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[ Opinion ] [ Personal Narratives ]

The Recovery Manifesto

The definition of manifesto according to Merriam-Webster is: a written statement that describes the policies, goals and opinions of a person or group.

We usually hear about a manifesto following some sort of tragedy when the psycho who committed said tragedy releases it to the media. Then there is the famous Communist Manifesto which, according to who you talk to, could be seen in a positive or negative light. Other manifestos include Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream speech” and The US Declaration of Independence and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I’ve decided to come up with my own manifesto:

The Recovery Manifesto

I believe that addiction is a disease. As stated by many physicians, most notably Dr. William Silkworth (Alcoholics Anonymous, 1939), addiction (Silkworth was talking about alcoholism but I am including all mind-altering substances) is disease of the mind and body. The physical aspect is much like an allergy whereby an addict has an abnormal reaction to the substance he is taking. For example: An alcoholic will take a drink which will set off an abnormal reaction whereby he cannot stop drinking until he runs out of booze, passes out, etc. If that were the only part of the disease then the addict could just stop whatever he was taking. However, there is a mental aspect of addiction whereby the addict does not believe that he has a problem with the substance and that it is the solution to the difficulties he is facing in life. As a result of this insane thinking the addict continues to take substances despite the evidence that is causing more harm than good.

There is no cure for addiction but there are certain methods whereby an addict can put her addiction into remission. Although there are many actions an addict can do to help addiction into remission the most successful one and primary tool should be a 12 Step Program. I.E. – the 12 Steps as laid out in the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous (1939). Once the addict has taken the Steps and incorporated them into her life she can then make use of other tools of recovery to enhance her new way of living. Some of these tools include proper nutrition; exercise; mindfulness (staying in the now) and alternative self-care methods such as hypnosis and acupuncture.

Whereas I acknowledge that the 12 Step Program is the primary tool for putting one’s addiction into remission I in no way believe that it is the answer to all of life’s problems. If an addict suffers from an other disease (such as mental disorders) then the 12 Step Program, while being beneficial, will not be the primary treatment of the disease. Doctors are knowledgeable of the treatment of diseases while another fellow addict who is recovered is only knowledgeable when it comes to his own story and can therefore only expound on that. A fellow recovered person is only there to share his experience, strength and hope not to give advice based on opinion.

A person in recovery has the right to be happy, joyous and free. While this write is essential it cannot be used to trample upon another person’s efforts to be happy, joyous and free (as long as that person is also practicing the principles of recovery – honesty, openness and willingness).

As a recovered person I am responsible for my actions (both while in recovery and during active addiction) and must accept the consequences of said actions. It is hoped that those actions will be positive ones and as a result the consequences’ of those actions will be positive as well.

While respecting the spiritual foundation of anonymity I recognize the need to educate the public on the disease of addiction with the hopes that such education will destigmatize addicts and promote better treatment for addicts as sick people rather than criminals. The spiritual foundation of recovery includes, but is not limited to, not revealing which 12 Step fellowship I belong to and the names of other fellowship members. I am fully within my rights to reveal my own identity in hopes of educating non-addicts but not within my rights in revealing other addicts’ names who have not reached this stage of development within their own recovery. Addiction is a major societal and health care issue and I will do my best lobby those in power to treat it as such.

It is hoped that by sticking to this manifesto more people will be able to find recovery and live their life to its full potential.