The Language of Addiction

I can’t reach you, brother.

Maybe you’re listening, but you’re not hearing me. When people say things in threes it’s never good. You keep telling me the six sick words I hate to hear:

“I know. I know. I know.”

My friends in recovery call that, “The mating call of the moron.” It’s a testament to how much one’s  mind is open to suggestions or wisdom.

You keep saying you should “probably come see” me. No surer words can indicate that someone will never sit in my office. Here’s the thing that you don’t get:

I turn away potential clients most every day. I’m just trying to be a friend. You know that I get you but you keep trying to hide behind words. Here’s what you don’t get – I’m multi-lingual. I’m fluent in bullshit, codependent, addict, survivor, depressive, anxiety, obsessive, and avoidant. I started translating at a young age.

There are a multitude of words and phrases you learn in unhealthy families:

  • “Maybe” means no
  • “Someday” means never
  • “We’ll see” means don’t count on it
  • “I love you but…” means love is conditional
  • “If you could just…” means you’re not enough

In the language of addiction there are phrases that set off giant red flags in my mind:

  • “I only…” “I just…” and “It’s not…” are minimizations which leads to
  • “I work hard…” “At least…” and “I need something to…”                              Which are justifications leading to
  • “As long as…” “I can still…” and “It hasn’t…” which are rationalizations

Other bullshit words: I’ll try, possibly, might, should, shouldn’t, I want to, I need to, I’d like to…

The words that count: I will. Please help me. Show me how. Accountability & responsibility

I’ve heard every variant of, “I work hard and play hard” there is. I’ve had countless folks explain that they’re “all or nothing people.” I don’t try to convince folks to see things my way. I’m just a straight shooter and if I see you drowning; I’ll try to throw you a life line.

I get why they have to train life guards how to handle it when the person you’re trying to help attacks you. In the throes of overwhelming stress and fear, people act against their own best interests. I’ve learned to wait until people are ready and at least somewhat willing. I’ve also learned that some people don’t live long enough to get there.

I know that you have dreams, even as your life is progressively becoming a nightmare.

It’s time to wake up. Let’s have coffee and face facts. You can do this. You’re gonna need a lot of help. I know the best around and they’re free:

http://www.namaine.org/meetings

https://aa-meetings.com/maine/Bangor.html

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.