We chatted for a while, but most of his conversation was about work. He needed to get back to his job. All he needed was a desk. A telephone. A fax machine. He was well-regarded in his industry and connected with a lot of people who were willing to work with him because of his experience.
I listened to this for a while but finally interrupted him with a question.
“You’ve never had a problem finding work or making money, have you,” I asked him.
He agreed. He’s always been able to work and make a living.
“So work and money aren’t an issue?”
Again he agreed.
“So you know what your real issue is, right?”
He knew his problem was staying sober – something he’d never been able to do for long.
I write a lot on this theme. Nearly every male substance abuser I know focuses on work or a job.
And I point out each time that if we stay sober and clean jobs and money show up. It’s so redundant it’s a cliché.
And the one thing that usually shuts down these conversations is when I point out that attending a 12-step meeting is evidence that the job thing didn't work.
Otherwise they wouldn't be at a 12-step meeting trying to figure out what went wrong.
Of course we need to work to survive. But while recovery is work - work is not recovery.