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 Post subject: Judging others' recovery
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:26 am 
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This topic has been mentioned briefly in some threads here and there, but I thought I'd start its own post. Although most of us would agree that it's no one's business to judge another person's recovery and how "sick" they are, it seems people continue to do just that. I especially find this odd because this is an online forum and no one really knows anyone else. How could anyone here know anyone else well enough to know what they were like pre-addiction and during their addiction; what work they needed to do in their life as well as what work they have accomplished. In other words, these judgments are being made based solely on limited replies on specific subjects.

Doesn't NA/AA even say to worry about one's own recovery and not anyone else's? I wanted to discuss this because, like I said, this seems to happen more often than not and I'm guessing I'm not the only one to notice this and to find it rather judgmental.

So am I the only one to notice this? What do you think of people discussing or judging another's recovery? This forum is for support, not for us to use yardsticks to measure ourselves against another person. What's the point of that anyway?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:05 pm 
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It's just one of the uglier facets of human nature. It's easier to point out someone else's flaws than to fix up your own, it seems. And the messier we let our own back yards become, the more tempting it becomes to focus on others' recovery instead of our own.

It's almost as if we all know there's heaps of people out there judging us Suboxone folk for "not being clean", so we feel compelled to do the same thing to others.

At first I thought it was just a 12 step thing. Now I think it's just human nature. We all probably get urges to do such things, or find ourselves doing it before we realise.

To me recovery is a very relative, subjective thing. As long as someone is moving in the right direction, they're in recovery. I expect a bit more of myself and my own recovery personally though, but that's because I've always had high expectations of myself.

I haven't seen much of an issue on this forum, but the times I have seen it, it generally comes from people applying their own standards of recovery onto others.


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 Post subject: Yes
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:31 pm 
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Unfortunately it is human nature to want to make ourselves feel better and show that our way is better than someone else's. I have even been guilty myself in the last two years I have been part of the forum.

The bad thing about this is that we all have something in common and that is we are addicted to opiates and most of us take suboxone or subutex to fight off the cravings and w/d. We share doctor concerns, medication, cost, group, therapy and AA/NA SMART Recovery.

Unfortunately all of us have egos. Instead of seeing similarites we see differences in each other and for some reason some feel it necessary to let others know there way is the only way. Maybe it is......who knows. Maybe drinking and smoking marijuana is not as bad as opiate abuse.....but everyone has an opinon. I think it is normal human nature.

It is unforturnate because I think we are stronger as a group if we all go in the same direction. It's funny some believe in god, some don't and yet we both have the same problem. Opiate addiction.

We will always have those outside of this forum judge us from work, family, strangers and the general public but on this forum we should be one. We know what each other feels and we know what has worked for us. Again EGO is the biggest reason people judge. If something works for them than perhaps it should work for everyone. That is just not the case.

I do think some disagreements are justifed when someone comes on the site and is just totally beyond sane and skewed in their thinking. But for the most part respect should be given when we mostly all have the same goal in mind and that is to be free of this disease. Suboxone has helped us and is the closet thing I know to keep me from using.

People will always disagree and judge. For those people I hope they find happiness. For this addict how I choose to live my life and take suboxone is my business. I try to share with newcomers about suboxone and side effects and the things it has helped me. Those that judge me..........it is their problem not mine. I just want to be a good person, father and worker and thanks to suboxone I can do that.

Jim


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:35 am 
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Thanks for the replies, you two, and for the thought you put behind those replies. And I agree with everything you said, ReRaise. I also think we have enough people from the "outside" judging us for our addictions that we don't really need in-fighting on top of it.

I guess I get it that comparing ourselves to other people may be human nature, but is taking it one step further and judging them? It just seems like such a superior attitude. Even if it is human nature to compare, isn't it something that we can strive to control? Just because something comes naturally to us doesn't mean it's right. At least that's how I feel about it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:52 pm 
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I get the points made in this thread very much and agree with many of them. But at the same time many people in early recovery need people to be honest with them and call them out on their bullshit some times. If my close friends and family didn’t call me out on my BS in the beginning I would be dead or in jail by now. And sometimes that is what it takes!

For example many people do this in the early stages of addiction they get of their DOC and start a new one thinking well at least I am not using Heroine any more so Crack is ok and it sucks but that happens all too much. And it doesn’t matter if it is weed or coke you need to be 100% clean from all drugs that are not being prescribed to you under very close Dr Supervisions in recovery at any stage.

