The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dented Cans

Buyer beware.

Did you know there is such a thing as Alcoholics Anonymous jokes? Here's one:

Question: How do you know that the two Alcoholics Anonymous members are on their second date?

Answer: Because they're driving a U-Haul.

To get that joke you have to understand something about alcoholism and drug abuse. When you are first getting clean, the most natural thing in the world is to want to romantically latch on to somebody who is also in recovery. If a relationship is based on mutual interests, then what could be a closer bond than two people working together to overcome addiction?

This is especially true because to stop getting high usually requires you to cut a lot of your social ties. The longterm goal of every addict is to someday interact in the world like a normal person, which means socializing with people who drink and take drugs without it being a problem. In the short term however, it is usually a good idea to steer clear of users, lest in the weakness of your early sobriety you be tempted beyond your strength to resist.

So as if it wasn't hard enough to give up your addictions, you often have to give up most of your social contacts as well, at least for a while. Therefore you find you're not only craving dope, but you're lonely as well. So an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting might seem like the ideal pick-up spot for the recovering stoner.

But it is strongly recommended that you don't do that. For one thing, overcoming addiction requires a lot of inward thinking in order to understand what is compelling you to get high in a self-destructive manner. A relationship however is usually other-directed. You are always thinking about them. What is my love doing? What are they thinking? Your mental focus becomes all about them, at a time when it is really more important for it to be all about you.

That is why newly sober stoners are advised to be celibate for a year. As I've said before I'm not really fond of that advice, and haven't really followed it, although I'm probably having less sex now than at anytime in my adult life. I'm sorta in a relationship, but we keep it casual. We're not like the people in the joke, rushing to U-Haul to get a van to move in together.

Only time will tell whether it is a mistake for me to be involved with another person in recovery. I do know that I need to stay at the half-way house. My fellow druggies and I have a cruel but true line we say about relationships in recovery; "Looking for love in AA is like shopping in the dented cans aisle."

Of course to laugh at that joke I have to forget that I too am a dented can.

I love the classic New England architecture of this church located directly across the street from where I "work" at the Amherst Survival Center.

I like the clever wordplay of the banner on the front.

This should be the theme song of the Amherst Survival Center.


Fred said...

Good one Tommy.
Like you I ignored the advice not to get involved for awhile in early sobriety. It did not harm us.
Like the sense of humour re church sign.

John said...

"Only time will tell whether it is a mistake for me to be involved with another person in recovery."

Yeah you are right, and I wish you the best of luck and may the angels be with you both.

Sometimes it is just nice to have someone to hold.