The Best People in the World

My heart is full to bursting. I got to spend this afternoon surrounded by people I never intended to know, doing something I never imagined I’d do.

It’s no surprise to me. It’s part of my recovery. I get to discover, develop, and become increasingly better versions of myself as I go.

Today I married two people with long term recovery, in a recovery center, surrounded by their chosen family who are overwhelmingly people in recovery. There are no better people in the world.

Recovery is a lifestyle and we are the best kind of family: Chosen. Claimed. Loved Unconditionally and Fully.

For the uninitiated, here’s what Recovery is:. You come in broken. You learn to let go of  pain, shame, and self destruction. You open your heart and these things get replaced with love, joy, and a newfound freedom. You will come to have a life, “second to none.”

I’ve seen way too many miracles and powerful expressions of love not to be a believer.

Misfits, all of us.

I don’t happen to be an alcoholic or drug addict (caffeine and nicotine not withstanding). The expression, “There but for the grace of God go I” readily applies here. I am blessed with a body that, for all of it’s faults, rejected alcohol violently from the first swallow. I tried very hard in my adolescence to binge drink and to smoke my body weight in hash and really bad home grown marijuana.

I always loved the idea of getting high. The reality of it was I just felt all the more alone.

For all the fucked up possibilities of what my life could have become, I met my wife one month before becoming an adult. I became a dad at 21 and again at 22. These three people prevented what would assuredly have been self destruction in one form or another.

I  would like very much to be an honorary member of both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. I have never been more welcomed, more readily embraced, or more completely accepted for who and how I am than amongst their members. These are my brothers and sisters.

I’ve been half joking for years now that I’m going to start “Fucked Up Peoples Anonymous.” (FUPA) I want what my peeps in NA and AA have: an international organization of millions who care deeply about one another and act to promote the healing and growth of lost souls seeking to overcome and become something greater.

I hate reinventing the wheel. FUPA could just borrow liberally from 12 step literature (guides for spiritual transformation and a manageable life). We’d just replace words like “addict” and “alcoholic” with terms like: Person in Recovery from: mental illness, trauma,  a lousy childhood, eating disorders, emotional/physical/sexual abuse, neglect, cutting/burning/self mutilation, or other conditions known to fuck people up.

When I think about FUPA, I realize that nearly everyone qualifies for membership. The challenge of identifying one another in public would be tricky. My friends in AA ask, “Are you a friend of Bill W’s?” (Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA).

Maybe I’ll just walk around smiling and asking, “Hi! Are you fucked up like me?”

 

 

 

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.