What Is Sanity In Recovery

03 January 2017 Written by 

In 12 step parlance, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. When hearing the description, people often nod knowingly and roll their eyes as they count the number of times they have done that. But they just can't stop. It's kind of like addiction. But do we have a a choice.

Groundhog Day Shows How Repeating Negative Actions Become Automatic

In the movie “Groundhog Day Bill Murray’s weatherman character named Phil relives February 2nd over and over. He makes the same dysfunctional choices as he interacts with his co-workers, including the woman played by Andie McDowell whom he eventually woos and wins. He awakens each dawn at 6 am to Sonny and Cher serenading him with I Got You, Babe, groans, and rolls out of bed, miserable. His cantankerous interactions serve to distance him from people in his life, rather than bring them closer. 

Avoiding Exchanges Makes It Worse

In one scene, a former high school classmate approaches him to attempt to sell him insurance. Phil crosses the street to avoid him and steps in a puddle of icy water. As he adds on day after day of amnesia, he ends up shaking his pant leg and shoe, even as he shakes off the reality of his unconscious choices.

Waking Up Means You Can See A Different Possibility

As Phil slowly awakens, he comes to understand that he does indeed have the freedom to chose his behaviors. The fog lifts. His mind clears. His heart opens. He becomes a force for good in the world. He is living sanely.

In Recovery Sanity Is Making A Different Choice

A client in an outpatient rehab laughingly told his therapist his definition of insanity. “I know exactly what is going to happen and I do it anyway.” He was referring to his use of heroin. Each time he picked up the phone to call his dealer, he was certain that he would use and that the drug would use him. In treatment, he didn't know what would happen but he knew what wouldn't happen. He regained his sanity by remaining clean and staying in treatment. It was a start. 

Sane is as sane does.

Reach Out Recovery Exclusive by Edie Weinstein


Read 3083 times Last modified on Monday, 23 January 2017 18:55
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Edie Weinstien

Rev. Edie Weinstein, LSW  is an ‘opti-mystic who views life through the eyes of possibility. Her creative, career and spiritual paths have led her to become a writer, speaker, interfaith minister, reiki master, clown, greeting card text writer and social worker. She engages in life fully, inviting others to join her. As a guide, she holds a mirror up to those with whom she works, so that they may see their own beauty and discover their own answers.
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