Scott was very frank in his presentation, speaking without censorship in a way that contrasted with the ‘fairytale’ reality of recovery presented by The Anonymous People. His story recounted how the system of recovery networks failed him from the day he fell into his addiction. Scott described his addiction beginning with his father’s, conceding that while he was accepted to prestigious colleges, Scott didn’t develop the social skills necessary for making human connections with others in the unchaperoned university environment. These were the conditions under which Scott began drinking. Only after becoming homeless and contemplating suicide did Scott find motivation to check into a rehabilitation center, and even then only because he thought of how his suicide would hurt his mother. Scott’s recovery was influenced by the A.A. program, although he acknowledges that it is not the path for every person looking to recover from addition.

An interesting takeaway I gleaned from Scott was the importance of not comparing the status of one’s recovery with that of others. Scott described the jealousy he felt when a close friend of his seemed to be doing fabulously well in his recovery as Scott himself was struggling to make ends meet while maintaining his sobriety. Scott’s friend was buying cars and a million dollar house, and Scott felt his recovery to be inferior, comparing their progress solely based on the external show of wealth his friend was projecting. Later, the same friend was found dead in a motel.  The take-away? Everyone suffers, and they do so in different ways. Some suffer loudly for all to hear, others in solitary spaces. To compare progress in recovery with others at different places in their journey, those bringing different histories and life experiences with them, is ultimately damaging to the community of people in long term recovery.

Maggie A.