I was a social worker for 25 years, and before that I was a college student in my 30s. In both cases, of course I knew more than anyone else around me. I learned all about "burnout", for instance, so I was absolutely sure it would never happen to me because I was much too smart to fall for that! All those symptoms were so obvious... in everyone else.
In the course of my career I met a lot of wonderful people doing really dumb things. I was compassionate, thoughtful, helpful. And I was superior in every way because I did not do those really dumb things. If dumb things happened all around me, well that was hardly my fault was it? And if really dumb bad things kept happening in my life, it certainly couldn't be anything I was doing because I was too smart to fall for that!
I had a great deal of knowledge, but I had done none of my own work. KNOWING IS NOT DOING. I may have known all about burnout, but I had never recognized it in my own life and therefore never taken care of it. Learning self-care is a lot of work. And I may have known a lot about smoking and the risks and the health issues, etc. etc., but I had never really looked at my own life and the effect smoking was having on it. I didn't want to. I was more scared of that looking and seeing than I was of actually quitting. It was a lifetime of denial coming to an end.
Every addict has a moment of truth. That moment of OH YEAH when we realize we are no different from any other addict facing themselves for the first time. We here at EX have great tools for helping us through the withdrawal and preventing relapse, and we absolutely need those and need to use those every single day. But I believe it's so much more than coping. There's knowing and coping, and then there's doing. And I think that the really exciting part of all of this is that in doing the work of recovery we create new lives for ourselves.