And I think that we as recovering addicts on A FORUM NEED TO BE ALL THE MORE REAL WITH SOMEONE. HOW ARE WE HELPING A PERSON IF THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG AND WE LIE TO THEM AND SAY YOU ARE DOING GREAT KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK??????????? Sometime it takes those judgmetnal post for people to really realize that they are not doing as good as they really think they are who are we to judge you say BUT WHO ARE WE IF WE SAY ITS OK or DONT SAY ANYTHING AT ALL?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:48 pm 
Personally, I believe that making judgments and/or being the object of judgments, is just an inescapable reality of life as human beings. I believe that the very definitions of "judge" and "judgment" are rather open to opinion, as these words do have more than one legitimate accepted meaning. Therefore, what appears to be judgmental to one, may not, in fact, have been judgmental on the part of the one accused of being judgmental. To take it a step further.....Could it be that one who is calling another person's statements judgmental, in effect be being judgmental himself?
I know that's a reach, but if you'll think about it, I believe you can see how muddy the water could potentially get.
These days, it seems that the politically correct thing to do, is to just give latitude upon latitude upon latitude so that anyone and everyone can be comfortable within their own, personalized set of standards which they have created to suit their own individual desires. In many instances this seems to be a wonderful thing. You know, "live and let live" and all that. Often times, in fact, I agree it is a wonderful premise and I agree with it wholeheartedly in a number of situations. However, there are a few issues in which I believe it is a slippery slope to go along with the premise that we can all make up our own set of standards and rules based upon our very subjective and varied values, etc. One of the few that I feel this way about is addiction and recovery. I agree that there has been great difficulty, even amongst professionals, in defining what exactly constitutes "recovery." I also believe that there is benefit to the premise of "harm reduction." I do not, however, believe that harm reduction alone and recovery are one and the same. I believe that there are times when one can be practicing harm reduction and still be in recovery, of course. Obviously, I believe that or else I could not be on Sub and consider myself to be in recovery! There are other examples of harm reduction in which the addict is not even interested in recovery (ie accepting sanitized needles, etc.) I guess what I'm saying is that although I agree that there can be a fairly broad definition of what recovery looks like or is, there are just a few things (in my mind, at least) that recovery is not or does not look like.

The other thing is, that I think there is a pretty big difference between judging someone vs. calling someone on their crap. For example, I don't see how there is much to be gained by pacifying an addict's belief that they can simply stop abusing one drug while continuing to abuse other drugs, and still consider themselves to be in a strong or healthy recovery. That's just my opinion. I know that many disagree and that is absolutely their right. But it does not make me any more judgmental than they are for perhaps calling me judgmental for not believing as they do.

Bottom line is that addiction is stealing, killing and destroying people's lives. It has done it's job well on me personally. I do not believe that by confronting someone who desires recovery about continuing to do things that could potentially cause them further harm, I am necessarily being "judgmental." I call it "telling the truth." If what I say or believe has no impact on the person to whom it is directed, then perhaps it will be of benefit to someone else who happens upon the information. When those types of instances arise, my intent is not to judge anyone, nor is it to compare myself to anyone else. My intent is purely to tell my truth, as I see it, as I have lived it, and as I have come to believe by learning from the examples of people more knowledgable, experienced and educated in the field of addiction than myself. Will I always be correct? No, I'm sure that I won't. But I have just as much a right to my truth and my opinions as anyone else does, whether it makes them uncomfortable or not. And that, does not (in my judgment, anyway) make me any more judgmental than anyone else.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:12 pm 
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Bboy42287 wrote:
For example many people do this in the early stages of addiction they get of their DOC and start a new one thinking well at least I am not using Heroine any more so Crack is ok and it sucks but that happens all too much. And it doesn’t matter if it is weed or coke you need to be 100% clean from all drugs that are not being prescribed to you under very close Dr Supervisions in recovery at any stage.

And I think that we as recovering addicts on A FORUM NEED TO BE ALL THE MORE REAL WITH SOMEONE. HOW ARE WE HELPING A PERSON IF THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG AND WE LIE TO THEM AND SAY YOU ARE DOING GREAT KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK??????????? Sometime it takes those judgmetnal post for people to really realize that they are not doing as good as they really think they are who are we to judge you say BUT WHO ARE WE IF WE SAY ITS OK or DONT SAY ANYTHING AT ALL?


