I began my second career life in the Recovery field in 2011 at an inpatient treatment center when my recovery from substances was 20 months old and my recovery from destructive relationship patterns was even younger.
I entered this field out of a desire to continue to help myself as I helped others.
Those of us in recovery or recovery friendly understand the “new” language in which one is immersed immediately…”My name is Will and I am an (insert standardized name describing your struggle).
I learned that in the rooms, these “labels” represented my acceptance of my condition and gave me some power within the powerlessness of my state of being.
Flash-forward to 2018, I am working in a different area of the Recovery field, more on the ground and more involved in outreach and advocacy.
I was again immersed in a “new” language…immediately…”My name is Will and I am a person in long term recovery”.
I have to admit that this little bit of wordplay did not come easy to me, change has never come easy to me, however I have always understood that change is inevitable and I can either accept it or get out of its way.
I had never considered my use of the terms “alcoholic” or “addict” as words of self-loathing, hate or discrimination…I had also never considered them as key words to put on my resume.
Even in entering the treatment field where “street cred” is an asset, a 2-year period of abstinence and a background check was required before I could supervise patients without direct oversight.
Since I began to consider and use this “new” language of the Recovery movement, I have never done more than ask others to consider alternative identification with my personal message as to why.
My personal shift is moving at a pace just outside of my comfort zone (this is where my greatest growth occurs).
I often identify in meetings according to the fellowship or demographic but sometimes as mood suits my “new” recovery and my voice is getting stronger.
Pushback is there and sometimes it is subtle but often it can be quite overt, this is OK, to each his own.
I am offering the general public and the professional world alternatives to the stereotypes of what addiction and Recovery are supposed to look like.
I am not pushing anyone to change but I am changing and I will continue to speak MY truth.
My name is Will and I am so much more than any label.
Will Allphin, Foundation for Recovery