Two blogs in one day. A first here on Rare Birds!!
The reaction to Nice Recovery has been really gratifying so far. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your emails and notes and thank you to those who’ve reviewed the book.
This subject touches a lot of people’s lives. Maybe someone in your family or a friend has trouble with substances. Maybe you do. I wrote the book partly to honour where I came from and partly to show that sobering up isn’t the end of life, but the beginning. I also wanted to take a look at the different options available for people entering recovery and to interview young people about what it’s like for them now. I don’t pretend to have the answers for everyone, I only know what’s worked for me. For the past twenty years, as I noted in an earlier post (February 1), I’ve been kind of cagey about my recovery. Like a lot of people, I got clean and sober so I could function properly. I didn’t want to spend my whole life being the drunkest one at the (increasingly depressing) party. I wanted to be treated like everyone else. And I have been. Telling everyone that I couldn’t handle my drink has meant giving up the pretense that I’m Mrs. Well-Adjusted and always have been. That has been a little scary, but I figure it will be worth it if the book is useful to even one person.
I tried to be careful not to talk about myself as a member of any specific recovery organization. In many programs there is a tradition of anonymity which states that people may talk about being in recovery from addiction, but should not announce their membership in any particular organization (even if people can infer that information).
Here’s why the principle of anonymity exists in twelve step programs: 1) the person who is announcing her/his membership in a program might get loaded and thereby become a bad advertisement, and 2) many people might be discouraged from trying to get help if they thought everyone would find out, and 3) a person shouldn’t go around thinking he/she’s all that because he/she’s in a program. You know, just for instance.
So, for anyone who is interested and who has not read the book, I am sober thanks to the help of many people, programs and therapists and the odd circus trainer. I am not in any way holding myself out as a poster child for any organization. (Well, I wouldn’t mind putting my face on a poster for a cupcake shop, but that’s different. That might mean free cupcakes.)
To quote my own preface, as all the classy writers do: “Most twelve step programs are based on a principle of anonymity. That means that members do not break their anonymity at the level of press, radio and film. Or books. My discussion about my (or others’) membership in any self-help programs will be kept general to respect these traditions. This book touches on twelve step programs and what they entail, but if you want more information, each program has its own literature. It’s very useful stuff. I encourage you to read it.”