“Your illness is not your identity. Your chemistry is not your character.”
~ Pastor Rick Warren
We probably all know someone who has struggled with addictions and for me it was my good friend Joanne. One of the ways she overcame her struggle was through Alcoholics Anonymous. As a therapist, I frequently refer people to AA because one of the strengths of the program is that it encourages its members to come out of denial and acknowledge, “I have a problem; I am an addict, I am an alcoholic.”
In the beginning stages I believe it is important to admit this out loud, but (I may have a few of my AA friends get upset about this next statement) at some point we need to come to a point in our healing journey where we can replace these statements with something like, “I am whole; I am enough; I am free; I am loved (by God).” When we can hear ourselves or our loved ones acknowledge this, like my friend Joanne was eventually able to do, then the illness is no longer our identity and we are free to define ourselves in a healthy way.
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