There has to be a middle ground between shining someone on and telling them they are doing great when you don't really believe that....and calling people out on what we percieve to be their failings in such a way that they stop listening, stop participating in the discussion and close themselves off to whatever wisdom we might hold for them.

In school (where I am studying to become an addiction counselor) we talk a lot about the idea that you can not help someone if you will not meet them where they are.

In the example Bboy is giving in the quote above - a person who has stopped using heroin but is still using crack and views that as being in recovery - just yelling at them, calling them on their "bullshit", telling them they are wrong, etc., is probably not going to achieve much.

But you could open a dialog about WHY this person thinks and feels the way they do. What is better about their life now that they smoke crack rather than shoot heroin? Of course, this example is a little ridiculous, and I haven't seen anyone on the forum making the claim that smoking crack is a part of a healthy recovery.

I have however seen people claiming that marijuana use can be part of a healthy recovery process. This is a VERY divisive claim and I don't want to get into debating it here. My point is to say that whether you think the claim that smoking weed can be part of recovery is right or wrong...you don't do much for ANYONE by simply stating that you are correct and anyone who disagrees with you is a fool, should be banned, shouldn't be allowed to post their opinion, etc.

If you disagree with someone's recovery practices, whatever they may be, and you are truly concerned for them - try engaging them in a dialogue. Ask them questions and try to find out what is really going on. Share your perspective and your personal experience - that can be incredibly powerful. But try to see where they are coming from too.

If that person doesn't want to be engaged and they just want to state their opinion, then just let it go. You can't change them, and arguing on the internet is about the most useless waste of time anyone can engage in. Give your evidence for why you think the behavior is harmful to recovery and let it stand. That's all you can really do.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:54 pm 
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For me, I was lucky to have people judge me and my recovery. After my second relapse, I took it on the chin from a couple of members and it's exactly what I needed, BUT I also needed the other members who were supportive of me and didn't get too rough with me.

I had got cocky in my recovery and had convinced myself that I could use opiates here and there, but several other members didn't agree with my "recovery plan" and they let me have it, they were straight up with me and it hurt like hell at the time, but again, I needed to hear it.

Again, for me, people judging my recovery was imperative to getting me to where I am today.

We've gotta face it, we're all addicts and sometimes our thinking STINKS and sometimes we need others to call us on our shit because that sick part of our brain has justified behaviors that are detrimental to us, without us really being aware of it. That's addiction folks!!

Lastly, it's been my experience that when we feel like we're being judged and we get really defensive......there's usually something there that we need to look at in ourselves. Being honest with oneself can hurt like hell sometimes, but it's necessary. I don't mind people judging my recovery, it helps me to remain honest with myself. Once I've considered what someone has said to me, I'll take what I can use and shitcan the rest and move on.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:57 pm 
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I'm not quite sure how we got from judging other people to simply being honest with them. I guess we're having a problem with semantics. To me, judging is much more harsh, negative, and superior - a "you're not as good as me" attitude. Being honest is just being honest. I see these as two completely different things. I'm all for being honest and calling bullshit when bullshit is present. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm only talking about judging other people simply because their ways are not our own and being so inflexible about it.

I'm just trying to say that everyone's recovery is unique, just as we are all unique. One person's ultra-healthy recovery/lifestyle won't necessarily do shit for me and vice versa. Only each one of us knows what in our lives need repair after what addiction did to it (as well as what led to it). And only each of us knows how far we've come in that journey. And because we don't know any of that, those judgments are being based on nothing more than conjecture. I say we go with what ReRaise said and try to find the commonalities in each other and support each other despite our differences and try to remain open-minded - with each other and ourselves.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:29 pm 
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Like many of the previous posters said, it's simply human nature to judge each other. Welcome to the human race.

I still say, if you feel like you're being judged for something and it's bothering you, it may be time to look inside instead of outside.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:41 pm 
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I don't think it's human nature to judge people. Perhaps it is to compare oneself to others, but to go further into judging - no, I'm not sure I believer that. Sometimes it's extremely clear that someone is judging another person - even in writing. Oh and I'm not feeling judged myself. It's something I've seen more and more of lately around here and it bothered my enough to broach the subject. Anyway, that doesn't mean that the person being judged needs to look "inward". I guess to me judging another person is more of a negative thing, whereas it sounds like many of you find it to be quite natural. Maybe the issue is how I look at or define what it means to be judged.

