Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

I know …

We all say it.  And sometimes we say it without really thinking about it.  It’s become such a common phrase that it now acts as an agreement statement as well as an acknowledgement or confirmation of fact.

However, when living with addiction(s), those words are often used to get someone to stop nagging at you.  You just want them to stop telling you how you’re ruining your life or how you’re affecting everyone and everything in it.

I certainly did … all the time … and with a relatively good deal of sarcasm.  I’d say, “I know” when I actually meant, “get off my back.”

That all changed when I found recovery.  All of a sudden, those words become a very profound level of healing between two people who are trying to find their way out of living hell.

When I am talking with another person in recovery and hear of their pain, fear, shame, guilt, remorse or whatever else is challenging their recovery, I can say, “I know this is hard for you” because at one point or another in my life, I stood in those same shoes.  I know firsthand what all that feels like from a very foundational level.  I also know how I moved out and away from living with all that pain, guilt, shame, remorse and fear.  And I share that too as yet another example of hope and the many blessings recovery brings to someone’s life … like mine.

Now if that same friend were to share those feelings and struggles with someone outside the rooms of recovery, he/she might hear, “I know this is probably hard for you”, but do they?  Does that other person actually “know?”  I’d venture to guess they don’t.

You see there is an enormous difference between just knowing something intellectually (theoretically) and knowing something from a very practical experience.

So the next time you say, “I know” … ask yourself, do I?

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2 thoughts on “I know …

  1. I have to say that I actually use this quit a bit esp. if I have a scared patient who might be having a test or something done that I have had done in the past. I do not often disclose my own “stuff” to my patients, but when I think that it will be helpful to them I do. Sometimes just knowing that someone understands and cares what you are going through makes a world of difference. Besides that I can usual put their mind at easy because I can tell them first hand what it was like. One day I hope to be able to be able to say something along the lines of “before I was in recovery….”but still working on that. Personally it is so comforting when talking to someone about my addictions and they get it because it gives me the feeling of not feeling so alone.But my friends that dont struggle with any kind of addictions when they say things like I know..I get upset and reply..No you dont you really have no idea, but thank you for being my friend anyway!

  2. Editor from Chicago Sun-Times looking to contact you.
    Andrew Herrmann. 312-321-2546

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