We belong to a variety of communities: our families; our group of friends; our co-workers and more other communities than need to be mentioned. Our lives intersect with the lives of others in various ways. Sometimes, that intersection makes a big difference in our lives, but sometimes our lives intersect with the lives of others only minimally or sporadically. When the Beatles sang: “I am a rock. I am an island.” they knew it wasn’t really true. Even a hermit living in a cave out in the desert impacts the lives of others to some degree, however minimally.
The abuse of addictive substances is never something that happens in complete isolation. You may be alone when you actually use, but the fact that you are using makes a difference in the lives of your family and friends. As much as it is true that your using impacted the lives of others, it is also true that your recovery will make a difference in the lives of others. Recovery is not something that you do alone. Your recovery will have an effect on your relationship with other people in your life. Equally, other people will have an effect on your recovery.
There is a story about a monk who was known to be quick to anger. Year after year, he would reflect and promise the other monks that he was going to change, but he never did, or at least not for long. One year, God touched his heart and he really did make a change in his behavior. The other monks, unfortunately, had heard it all before and didn’t believe he was really going to change. They continued to treat him like a bomb that was ready to blow up. Finally, he realized that they would never believe he had changed, so he went back to his old behavior. In effect, the other monks refused to let him change.
There may be people in your life who will never believe you have changed and are in recovery. That doesn’t mean you can’t change. Find those people who are willing to give you the chance to prove you are truly in recovery. They are the ones who will support and encourage you through the long journey towards sobriety. You can’t do it alone. You need people who will give you the opportunity to show that you are changing. As for the ones who don’t believe in your recovery, they’ll come around eventually or they won’t