Addiction Recovery and Employment


Getting back to a job, well there comes a time when it’s very necessary to do that. There’s an AA speaker called I Clancy. In America the fellowship meetings were rather different from ones here. Here, you may have a speaker but you don’t know who he is. He is just John or whatever, John the alcoholic. He tells his stories and so on.

But in the states they sometimes have massive meetings two or three hundred people there and there’s a named speaker who gives his experience. Some of those are so enlightening and so entertaining and inspiring that they televise them. And there’s one of their speaker called I Clancy. Anyway Clancy is telephoned in the middle of the night by his sponsee once called a pigeon, a new comer into AA; who says, “Hello, sponsor. I’ve let you down and I’ve let AA down.” And Clancy says. “Get a job!” “But sponsor, I feel terrible.” “Then get a terrible job.” I loved that.

What Clancy is saying is, “Get up off that pity pot.” Have you seen the pity pot? You can see the ring. You see? I’ve been sitting too long on the pity pot. It’s [0:01:34.4 unclear] ring on my backend. I won’t see that. The one thing addicts are absolutely brilliant at is self-pity and blame. We can do that forever. We love self-pity. We love blame. And what Clancy says is, “Get a job. Get into the real world.”

There’s one thing here that I really dislike, which is sad isn’t it? Where is my place? But I really dislike it. It’s when patients come to me and say, “Would you write me a certificate for benefit?” I don’t like doing it because it’s the opposite of what I believe recovery should be. “Go and wash the dishes.” “Go and sweep the floors.” “Go reach out and help somebody else. Take your mind of yourself.”

Now that’s my basic position but I do modify it because some people really do need extended care.  Some people with diabetes need tablets, other people need insulin. Just because it’s the same disease doesn’t mean to say it needs the same treatment. There’s some old people who can get away just with a bit of dietary change or maybe nothing at all. They’re not going to die from their diabetes; they’re going to die with it. It’s not what’s going to kill them.

So it varies from one person to another, how one treats. Some people have got so much addiction that they really do need time and those people need certificates. Those people actually need to be out of work for a time and I think it’s quite right that the state should support those people. But the chap comes to me and says, “I want to go on to social.” Why? Doesn’t he want to live? Doesn’t he want to actually do something creative with the one life he knows he’s got? Did you really want to be part of the dependency culture? And we have got a dependency culture now. It’s not good.

We need to be an example to society. God knows we’ve been a bad example for long enough. Can we nowadays say, “I want to put something back. I’ve taken plenty, but it’s time I did something for other people.” I don’t want to be the person I was. I’ve never been out of work. I’ve always been a GP. I’ve looked out for my patients reasonably well. But I don’t want to be the person I was. I don’t want to have the attitudes and the behaviour that I had. But I want to use all my experience to help other people who have the same illness as I do.

I don’t want to go down that route again, but I want to channel it constructively. I’m what you’re sitting in, the Promis recovery centre is my hope of changing the way I was and getting a job that actually helps other families like mine to come to terms with addiction. Understand it and move on. That’s what it’s all about. No more self-pity. No more blame. My name is Robert and I’m an addict and I’m doing something about it. Thank you.