Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by guest author Cassidy Webb. In her struggle to overcome addiction, Cassidy’s desire for sobriety and peace of mind was augmented by seeing the contentment of those who had previously successfully navigated the path on which she found herself. This article shows many truths of mimetic theory, the fact that we are interdividuals who learn and grow, for better and for worse, in relationship with one another. It illustrates the mediation of desire through others, the resentment of negative mimesis when we do not yet have for ourselves what we see and desire in others, and ultimately the peace that comes from knowing ourselves to be loved. Because we receive our desires as relational beings from the mediation of others, our ultimate desire is for love, acceptance, and connection. Cassidy ultimately finds this love in God, who made us in and for relationship with God’s self and with each other.
As an addict in recovery, when I am left to my own devices I cause chaos and destruction. I wasn’t able to get sober on my own, and I certainly am not able to stay sober on my own. A key aspect of my sobriety has always been to surround myself with people whom I admire – people who have peace and happiness in life without the use of mood-or-mind-altering substances.
I had tried time and time again to simply put the drugs down and stay stopped, but I always gave into the intense craving for more. I had begun going to recovery meetings for a while and the people there were carrying multiple years of sobriety. They seemed so happy and free, like they didn’t have a care or worry in the world. I wanted that more than anything but trying to fathom staying sober for consecutive days was pure blasphemy to me. In order for me to get the kind of life these people had, I had to accept the help that they offered me.
I was so desperate to get sober, so I was willing to do whatever they told me to do. They told me to go to treatment so I could get professional help and be in a safe place while the drugs left my system. In treatment, I was diagnosed with depression and started participating in dual diagnosis therapy. I was properly medicated to treat my depression and learned the importance of expressing my thoughts and emotions with others in order to gain their insight and support. My therapist emphasized the importance of gaining a support group with which I could rely on and learn from so that I may maintain long term sobriety and get the life I wanted.
Upon my discharge from treatment, I was approached by a woman who had several years of sobriety, and she invited me to go out to dinner with her and her friends after a meeting. While in the car ride to the meeting, she stressed the importance of fellowship to me. She expressed the idea that people in recovery are uniquely qualified to help each other stay sober through support and sponsorship due to our common experiences and goals. I definitely related to the experiences of others in recovery, and more than anything my goal was to achieve the type of life they had in sobriety – so I went.
Once again I was surrounded by smiling faces, deep belly laughs, and a type of camaraderie that I had never experienced before. These were people that normally would not mix – they were from various backgrounds, different age groups, some had kids and a big, beautiful home, some were convicted felons just trying to get back on track. Regardless of their differences, these people had two things in common: they all had problems with drugs or alcohol and they were all working towards a life of happiness in recovery. I wanted all of this.
This happiness didn’t come easy for me. After months of spending my time with these people, I was still miserable. I became jealous and resentful at the fact that these people had something that I wanted but didn’t have yet. I became convinced that I was different than these people. I was annoyed with their positive attitudes, I was annoyed with their advice, and I was annoyed at the fact that finding this peace and happiness was so far out of reach.
The same woman who first introduced me to her support group realized that I began to isolate myself from the group. She told me something that I will never forget.
“You must have faith that if this program of recovery worked for us, it will work for you too. There is some girl out there who feels the same way you do, and your story is the only story she will hear. Your voice is the only voice she will listen to. You are going to help somebody someday. All you need to do is trust in God.”
The God thing definitely turned me off at first, but the fact that I believed that she helped me so that I could turn around and help somebody else was an idea that I could reconcile. I began to pray to a God that I didn’t understand. I began to take suggestions regarding prayer and meditation from the people in my support group. Perhaps the most important aspect of my recovery that I acquired through the experience of others is that of a belief in God. If I was truly powerless over drugs, this meant that my free will alone will always prove insufficient in keeping me sober. It was absolutely necessary that I develop a relationship with a power greater than myself and allow Him to remove this obsession from me.
Had I remained resentful towards others in recovery, I would never have discovered that my purpose in life is to help others. Even more so, I probably wouldn’t still be sober today. Holding onto this resentment would have driven me away from people in recovery and blocked me from building a relationship with God.
The God I pray to today is forgiving and loving at all times. My God protected me throughout my addiction and my recovery so that I could carry a message of hope and help someone else. Today I believe that God is watching over me and blessing me with the gift of sobriety. My sobriety isn’t up to me or my support group or anyone else for that matter – my sobriety is in the hands of God.
Each day I ask God to keep me sober so that I may help someone else. No longer being bound to the chains of addiction, I am able to share my experiences with others so that they may want what I have today.
Image: Stock Photo from 123rf.com
Cassidy Webb is a 24-year-old avid writer from South Florida. She advocates spreading awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.