For human beings, dreaming of a brighter future is as natural as breathing, eating, and…
‘Unauthorized’ (as in Brutally Honest and Unflattering) Autobiography Could Be Your Ticket to Sobriety
The list of people damaged by the irresponsible and self-centered actions of a drug addict or alcoholic is usually quite extensive, and can include everyone from close family members to work colleagues to innocent bystanders caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. But if you as an addict yourself were to take the time to sit down and compose such a list, there is no question about whose name should be at the very top – your own.
Substance abusers are notorious for their selfishness, but in reality the tendency of the chemically dependent to “look out for No. 1” is more about protecting the addiction than it is about looking after the human being behind it. And because the self-centeredness in this instance only serves the needs of the addiction and not the needs of the person who has become its victim, the results of such behavior will only bring disaster and self-destruction in the end. A woman addicted to drugs or alcohol is lost in a wilderness of inner conflict and confusion, and if it seems like she cares only about herself, that is because her free will has been subdued by a toxic soul-sucking invader.
So how does a woman imprisoned by the shackles of chemical dependency finally break free from her tormenter? Essentially there are two key elements to a successful recovery from addiction. First, the addict must come to accept and acknowledge just exactly what substance abuse has done to her life and how limited her life choices have become because of its presence. Second, she must cultivate a sense of resolve and determination to recover that is so strong it becomes impossible for her to let her addiction win. No matter how difficult things become—and even after relapse—her will to transcend her dependency remains too powerful to be denied. These two elements of a successful recovery must follow in sequence, so until that first step has been completed, a real and lasting escape from the prison of addiction is all but unthinkable.
Addicts and alcoholics, we have a serious question for you—have you ever really taken the time to think about all the terrible things that have happened to you, and that you have done, as a result of your chemical dependency? If not, heed this warning: even if you have entered into recovery following a stint in rehab, your chances of staying the course and remaining clean and sober for the duration will be dramatically reduced if you cannot find a way to recognize and truly come to terms with the havoc and chaos substance abuse has brought to your life.
Your Tragic Tale of Woe – and Redemption
What we are talking about here is not some sort of light reminiscence or casual discussion in a peer support group session. What we are proposing is that you essentially sit down and write a book about your life—or more specifically, your life as a substance abuser. It doesn’t have to be a long book, and it is certainly not something intended for publishing (unless you’d like to do that). But if you expect to recover from addiction, this is a story that must be told, and you need to have it available in written form so it is available for you to refer to whenever the time is appropriate.
Whether arranged by time sequence or by theme, an effective autobiography for a recovering addict or alcoholic should have the following characteristics:
- Honesty – this must be a completely uncensored look at your life and every bad thing that has ever happened to you while intoxicated or because of your long-term substance abuse habit. You cannot afford to be modest here—if it happened, no matter how ugly it might be, write about it and include every important detail.
- Comprehensiveness – don’t skip anything. You need to tell your story in its entirety.
- Non-defensiveness – you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone here, and if you do get defensive, it means you are not being real. You must let your guard down and face up to the truth, once and for all.
- A small-picture focus – it is all about how addiction has affected you, not your husband, son, daughter, best friend, mom, or dad. How were you damaged by drugs or alcohol? That is the question you are trying to answer.
- A clinical tone – this is a work of non-fiction, not a novel; report the facts and leave the emotional embellishments out of the story, they will only serve to distort your perspective.
If you take an approach to autobiographical writing that includes these elements, you will end up with a story that is factual, thorough, impartial, and most of all, incredibly sad and frightening. You will be in possession of a document that spells out clearly what a mess drugs and/or alcohol have made of your life and how utterly unproductive you have been during your personal era of addiction. This story will shock and horrify you, and it will leave you absolutely determined to avoid repeating your past mistakes at all costs.
In other words, it will put you in exactly the frame of mind that you need to be in if you are to have any chance of overcoming your addiction. Your “unauthorized” (as in brutally honest and unflattering) autobiography can be your ticket to sobriety, and once you have found the courage to write it your chances of arriving at your final destination safe and sound and clean in mind, body, and spirit will be dramatically enhanced.