Duh. I attended a “Treatment Centre” years ago that allowed opportunity for a number of us to be featured in speaking publicly about our recovery. This was in very early sobriety, perhaps a few weeks or months.
The program was frankly a disaster. The relapse rate was very high and drugs were used in the centre. We were paraded into local churches and shown off by the “Executive Director” (note the impressive title) of the program. He was praised for all the great work he was doing… followed of course by a plea for support from the congregation… which of course he got.
What a load of crap.
Why do I bring all of this up? The memory of my time there came up in a recent blog dialogue I was having with another blogger. And it simply brought to mind a few key ingredients that I believe made for a successful recovery for me…. and what ingredients didn’t.
One that really DIDN’T was the opportunity to pump up my ego when it should have been squashed. The program I was in published profiles of the “students” (guys living in the centre… so much for anonymity) and highlighted the higher points of our bad behaviours prior to being taken under the wing of the program. We were then put in front of crowds of people to share our testimonies. Egos ran wild as people came up to congratulate us for staying sober for what, a few weeks or months? We were portrayed as recovery superstars.
Most of us with drug or alcohol problems have an underlying ego problem. We are either over-confident or under-confident and drink our way around the unreality of our perspective. How on earth can one gain a perspective when made into a small c celebrity… especially in the first few weeks or months of sobriety? Our egos took over and many people, before they got any measure of recovery, went back out. Why? Probably because we thought we were all that.
In my experience, “Sobriety” and “Superstar” are oxymorons. And people who try to be or make Recovery Superstars are just ordinary morons 🙂
Subsequent to this experience, I got my ego, my teeth, and my butt handed to me on a silver platter. I crashed so hard that there was little ego left and no place left to fan the ember into a flame again.
Today, I am grateful for a program of recovery that limits opportunities to feed my ego. And were it slips in, God seems to serve up people and circumstances to remind me that my ego is getting a little big for its britches and a dose of humility is in order.