Addiction “experts” will tell you that recovery requires a lot of sacrifice. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Sacrifice means giving up something of higher value in exchange for something of lower value.
If you’ve been addicted to drugs or alcohol, true sacrifice would mean continuing that addiction. You’d be giving up everything you could possibly do in life for the sake of an artificial buzz. You’d be sacrificing your potential for the sake of something that doesn’t matter at all.
Happiness? Don’t lie to yourself – you were never happy when you were drunk or high. You just thought you were.
So why does the treatment industry tell us that quitting addiction requires sacrifice? Because it feels that way at first. Few people want to give up their artificial highs. Withdrawals absolutely suck.
But this is a trick that your addicted brain plays on you. When you quit addiction, it feels like you’re turning your back on your best friend, significant other, and God all at the same time.
What a weird contradiction. When you quit your addiction, you’re maximizing your chances of finding real friendships, a significant other, and even God if you want to.
It takes TIME to realize that your addiction was a huge, fucked up, malicious trick after all. It takes time to realize that your addiction was the greatest sacrifice you ever made.
Avoid the sacrifice mentality. Avoid framing things you want in terms of “sacrifice.” Aspire for greatness and you’ll find your place in the universe.
If you aspire for greatness then staying sober will take care of itself. Anyone who tells you that this is backwards is either an AA robot or a mediocrity with a sacrifice mentality.
I attended AA for several months. I was shocked that no one had anything to say about self-actualization. Could anyone here identify a life’s purpose beyond “the fellowship”? Was I supposed to ask this question without feeling guilty?
Is greatness a dirty word, to be conflated with egotistical drunken rants?
For those with obvious talent – some of them are called “high functioning addicts” – the AA program appears confusing and scary. They need to break their physical addictions and repair relationships. But they don’t need to surrender their identities and start everything from scratch.
Never equate your deepest self with your addiction. This is a huge mistake even if you’re not a superstar. There’s no need to lose your entire identity in the process of recovering. If you’re a man, there’s no need to lose your masculine power.
Quite the contrary: Rediscovering your masculinity can be your greatest asset in recovery. These days, I do not feel irrationally omnipotent like I did when I drank. I feel strong, stable, and directed.
Often, I feel absolutely euphoric for no particular reason. This is because I have the highest testosterone levels I’ve had in about 10 years – alcohol was brutally suppressing my own natural antidepressants!!
You need to foster your masculine power to beat your addiction. I feel pity for guys who were told that quitting their addiction required them to sacrifice who they are. Some guys just need to bolt out of their emasculating shrink’s office and hit the gym instead. They’ll feel better immediately and come to their senses naturally.
I’ve seen a lot of guys in recovery memorize selfless dogma and go on to shun their passions. With no purpose in life other than “staying the course,” most of them relapsed.
Don’t be ashamed to want greatness. Don’t be afraid to embark on a mission to explore the depths of your own being in search of your truth. Apologize to people you’ve deeply hurt, but never sacrifice your pride or anything else in life. Getting sober does not mean becoming a doormat or a donkey.
They key to quitting drinking for good: Find your life’s purpose – find a way, any way, to do what you were born to do!!!
AA has a fundamental flaw that is responsible for its high relapse rates. It offers absolutely zero guidance for discovering your life’s purpose.
Its mantra is: Stay sober, and the rest of your life will take care of itself. This has resulted in a collection of people for whom “staying the program” is the essence of life.
This is an unsustainable kind of existence. Staying sober will not guarantee that you will live a fulfilling life. Often, the people who are most dogmatic and insistent on staying sober are the ones that relapse. With “sobriety” as their number one priory, their lives become bland, circular, and insulated.
On the contrary, discovering your life’s purpose will mean that you have a much better chance of staying sober. Consider the 5-10% success rate for average AA attendees, versus the 80% success rate for airline pilots who get treated for alcohol addiction.
These heroic pilots beat addiction because they have a purpose in life. They carry the lives of others on their shoulders, and they have a sense of personal importance and mission that allows them to transcend their physical addictions and move on with their lives.
Having a purpose doesn’t guarantee that you won’t become physically addicted to something. But it does increase your odds of beating an addiction as long as you still hold onto that purpose.
Of course, most people don’t have the guts to do what they were born to do. You might say, “I don’t have the guts to do this either – PLUS, I was cursed with an addict brain.”
Well, what are you going to do about it? Wallow around restlessly with your addict brain for the rest of your life? Or channel your God-given intensity into doing something GREAT??
Take a look at history’s greatest artistic and literary geniuses. An addict brain can be a curse or a gift. In my case, it was only a curse before it was a gift. What you do with your addict brain is entirely up to you.
If you avoid the sacrifice mentality, you will enjoy the process of finding yourself after addiction.
I’ve been on a mission to discover my life’s purpose for a few years now. I’m not incredibly rich or famous, but I know deep down that I have some abilities that make me unique. I know that no one else on earth has exactly the same combination of talents that I do. And I’m determined to do something about it.
I know that if I work on these talents and stay optimistic and don’t drink, I will increase my chances of succeeding in life.
I don’t choose to frame my avoidance of alcohol as a sacrifice. I don’t even like the term “sobriety” very much. It has a very austere, borderline sad connotation. I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life, thank you very much.
With that said, alcohol has completely lost its allure to me. Sometimes I walk into my friends’ kitchens and see half-empty bottles of liquor, with no tops, sitting on counters or in the refrigerator. I chuckle thinking about what this scene might have triggered in my brain several years ago.
Let other people get wasted. They can screw up their lives if they want, or perhaps they can just get away with it. Either way, I’ll feel 100% better than they do tomorrow morning!!
If they can get away with drinking themselves into oblivion every Friday night for the next 10 years, that’s 520 Saturday mornings that I’ll be more productive than they are.
They’ll be squirming in bed while I’m savoring my morning coffee and soaking up sunshine and writing my heart out.
What will you be doing?
Very well written and inspiring
Thanks Michael, glad you enjoyed it.