I just received and finished reading a forty-page booklet entitled “The Gift of Addiction” written by my friend and recovery brother Steven C. This amazing easy to understand booklet goes directly to the conversation that being in recovery is not a curse but rather a blessing. As Steven puts it in his chapter Seven: The Paradigm Shift, he starts with the concept that addiction is not a punishment. It is so easy for those in the grip of addiction or newly in recovery who see and experience addiction as a death sentence as opposed to seeing it for what it really is which is a LIFE SENTENCE, you get to have one! As Steven cleverly points out, in bowling, the pins don’t deserve to get knocked down, it’s just what happened as a result of rolling the ball. Several Blogs back I wrote about reclaiming the word deserve, what I was also suggesting was in fact a paradigm shift.

I know Steven over twenty years and have from up close and afar watched him become a man among men. Working his way toward wholeness and leading by example as a quiet leader in his local recovery community. What an honor and a privilege it has been for me to bear witness to his miracle of his new life.

Michelangelo was once quoted when asked how he came up with his famous statute of David is said to have answered; David was always in the stone, it was my job to chop away the excess so he could shine and be free. I feel that way about all recovery men and women who do the heavy lifting to change the trajectory of their lives. As I have said to many hurt women sitting in my office about their addict husbands, I can’t put into him what is not at his core, but if at his core he has value and worth recovery will allow it to shine, just like David and Steven C.

Most addicts while in active addiction are liars, cheats, and thieves. The standing joke in Narcotics Anonymous is that a full blow heroin addict will steal your wallet and then try to help you look for it until they give up excepting the loss all the while thanking you for your help. Integrity, ethics, values and exhibiting good judgement are no where to be found in the landscape of an active addict, yet let that person get clean and engage in active recovery and all those lost traits will reappear. Sociopaths, narcissists and psychopaths need not apply.

This booklet attempts to re-frame [Chapter One] a belief system that the world has. Addiction is a moral failing, pick yourself up by your bootstraps and Nancy Reagan’s now famously flawed comment of “just say no”. The wisdom of Alcoholics Anonymous states that in the beginning the man takes the drink but in the end the drink takes the man.

For those who come out the other side still in tacked, GET that their recovery is a Gift and a miracle since all active addicts work overtime to Get Dead both literally and figuratively sometimes over decades. Most will say that it began with a moment of clarity or maybe police lights flashing or a wife who changed the locks, but regardless of what catapulted them into this spot had to be divine intervention whether they believed in a High Power or not at the time.

Great read. You can get it on Amazon. It would make a great holiday gift for anyone in or contemplating recovery. Bravo to my friend Steven C. and remember what I always say: misery is optional.

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