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.
I’m writing this on a morning in March when the news media is full of coronavirus, or Covid-19 stories. Today’s Star-Tribune newspaper reports that the Costco store near The Retreat is out of toilet paper and won’t have any more for five days. They are also out of hand sanitizer, plastic gloves, and bleach wipes. The food aisles are decimated, as well, with non-perishables in short supply. It isn’t a full and complete panic, but it is certainly a lot of anxiety for a state that has no known cases of the virus.
“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”.
Oh, the holidays! When we think of them, so many thoughts and images pop into our heads! Snow! Family! Food! Togetherness! Traditions, old and new! Excitement is in the air, and we start planning how and when our ideal holiday will come together. Unfortunately, for those who have a loved one struggling with alcoholism or addiction, an additional level of stress typically accompanies the holidays: worry that our imagined holiday will turn into our worst-case scenario.
“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."
“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
- Step 7 from the Al-Anon Family Groups
"I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world."
- Leigh Standley
“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.”"
“What has God done for me, that I could never do for myself? On Independence Day, 2019, I get to celebrate 30 years of continuous sobriety in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous."
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
- Step 6 from the Al-Anon Family Groups