Back to the human nature part...I think it's more likely that comparing oneself is human nature rather than judging them is. To me judging someone has to do with making oneself feel superior to another. And I think that has more to do with one's ego than anything else. So no, I don't think it's human nature at all.

Interesting though....I'm definitely thinking. Thanks for that.

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 Post subject: interesting thread
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:12 pm 
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Thanks for all the posts on this thread--it's an interesting topic to me. Once I overheard part of a conversation a couple of coworkers of mine were having and one said to the other"with humans it's ALL about comparisons." I really think it is ingrained in how we think--"compare and contrast"-- I remember being told to do that in college for "critical thinking." We do naturally compare ourselves to each other. Are we naturally judgmental too? Seems like it to me. I have felt put down by people for being different all my life. Is it ok to judge harshly if the target of the judgment somehow "deserves" it? Seems like a lot of people think it is. Myself, I have a hard time believing that "free will" goes all that far--seems to me the circumstances we're born with have a huge effect on how our lives turn out. sure, you can work to change your circumstances, but....what if you don't really have much to work with? What if you aren't very smart, for instance, and also aren't given hardly any good examples to follow? Of course, my argument tends to break down when it comes to the question of personal responsibility. No, I don't believe it's ok for people to injure others and be excused because they "don't know any better." It's just that...I also can feel compassion for people who do evil because I cannot think other than that they harm themselves as well. However, my feelings about this subject are not entirely consistent or comfortable. As far as the specific issue of judging addicts and their recovery "or lack of recovery" goes--personally being yelled at or given ultimatums and that sort of thing never did anything for me other than make me decide to be less honest and less open about my addiction. I also am one of those who is not convinced that complete abstinence from all mind-altering substances is necessary for everyone who ever qualified as an addict to recover to a healthy point in their life. And I am all for harm reduction. I would agree that harm reduction is not the same as recovery..but I think harm reduction can be a step toward recovery. In any case harm reduction can help keep addicts alive, whereas, once they die they will certainly not recover.

Many people are extremely judgmental about addiction, that's for sure, and it's still often seen as a matter of moral failing. So yeah, that is a very good point that RR made about sticking together in remembering what we have in common here and trying to put our judgments aside. Being honest certainly does not necessarily have to be judgmental.

thanks again, everybody, for your thoughts on this thread.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:33 am 
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I don't think it's human nature to judge people. Perhaps it is to compare oneself to others, but to go further into judging - no, I'm not sure I believer that. Sometimes it's extremely clear that someone is judging another person - even in writing. Oh and I'm not feeling judged myself. It's something I've seen more and more of lately around here and it bothered my enough to broach the subject


Then you're a much more peaceful person than I, and most of my friends consider me to be one of the least judgemental people around.

Personally, I find myself getting judgemental from time to time. Be it when I see a person smoking next to their children, or drunk and picking fights with strangers in the street. It's easy to get judgemental when you see someone getting arrested for importing heroin. When it happens, I try to catch myself, and remind myself that I have no idea of these people's life stories, of how they were raised, or whether they're ill. I've done some shocking things in my own life, and it was the lack of judgement from my friends and family that stopped me from getting "kicked while I was down".

Fact is, we know nothing about these people who come onto these forums. We know little about each other, really. Even if we knew each other personally for years, we still wouldn't know the inner workings of each other.

Even using the extreme example of someone who is still smoking crack but quit the heroin. We don't know if this is a person who was such a filthy heroin addict that they pawned their own grandma, stood over little old ladies at the bus stop and licked yoghurt boxes out of the same bins they found their needles. Yet they could manage to just smoke a couple of dignified pipes every couple of weeks as a reward after doing their community service.

Personally, I'd view the person who only smokes the occasional, fortnightly crack pipe as doing better than myself, who is dependent on 12mg suboxone a day, and will get sick if I don't have it. Extreme example I know.

I know it's an unlikely scenario, but the fact is.. we don't know their full story over such a limiting medium as an internet forum.

As for the definition of recovery. To me, a person who is trying to better themselves is in recovery. They could have a filthy heroin habit, but as long as they're trying to cut down, or stop stealing, they're having a go at recovery, more so than the person that's been off the drugs for years and is doing fine. I agree that there's been a few characters lately who've been content with their vices - eg smoking weed on Suboxone then asking if it's an effective recovery program. IMO, if they're working on cutting out their drug use, they're in recovery. And if they disagree, then we should at least try to shift their perspective, before we ban their asses Siberia! :lol:


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