I just saw this shared by a friend on Facebook:
I’m not going to comment on her post this time because she seems to take my comments the wrong way… although I mean no disrespect.
Here’s the thing: I am absolutely not sorry for the person that I became. In six days, I’ll be two years and seven months clean (which is not very long compared to many other people, by the way), but I am not a different person. I’m the same person who made those mistakes, the same person who made some terrible choices. I am sorry for the choices I made, but admit I made those choices. Me, not some fucking disease. I admit that I caused harm to other people, and the fact that it was unintentional changes nothing. By admitting this, and by accepting that the consequences were my doing, I take responsibility for all my choices, the bad and now the good. I also take all the credit for rebuilding my life, my career and for being the best father that I can be. But I don’t hate who I was, because I am still that person. I also believe that failing to take personal accountability for everything, the good and the bad, would be a huge mistake. It would mean never moving forward. And it would probably mean almost certain relapse. I pity those who hate their past selves. I am, and I believe everybody else is, a product of all my choices and all my deeds. I learn from my mistakes, but do not shy away from them or pretend that was a “different me”. It wasn’t. That kind of attitude would lead to disaster.
There’s another one this same friend shared… I can’t find it, but it was more or less like a combination of these two, stating (paraphrased), “Don’t judge me. You don’t know what I’ve been through.”
(Note that I am only criticizing these motivational memes in the context of recovery from drug addiction. The same sentiments when expressed for other types of recovery – for example recovery from domestic abuse or from depression – would be valid.)
I call bullshit on that one too. It’s easy to say, “Don’t judge me” and it’s even easier to say “You don’t know what I’ve been through” but what you’ve been through, at least in drug addiction, is irrelevant.
What you’ve been through was your own damn fault. When you choose to use drugs, and you choose not to stop despite horrendous consequences, you get what’s coming to you. Everything that happens to you is caused by you, so fuck you and your pity party. Your “disease” is not a reason to duck responsibility for your choices. Nobody needs to walk in your shoes to understand you because it’s all your fault. This is just another contrived motivational message, but also one that’s misguided. Oh, it’s very nice to share and you’ll always have friends who click like, but that does not change the fact that you need to take personal responsibility for your choices. Furthermore, it’s not just you who gets what’s coming to you, it’s everybody else in your life, which brings me to my next point…
As a recovering addict, you don’t get to tell other people not to judge you. That’s not how it works. People do judge you, and so they should. You fucked up, and you broke their trust. Judgement is one consequence of that, and one of the many things that you need to face. Trust isn’t always lost forever, but you don’t get to decide when other people should stop judging you. Being clean is commendable, but an attitude of entitlement is bullshit. Trust, and by extension not being judged, is earned, and that takes time.
Thanks for reading.