Addicts or alcoholics determined not to go to a meeting usually have no problem coming up with excuses to stay away. “It’s too far.” “It’s not held at the right time.” Or maybe, “The room just doesn’t smell right.” (We can be very creative!)
Perhaps the most common excuse, however, has to do with the people: “They’re just not like me, and I don’t belong there.”
Whether too rich or too poor, too friendly or too cold, you could probably come up with several dozen reasons for why a meeting just isn’t a fit. Armed with that excuse, you could stay away, and probably even feel justified in going out.
In the rooms, we call that mindset terminal uniqueness: the potentially deadly belief that there is nobody in the program who is quite like you. Nobody who can really understand what you’ve been through. Nobody who can possibly know how to help your specific issues.
And the reality is, that is probably true! Despite all the many millions of members of Twelve Step fellowships across the globe, there is probably not one other person who was born on the same day as you, grew up the same way, started drinking or using on the same day and took all of the same substances in the same quantity. It’s just not possible.
There are, however, countless people who have lived at least part of your story. And the reason that we go to meetings is to find them. To pick up a little bit of connection, recognition, or support like a puzzle piece, so you can slowly build the picture of your life in recovery.
The key is to listen, and to look for the similarities instead of just the differences. Over time you will hear what you need to hear, and you will find your people.
Best of all, you’ll be able to give back to others as well, realizing that your uniqueness is not something that prevents others from helping you – but in fact, it just might be what allows you to help someone else.
At Clean Path, our trained and experienced staff works hard to help you realize that you’re not alone. Call us today to talk to someone who cares.