A few weeks ago, a man with a golden voice was videotaped on the streets. He became an instant celebrity, and his feel-good, plucked-from-obscurity-and-poverty story was featured in every possible media outlet.
Yet as I watched the face of the homeless alcoholic/addict splashed across my television screen, it made me think back to my own early sobriety. This man, this lucky stranger, has been in recovery for two years, and two years is still early sobriety. I recall the doctors and other well meaning people educated in the field of addiction who tried to help me and nearly killed me in the process. I can't even imagine what this man who was plucked from the streets, cleaned up, and thrown into the limelight must be going through.
Those who do not suffer from addiction might believe that success is a good thing. However, too much too soon can actually have the opposite effect. Underlying our need to escape through addictions, we have self-esteem and self-respect problems. Many of us do not really believe we deserve success. Some suffer from fear of success because of the expectations that go along with it. It's much easier to be a screw-up; that way no one expects anything better of us.
Addiction is a selfish disease wherein addicts need only be concerned with themselves, their pain and their needs. That all changes when we get sober and have to look at the effect we've had on others. As I watched this homeless drunk thrown into the deep end of facing the family he hurt, neglected and probably terrorized at times, I wonder if those who put him in this situation are concerned with his recovery or their ratings. They can say the words over and over, but actions speak louder.
Paying for a recovery program is generous, but what is it they believe an addict in recovery for two years, who has been attending meetings, and working steps will learn? The steps will still be the same and either the drunk is willing to work them or not. I can't even imagine the rest of the world looking on as I struggled through the hardest thing in my life, knowing that until I was willing to take responsibility for my part in everything, and make amends to the best of my ability, I would never know peace and real recovery.
I certainly wish this homeless alcoholic well as I do anyone who is trying to find recovery from addiction, but I can't help but think of the lowly moth. He has quite a struggle to release himself from the tightly woven cocoon, but if someone made the hole larger, easier for him to emerge, then the muscles he should have built up during the struggle would not develop and he would not survive. Just a thought!