In my chapter about substance abuse in Beyond Blue, I wrote:
Today I realize the recovery cultures of addiction and mental illness clash. Like the Church of Scientology and neurobiology. Like Tom Cruise and common sense. Because complaining is considered whining to most twelve-steppers — “poor me, poor me, pour me a drink” — but as a smart disclosure of symptoms to mental-health professionals. Because many recovering alcoholics and drug addicts are not educated about mental illness, a lot of bad advice is doled out at meetings and/or social hours. With the best of intentions, of course. But dangerous all the same.
I was intimidated by the AA old-timers and afraid to think any differently from them, fearing that if I listened to my gut, I would become one of those people who were “too smart” for the program and relapsed continuously. Who was I to question the direction and counsel given by the guys who had been sober over a quarter of a century? They want to die, too. They just don’t talk about it, I surmised. And neither will I.
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