I’ve just finished reading (in one day, in one sitting, because I loved it so much) Radical Recovery by Jack Kelly. *Highly, highly recommend.

I couldn’t put it down.

On page 29, I came across this passage below, and it struck me so deeply to my core that I had to share. To me, it is the most poignant part of the entire book, and exactly what I needed to read today. I’m not certain if Jack wrote it, or if it’s borrowed from somewhere else, so I can’t properly attribute it’s source (if you know who wrote it, if it wasn’t Jack, I’d love to know – and if it’s something or someone obvious I ‘should’ know, forgive me – I’m still new here).

It spoke to me like a much needed smack in the face. Please, do yourself the service and read “Circle of Friends” below.

All of it.

Just being in these early stages of working the “Steps” – I need to place it here for myself to refer to again and again, as well as on the off chance that maybe someday, it may smack someone else in the face, too.

This applies to everyone. Every addict, every one with a broken heart, every scared child inside a grown body. Every. Body.

Time to get real…

A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS

I don’t care how much money you make, or what kind of car you drive.
I want to know how many times you’ve gone to bed at night and prayed that you wouldn’t wake up in the morning.
I want to know if your well of compassion is deep enough to forgive yourself and others, for being human.
I want to know if you have the courage to stand in a circle of friends who have transformed the comfortable and familiar slavery of addiction into a burning desire for honesty, integrity, peace, humility, and freedom.

I don’t care about the highs you got from shooting heroin, popping pills, snorting cocaine, or drinking alcohol.
I want to know about the lows you felt the morning after, when you looked in the mirror and remembered what you said or did the night before; the panic you felt if you ever woke up not knowing where you were, how you got there, or the person sleeping next to you.
I want to know if you’ve learned the lesson that there is no future in addiction, just a regrettable past that keeps repeating itself over and over again; that when you numb your ability to feel pain, you also numb your ability to feel joy.
I want to know if you understand that there isn’t enough Scotch in Scotland, Cocaine in Columbia, or Opium in Afghanistan to fill the hole inside you; that inner peace comes from taming, not feeding, your cravings, compulsions and obsessions.

I don’t care if you’re a Leo, Aquarius, or Libra.
I want to know if you’re willing to embrace and comfort the shell-shocked child inside you, the child who lost it’s innocence when a sacred trust was violated.
I want to know if you are willing to reclaim the courage of that two-year-old who learned how to walk without using a crutch; who after falling down, got right back up again.
I want to know if you can still access the laughter and spontaneity of that kid, who, without being self-conscious, or worrying what others would think, would race along ocean shores and play tag with waves as they crashed along the beach.

I don’t care if you’re afraid of being hurt. Who isn’t?
I want to know how you conned yourself into believing that emotional and spiritual starvation is less painful than the risk of loving, or being loved.
I want to know if you are willing to grow beyond that false sense of security you feel when you numb your feelings, and isolate yourself behind the walls of your safe and solitary prison.

I don’t care if you’re infected with the disease to please and be accepted by everyone you meet.
I want to know if you can please and accept yourself, let go of the lie that you’re not worthy of unconditional love; stop being seduced, battered, and betrayed by a counterfeit lover who unleashes tidal waves of insatiable cravings which kill trust, abort hope, shatter dreams, and transform a few minutes of heavenly bliss into weeks, months, or years of a hellish nightmare.

I don’t care if you never received the love you needed.
I want to know if you’re willing to stop playing the role of victim and give yourself the love you never got; if you understand that behind each mask of manicured manners and proper pretense is a person – just like you: someone with a story, someone whose heart has been broken, someone whose smiling eyes camouflage a lake of unshed tears, someone who has sought out imaginary lovers to comfort them with illusions of intimacy and satisfy unspoken passions and desires, someone who carries the weight of guilt, shame, regret, and sorrow.
I want to know if you can stop whipping yourself for failing to measure up to illusions of perfection.

I don’t care how many notches you have on your detox belt.
I want to know if you understand that you are not your disease, but simply a person with a disease, that you are not powerless over your disease, that you are power-full; that the same Power which transforms an ugly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, can transform your cravings for pills, alcohol, or drugs into a craving for courage, to do what it takes, to become an addiction survivor.
I want to know if you are willing to awaken and nurture the Sleeping Giant deep inside you by sitting still for twenty minutes a day, until you truly love the person you become in that time of sacred solitude.

I don’t care about the terror you feel when you have to face a day without the possibility of being numb.
I want to know if you’re ready to reach out, take my hand, and not look back; if you can believe that, just as there isn’t enough darkness in all the galaxies of the universe to put out the light of one small candle, there isn’t enough darkness in all the galaxies of your guilt and shame to put out the light of hope you’ll find in a circle of friends standing in the light of freedom.


Borrowed from “Radical Recovery” by Jack Kelly.

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22 comments

  1. I’ve not read that, I do however live a life of being responsible, and accountable, a person of integrity, however failingly, in a partnership with an infinite source of courage and strength when my own is insufficient. I’ll add to my list to read for sure. Thank you, Shawn

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Being fresh to all of this, it just made great sense to me (while still going through the Big Book, obviously). You may find it overly simplified given your experiences, but for me it came at just right time (as I’m finding many things are right now…)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is beautiful and very helpful. I remember thinking once, when I was drinking, “There isn’t enough liquor in the world to kill my pain.” Drinking helped at first, that is the charm of it. But the more you drink, the less it comforts you until the drinking becomes just as horrible as the pain.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Powerful stuff. Thanks for sharing this. I love reading and reinforcing how we have to be totally uncomfortable in order to recover. And in order to help others through it. Our comfort zone is like a death trap! Slowly sucking the oxygen away.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The way this is written is similar to a poem called The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. It’s beautiful as well but totally different. This was incredibly powerful. Thank you so much for sharing. Hugs.

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