There is a Zulu term known as ubuntu which has several translations including human kindness, as well as a bond that connects humanity. This is so, regardless of gender, spiritual or political beliefs, skin color, or nation of origin. Separation is at the root of addiction, as addicts often feel distant from family, friends, God and themselves.
1. Sharing Ourselves Helps Us To Heal
At Nelson Mandela’s 2013 memorial service, President Barack Obama spoke about this concept, saying, “There is a word in South Africa, ubuntu, a word that captures Mandela’s greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.”
2. Substance Use Is Not Real Friendship
Susan told her therapist that when she spends time with friends smoking marijuana together, her loneliness dissipates like the wafting plumes into the air. They laugh and cry, sharing feelings that they otherwise keep repressed for fear of being misunderstood and rejected. The question that begs to be asked, “Is it the drug or the communion with kindred spirits that fills the need?”
3. Stress Management Doesn’t Have To Happen At A Pub
Mark and his co-workers meet at a local pub each Friday night after a long work week to commiserate about the boss, the hours and the intense pressures on the job as they hoist more than a few pints. What would happen if, instead, they spent sober time, looking at ways to change the environment in which they are employed or find means to manage to the stress?
4. We Are All In This Together
An anthropologist in Africa once showed a basket of fruit to a group of children and told them that whoever got to it first would enjoy the bounty. Instead of rushing to the basket individually, the children joined hands and claimed the basket together, sharing the prize. When asked why they took that approach, they explained that one of them couldn’t be happy if the others were sad and explained how the concept of “I am because we are,” motivated their actions.
5. Recovery Works That Way Too
The beauty of recovery based programs such as AA, NA, CODA, Refuge Recovery, In The Rooms and SMART Recovery is that they have a similar thread running through them. They recognize an inherent need that people have to feel a part of, rather than apart from other beings. In such settings, people lift each other up and out of the depths of despair and help heal the wounds inflicted by addiction. Even if pain is a common denominator, it points to a way through and that is together.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Edie Weinstein