|G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1985 TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
When I was a little kid, Saturday mornings were meant for one thing: cartoons. I remember waking up early and watching all the favorites; He-Man, The Smurfs, Thundercats, and G.I. Joe, the real American Hero. At the end of G.I. Joe, there was always an example of things kids usually did wrong. One of the Joes would be there to help ‘em out and explain that "knowing is half the battle." Now, I very rarely paid attention to this part, but somehow those words would stick with me.
When I was entering into treatment a little over 8 years ago, my understanding of recovery and sobriety was very limited. I knew that what I was doing was wrong and I needed to stop, but I had no idea why I was doing the things I was, or, what it would take to stop. Sure, I knew I liked to get drunk, or stoned, but why had it gotten to this point? Surely, there was more to it. After I had finally accepted the fact that I needed the help and was truly willing to put in the work, my counselor started giving me packets to read. I didn't necessarily want to study these, but he assured me it would help. As I started to read them, then understand them, I slowly started to see the connections. I learned things like all the ways I had become dependent... not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically as well. I discovered how my thinking patterns had changed, how feelings like anger, guilt, shame, and fear had begun to rule my world. I recognized how, despite all my best efforts, I could not do anything about these problems alone. I felt as though I was beginning to know my disease... and like the Joes said, "knowing is half the battle." Armed with this knowledge, I was able to put together a plan to battle my disease, to confront it head on. I developed a sense of worth that was vital to my recovery. I now knew what my disease had done to me, and what I had to do differently to combat it. Day by day, the fight wore on, as it still does, and will for the rest of my life. However, strengthened with the understanding of what it takes to win, it seems like at least now it’s a fair fight.
In my experience, it's never okay or time to quit learning. As we enter new phases and areas of life, we are faced with new challenges and difficulties to overcome. The more we come to know about these challenges, the better equipped we will be to face them and persevere.
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- - Written by Brock Self, head of the Utilization Review Department