The most important thing I’ve learned in my recovery is that addiction is really just a symptom of deeper problems within a person. I have come to realize that unhealthy thinking and unhealthy personality characteristics are the underlying problems that need to be changed in order to arrest the compulsion to use. I found this to be true for myself when I was unable to quit using marijuana on my own. I made a couple of unsuccessful attempts before I found Marijuana Anonymous. In those efforts the only thing I changed about my life was that I didn’t smoke pot. I went on with all the same distorted thinking and behavior of the practicing addict that I was, including drinking alcohol. If pot was my only problem my life should have gotten better, but it didn’t. When painful feelings and uncomfortable situations came up I went right back to using. Because I had never acquired any coping skills, I had no clue on how to live life on life’s terms. My best thinking got me here, to this fellowship and the Twelve Steps.
I was brought up in what most people would think was a fairly normal family environment, and for the most part it was. Neither of my parents were alcoholics or addicts, I was not abused or neglected, and my mother was home with my brother and I until we got into high school. What did happen is that in our household we kept up the happy facade that everything was OK, no matter what was really going on. The only feeling that was ever really outwardly expressed was that of anger. I seemed to have gotten the message that it was somehow wrong to feel anger, when in reality it was the behavior caused by the anger that was inappropriate. That, along with the fact that no other feelings, good or bad, were ever really talked about or expressed taught me that it was somehow wrong to feel, or that to have feelings was something negative. I was also brought up with a punishing type of God that I have never thought I was good enough for. I came to think my worth, and God’s acceptance of me, were conditional upon my good behavior and faultless performance.