We do recover…

To accompany yesterday’s blog post, I posted a Facebook status asking how many of my friends have clean time too. It’s a public status so you can go ahead and see for yourself… The idea was to get something positive to follow up the post with. I have around 3000 Facebook friends, which is enough for a good random sample size when asking this kind of question. And apart from a small handful of friends I made in 2010 in rehab, all of them are friends I made more organically, just by friending other atheists and people with common interests. (Mostly atheists.) You also won’t see all the responses there though… because one man was banned and sent me a direct message, and another chose not to reveal his substance of choice in public but did in Messenger. And obviously, what was stated to me in confidence remains in confidence.

I’m not going to count the comments (feel free), but will rather post details from some of them. Among the commenters were people who are…

  • 554 days clean. (Substance not disclosed.) Kudos to her, and wow that she’s still counting in days! I stopped counting in days at 31 because I’m lazy – then counted in months from 2 to 23, and counted in years from 2.
  • 18 years clean. (Again, not disclosed.)
  • 19 years clean. (Disclosed privately.)
  • 12 years. (Meth.) A.J. Dunzan – proud of his recovery and doesn’t mind if I use his name.
  • 31 years. (Alcohol.)
  • 7 years. (Alcohol.)
  • 25 years. (Substance not disclosed.)
  • 1 year. (Alcohol.)
  • 6 years. (Meth.)
  • 2 years. (Heroin and methadone.)
  • 7 years. (Crack.)
  • 25 years. (Substance not disclosed.)
  • 7 years. (Alcohol. Now uses cannabis medicinally and has a drink occasionally.)
  • 9 years. (Alcohol.) Direct message because he’s banned so this one isn’t a response to the post.

OK, so I did count. 14 people, but that’s out of a sample of 3000 who were added over ten years, because they are atheists. I specifically asked for atheists, and all but one of these, who is 25 years clean and takes part in a secular 12 step program, all are clean without a program or god belief.

I find this encouraging, especially since these were people added randomly, and some just happened to be people who struggled with addiction. There is a more or less equal distribution of men and women, and a wide variety of amount of time clean, ranging from 18 months to 31 years, with two of them 25 years clean. In fact, if I take the mean  (rounding the 18 month one up to 2 years because I don’t know the number of months for any of the others anyway), that’s 12 years… making my own clean time (of 7 years) below the average in my friends’ list.

The calculation I used is:

  • If I don’t include myself: 171/14 = 12.2
  • If I include myself: 178/15 = 11.8

Either way, the mean is close to 12 years.

So don’t let anyone tell you that recovery is impossible, or that “once an addict, always an addict” bullshit. Out of this random sample of people, 15 including myself have managed to quit drugs or alcohol.

Edit: Worth mentioning is that none of the people who friended me in rehab in 2010 responded to the status. They generally don’t. There’s also someone I worked with years ago who is 17 years clean (meth), but he didn’t respond so I’m not including him. So this is truly a sample of people who were added for reasons other than recovery. Also, I omitted two comments from my list: One by someone who is not clean (There’s always one?) and one made by a man who forgot to say how long he’s been clean, so I can’t use his comment.

2 thoughts on “We do recover…

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