I recently brought up a very important topic with inmates at the DWI facility. I asked them, “Who are you? What is your name?”
At first I received a bunch of quizzical looks. Then, some people thought I was looking for their birth names. Logical response, but not what I was looking for. Let me explain.
Who are You?
At some point in our lives, we all ask the question, “Who am I?” Many times we start asking ourselves that right from childhood. Even into adulthood, many of us do not have an answer to that question. We are complex individuals affected by so many things. We are a product of our DNA, our environment and our childhood. We are a product of our fears, life’s experiences and our misconceptions.
At times, we think we know who we are and why we act in certain ways; however, when we take a hard, honest look at ourselves, we realize that our motivations are different than what we thought.
So, I ask you, “Who are you?”
And, then, more specifically, “Do you have trouble with alcohol, drugs or other addictions?”
Some Questions to Ask Yourself
If you really want to discover who you are, then you have to be honest. Sometimes, it is hard to be honest, especially with ourselves. So, here are a few questions I encourage you to ask yourself.
- Are you unhappy with the way your life is going?
- Do you wake up with a hangover every morning?
- Is your wife or husband on your case all the time?
- Do your children avoid you or wish that you would leave?
- Do you wake up and regret what you did the night before?
- Have you lost your job due to your drinking/drugging?
- Do you have a number of DWIs and still think you can drive safely after spending 4 hours in a bar?
- Do you blackout?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, I encourage you to think about your answers. Do you feel this behavior is healthy? I can tell you from experience that it is not.
If you answered yes to the questions above, then you are not living the healthy, normal life you could be living. If you answered yes and think your situation is normal, then, I’m going to challenge you — are you lying to yourself and not being honest with yourself?
The question “Who am I?” is often followed with “Who do I want to be?” If you answered yes to the questions I asked, maybe it’s time to get help and get healthy.
For the Loved One Living with an Addict
At the DWI facility, I do not confront the inmates directly about their addictions. I leave that responsibility to the counselors and the AA people that they meet with. Instead, I try to get them to think about their behaviors. I ask them questions hoping that they will begin connecting their choices and their life circumstances with their drinking.
I never tell a person that they are in denial. The direct approach typically creates confrontation and puts the person on the defensive. I want to help the alcoholic admit for himself that he has a drinking problem. Instead, I ask questions such as “Who are you?” and “Does your way of living make sense?.” The hard part is waiting for the alcoholic to reach the desired conclusion.
In the meantime, you need to take care of yourself. And so, you need to ask yourself, “Who am I?” and enjoy your own personal journey.
For the Person Confronting His Drinking Habit
Most of us know that we have a problem with drugs and alcohol long before we put it down. We are just not willing to accept that we cannot control the situation. We have a hard time admitting that our lives are out of control and that we cannot change things without help. It’s hard to look at ourselves and admit that we do not know who we are and that we do not like who we have become. Remember, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (AA slogan).” When you have reached the point where you can say that life is not working and admit you have a problem, then you can begin the journey of discovering “who are you”. When the pain of living becomes greater than the pain of change, change can happen.”
Come see what it is all about. Life is meant to be lived. We grow by learning from each other. I invite your comments and stories so we can help each other on our journey to discover life beyond addiction. I also invite those of you who live on the east end of Long Island to join me at the Maureen’s Haven building located at 28 Lincoln Street Riverhead NY. Beginning July 9, 2015, I will be hosting an open discussion about God as our Higher Power each Thursday evening at 6:30 PM. The purpose of these discussions is not to convert anyone to an organized religion rather it is meant as a vehicle for developing a personal relationship with God.
AA’s concept of a loving, merciful God is derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Twelve Steps come indirectly from Romans 12.
I encourage you to visit http://www.robbell.com and view his videos and podcast (The RobCast).
– Deacon Austin