Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day 332 Overheard in a Florida meeting

So many of us are deeply saddened by the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman from a drug overdose. Much of the media conversation shows a poor understanding of addiction, even with all the information that's available. The disease is cunning, baffling, and powerful. It is not rational. It's not something you can think your way out of. Deciding to use again is not like buying a car.

A small percentage of us (about 10% or so) get sober and stay sober. No one really knows why some of us do and most of us don't. We believe it's from working the 12 step program, seeking support, getting rigorously honest with ourselves and our sponsors and opening up to a higher power through some kind of a spiritual program. But we don't really know. I don't know if Hoffman had those things in his life. I suspect not, or not all of them, or not enough of them. And the dark seduction, the promise of freedom from pain, was too much for him.

At an AA meeting I attended last Thursday in Naples, a man told a bit of his story and one thing he said rang so true for me. "After 10 years," he said, "I understood what a great thing had happened to me."

I have made efforts to stay sober: going to meetings, working the steps, eliminating drama from my life, moving always towards kindness and sanity as best I can. But I also understand that a great thing has happened to me and I am so grateful.

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