978, all I wanted to do was to be a counselor. My counselor had saved my life and all I wanted to do was to become a counselor so I could save lives too. I could think of no higher calling or more worthwhile work. So, I applied for a Counselor Training Program.
“A Recovery Community Organization (RCO) is devoted to providing services to and tearing down barriers for those suffering from a substance use disorder. It is a
grassroots community-based organization staffed by people in recovery."
“The 12 Traditions of A.A. tell us that “we ought not ever be organized…” (Tradition Nine) but, this statement comes out of the organization’s lack of sanctions and disciplinary measures for the membership."
“Before I was broken, I was convinced that my problems were: My family, my school, the police, my girlfriend, my lack of a girlfriend, my peer group, my lack of money, etc., etc. etc.”"
“Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” (Tradition Seven of the 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous)"
“I stopped going to meetings....I stopped hanging out with people in the program”
There are struggles we will face in sobriety. Getting sober is not a guarantee that life will be void of trouble. On the contrary, life will be life. Life will have its ups and downs, its triumphs and tribulations, its ebb and flow.