So, about this recovery thing…
When I first started this blog a year ago, I was nearing the completion of my Masters in Addiction Studies. I figured that a graduate degree, along with 24 years of long-term recovery qualified me to make some observations about recovery. Most of my observations were pretty critical: the cult like thinking in 12 step programs, the lack of ethical supervision in the rooms, the lack of accountability of any kind.
Sure, this is my blog and I pretty much write whatever I want to write. I have all sorts of opinions, and some of them may be so controversial that it actually drives traffic to this site. I am still critical of “traditional recovery.” I am still dubious about the safety of the rooms of Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous. I am extremely concerned about the potential damage that a sponsor can cause a sponsee, or even the sponsees family. I’ve seen a lot of things over the years, and a lot of them are just plain disgusting. Don’t even get me started about my experience with counselors in recovery…
But here’s the thing. It seems like every TV news program or network, every newspaper, every radio broadcast bombards us with “opinions.” Opinions, by their nature, do not have to be based upon facts. All one needs is some anecdotal evidence, one or two people to back up the story, and you can have a movement. How else can one explain Fox News?
Well, this week I began my PhD in Psychology. Sure, my experience, both positive and negative, counts just as much is anyone else’s. Absolutely, my opinion has something to add to the discussion, to the community, and the idea of recovery in general. There are relatively few of us who have a quarter-century clean. But after spending almost a solid year under the Trump administration, I have another opinion that trumps (ha, ha) my other opinions:
Opinions just aren’t enough anymore. I have about five essays that I could publish within less than an hour, once I get done proofreading editing them for content. However, I have made the editorial decision not to do that. Instead, I think I am going to make use of my criticisms, and actually research their validity. Have I simply experienced aberrations that are not common within the community? As far as I know, and I do mean “know” in the epistemological sense, my experiences are unique. Yes, I have participated in 12 step meetings in California, North Carolina, Virginia, Montana, and Ohio. And yes, I have seen things that disturbed me greatly. But the more I learn academically, the more I realize that I may be simply indulging myself in “confirmation bias.”
That is not to say that I’m going to pull my punches. Quite the opposite. But it does mean that when I do have something critical to write, I plan on having solid evidence to back up the statement. I don’t know, it just seems there is such a lack of actual critical thinking in our body politic and culture in general, that it might actually be refreshing to have someone pull back a bit and do some solid research. Or, at the very least, some deep thought.
In the meantime, Stoner/Doom remains an essential element in my personal recovery. So do movies, television shows, and other depictions of addiction and recovery that we can find in our popular culture. So, at least for this post, I intend to limit my discussion to exactly those things: depictions of addiction and recovery in the media. And lots of DOOM.
Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind anytime I darn well choose to…
One thought on “About that recovery…”
I agree that having an opinion is not enough. You always challenge me to back up my opinion by fact, (we know each other well), and by doing so I’ve actually changed a few to better informed opinions.