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Understandably, there are a lot of things that ‘normies’ don’t understand about recovery and our programs. It makes sense that they don’t understand these things and usually the normies that do have been around the program for a loved one or family member. I’ve thought of 10 of the most common things that normies just don’t understand about recovery.

10 Things Normies Just Don’t Understand About Recovery…

1. Going on 12 step calls (what does that mean?)

This is something that they might not only not understand, but also don’t understand why we do it. We go on 12-step calls to help out a struggling alcoholic or addict and typically go with one or two other supports. It is an act of reaching out our hand to the sick and suffering.

2. The recovery lingo (one day at a time, keep coming back it works if you work it, etc.)

When we say things like keep it simple, one day at a time, easy does it, keep coming back it works if you work it and other expressions, normies don’t understand what these phrases mean. If you are out and hear someone say one of these phrases it is usually a dead giveaway to someone in recovery that they’re in the program, too.

3. Service commitments (I don’t understand, why do you have to do it?)

It can be hard to comprehend why we have to do service commitments to stay sober, most normies would say just don’t do it, and don’t understand why we do something we might not want to do or do it because we have to. The truth is, if we aren’t giving back what was so freely given to us, we probably won’t stay sober.

4. Sponsorship (why do you need a sponsor, can’t you sponsor yourself?)

We need a sponsor because it is someone to not only call us on our bulls*** but to be honest with us about our actions. My sponsor is someone who tells me the truth whether I want to hear it or not and I definitely can’t be that person for myself. You can’t be your own sponsor and you need a sponsor to hold you accountable.

5. Making amends (so to stay sober, you have to say sorry to everyone?)

No, we don’t have to say sorry to everybody! The point of amends is to clean up our side of the street and let go of our resentments and apologize for the harm we’ve caused in our addiction. A lot of people end up not making a formal amends and make a living amends; making amends is actually something for us and not the other person.

6. Having a Higher Power (so this thing is like religion?)

We need to find a higher power because it needs to be known we are not the most powerful being on this earth and there is something greater than us out there. You can make your higher power whatever you want; I choose to call mine God but other people just refer to theirs as HP. As long as you know you are not the most powerful person on the planet. And no, this is not a religious based program!

7. Never being able to drink or get high again (so you aren’t going to drink at your wedding?)

Being in recovery, we’ve come to terms with the fact that we are not going to drink or drug again, even on special occasions. Not even at our wedding or any other event. I’m at a point where I’ve completely let go of that idea because I know I can never drink normally or do those things like a normal person does.

8. Continuing to go to meetings and help others (I thought you’re done after you finish the steps?)

Once we finish our steps the work has just begun! It would seem to normies that once the steps are done, we’re cured and done! More work and action has happened since I went through my steps the first time than ever before.

9. How we’ll drop everything for someone in need in the program (why can’t it wait?)

When we get a phone call or someone comes to us in need that is in the program, a lot of normies don’t understand why we drop everything. My response to this is usually because someone dropped everything for me when I was in need.

10. How we put our recovery first, before EVERYTHING (wow, your recovery is more important than your family?)

If we don’t put our recovery first, everything we put before it we are going to lose. I’ve seen it happen to many different addicts and alcoholics. If you put your job, family, relationship or anything before your recovery, it will be the first thing you lose! Our recovery must come first and we must always focus on our sobriety first and everything else will fall into place.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.

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