In 2006, I got rheumatoid arthritis and I was laid up for nearly a year, and I was unable to walk, unable to move, unable to use my hands, unable to do anything. This friend of mine said, “Have you thought of working the 12-step program around this?” And this is the AA 12-step fellowship program, which fundamentally is about “surrender to help.”
And I was furious! I was lying on this bed thinking, “You don’t understand what it is like!” But I was a captive audience, and I thought, “Surrender to help. Surrender to help.” Oh, take the medication with gratitude; start looking outside of this tiny world of pain that I was living in; and just start committing to each tiny step.
And today, truly, I feel like a complete miracle of all the medication that I’ve taken in the last 10 years to treat this condition. I feel really grateful for the recovery I’ve got, and for the opportunity to be able to say that I know that addiction is known as a chronic relapsing condition, but I don’t agree. I think one of the reasons that it is a chronic relapsing condition is because we are looking in the wrong place. We are looking at the thing that people use, and we are trying to control it.
Now, if addiction is the delegation of my emotions onto something else, if you take that away, I’m just going over here until you’re not looking, and I’m going back there again. Chronic relapsing condition. Unless you teach me how to take care of me.
And how do you do that? Simple things.
When you look in the mirror, say nice things to yourself. And if that’s difficult, get a picture of yourself around six or seven years old, and pop it up in your bathroom, and start to talk to her or him. Start to talk to her. Literally. “Morning.” Hmm, felt really weird.
I want you to start to create a relationship with a part of yourself that might feel vulnerable, and who really needs you on side. And at the end of the day, write down what you’re grateful for. Because there are people that I have known in my life who would give their eyeteeth to be here today. It is such a precious gift, each one of us as individual, as long as we remember that, and we remain completely invested in the curiosity, instead of the offense, when we meet people and interact with them.
Thank you very much for this.