Ask an Addict is a column penned by Helena Paivenen, a Kamloops scholar with expertise in addiction issues and someone who is also an addict. The column is meant to inform and help, which is particularly important as we remain mired in an opioid crisis that continues to claim thousands of lives each year. If you have a question you would like answered, email it to email@example.com. Anonymity is guaranteed.
The 12 steps are a recipe for life from which all can benefit.
Step two reads: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Again, the use of “us” verses “me” will be found in this text. I cannot do it alone, but together we can.
Many rebel against the concept of a power greater than oneself. It has been said that religious people fear hell, while spiritual people have been there and back. In the big book, it states we suffer from a spiritual malady, one which only a higher power can address.
Everyone is influenced by powers greater than themselves. We only have to think of gravity, the four seasons and day and night to realize this.
However, people like to think we are all powerful and this idea is indeed promoted by society. No matter how much I try to willpower my way to defy gravity or to fly or to change night into day, there is no way I can compel this to be.
Thus, a higher power is so simple, yet many rebel and argue and rail against this.
Alcohol, drugs and destructive behaviour likes to make us think we are in charge. The word “sanity” is used and who likes to think they are insane?
Yet when you think about alcohol, it impacts the entire system — your lungs, skin, brain, liver and bowels. It is a known carcinogen, so what sane person would willingly and happily ingest a known cancer-causing substance?
We live in denial about this as alcohol sales are lucrative. We see photos of cancerous lesions in cigarette packages, while alcohol is given free reign.
Tongue, throat, mouth, stomach and liver cancer can all be caused by alcohol consumption, so stating we are insane is quite accurate for all who consume the carcinogenic liquid of alcohol.
You are no different than me. You are influenced by the same forces, yet people like to single out others who use different substances, but alcohol is part of those substances. Therefore, the separation between me and those of you who are not addicted does not exist. I am you and you are me.
“Came to believe” implies it is a process, not a burning bush, as many might believe.
Thank you, again, to all the supportive people I have met. I am so proud to have moved to Kamloops, the Caring Capital of Canada. I am so grateful to my last employer for having had faith in me.
I suspect some might believe I am doing injustice to nurses and academia, but I know this is misguided because there is no shame in recovery, in being of service, in helping others and in telling the truth.
How many can say they take inventory every day, see where they can do better, admit when they are wrong? How many can say they seek every day to be of service?
This is why I think this program is good for all us. Thank you.