I’ve mentioned before that I am not a grateful recovering addict. Did I mention that I despised, back when I attended meetings, when somebody introduced themselves like, “Hi, I’m Jackass and I’m a Grateful Recovering Addict!”?
They remind me of my Sunday school teacher from back when I was eight years old. She was like, “As Christians you must be humble, like me. Look at me – I’m so humble. I got bags of humility. Humility even comes out of my ass!” OK, she didn’t say that, but that’s what came across. Luckily I knew what humility is; otherwise I might have confused it with arrogance.
You might retort that she didn’t mean that she was humble, but that we must be humble like Jesus… So when was he humble? Was he humble when he went into a church and told the preachers how to do their jobs? Was he humble when he told twelve men to abandon their wives, children and parents, to follow him? Was he humble when he made the outrageous, unfalsifiable and arrogant claim, “My kingdom is not of this world”? No! Assuming he existed at all, that guy wasn’t humble.
Gratitude in recovery is just like humility in Christianity. It’s something we’re told we need to have, by others who claim boastfully to have it. I’m not saying there aren’t genuine recovering and former addicts who are grateful. If I watch an interview with Dave Gahan… the guy is grateful, and humble. He’s smart, wise, and oozes gratitude despite his success. But he doesn’t shove that gratitude down your throat and tell you that you’re no good because you aren’t grateful and humble too.
When someone boasts about their gratitude, as they do in meetings, I can’t say whether or not they are grateful. And I don’t care if they are, because it isn’t about gratitude. It’s about them, about them being boastful. “I’m so grateful. More so than you. I’m so grateful. How about you?”
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of pride, some arrogance, and even a healthy dose of narcissism. We all need to love and believe in ourselves. Just don’t pretend it’s something else, because that’s fucking annoying. And when you tell someone else they need to be grateful, just like you, you’re not doing them any good.
Some of us aren’t grateful, and that’s OK. I decided to clean up from drugs. I used whatever resources were at hand to achieve my goal. I am not grateful to those resources for doing what they needed to do. They served their purpose, and that shit is over and done with. No need for gratitude.