“They can be analyzed, counseled, reasoned with, prayed over, threatened, beaten, or locked up, but they will not stop until they want to stop.”
Basic Text, p. 65
Perhaps one of the most difficult truths we must face in our recovery is that we are as powerless over another’s addiction as we are over our own. We may think that because we’ve had a spiritual awakening in our own lives we should be able to persuade another addict to find recovery. But there are limits to what we can do to help another addict.
We cannot force them to stop using. We cannot give them the results of the steps or grow for them. We cannot take away their loneliness or their pain. There is nothing we can say to convince a scared addict to surrender the familiar misery of addiction for the frightening uncertainty of recovery. We cannot jump inside other peoples’ skins, shift their goals, or decide for them what is best for them.
However, if we refuse to try to exert this power over another’s addiction, we may help them. They may grow if we allow them to face reality, painful though it may be. They may become more productive, by their own definition, as long as we don’t try and do it for them. They can become the authority on their own lives, provided we are only authorities on our own. If we can accept all this, we can become what we were meant to be—carriers of the message, not the addict.
Just for today: I will accept that I am powerless not only over my own addiction but also over everyone else’s. I will carry the message, not the addict.