Word “Games”

vistaspdibertA decade ago, before I understood what I needed to do to stay sober, I was a little bothered with the expression “working a program”. This term, being the deciding factor between living a happy sober life or succumbing to the vicious talon grips of a miserable, heroin infused death never sat well with me.

When I think of the word program, I think of a specific schedule or curriculum. An appointment or an arrangement of business or specific tasks to be completed. On the surface, it may seem that debating something as simple as a word definition or word usage is rather silly or insignificant. The truth is quite the opposite. The misuse of words have caused some of the most destructive actions we have seen in our world. Endless bickering and arguments in my own circle of friends and family has happened due to the misuse of spoken language. The misuse of words has caused a myriad of unnecessary and avoidable problems. It has also caused relationship perplexities with an endless amount of marriages rushing into splitsville.  All because we use the wrongs words!

Maybe using the phrase “working a program” works well for you. If so, that’s great! I would argue that is isn’t the correct term for redirecting someone’s entire life and everything in it, but like I said, if it works for you, great. I do believe that if we want words to keep some sort of firm validity and if we want continual growth in our relationships, we should do our best to say what we truly mean. I have noticed an large increase in the amount of word exploitation with the English language over the past 20 years. I am one of the worst culprits. In an ever-changing world, many words accurate meaning seems to slowly mesh and blend with others.

In a world where individuals want to ban the word bossy because it somehow sounds sexist.

In a world where shell-shock was too shocking so it was changed to combat fatigue but was still to real so it is now called PTSD. A complete disconnect from the reality my friends. Call it what it is. It is shell shock.

In a world where up is down and down is up.

In a world where a war against addicts is labeled The War on Drugs.

It is still a world that I refuse to call living my life, “a program”.

That is why I don’t use the term “working a program”. I would rather call it what it is. I am living my life. Yes, it is a much different life than the one I failed at before but I know now; I must live a much different life today. Letting go of the things I cannot control was the perfect starting point and I wanted to give my life what it deserved. My life deserves much more than a program.

The phrase “working a program” leaves the after-taste of an “ending just around the corner”. Recovery is nothing of the sort. It is a complete and total life change that requires things that are not always at the top of my to-do list. A program itself is easily fallible; easily set aside or put on the back burner. A life however, not so much.

Part of living a sober life, I want to become a better communicator. My goal after this post is to be more impeccable with my words and focus more on what I say to others.

-I can’t say I love someone if they don’t have any virtuous and/or admirable qualities about them.

-I will be upfront and honest. I won’t use words to soften a verbal blow. That is not admirable. That is only protecting the other persons feelings at the cost of my own.

If I am impeccable with my communication, no one has to “read between the lines” or “put words in my mouth” or try to guess what is bothering me.

Without spoken language, humans couldn’t do even the simplest of tasks. We would be like a dog, begging for a treat. I so often take for granted the ability to use the spoken language. Our words can be used as poisonous weapons or as helpful, informative sound waves of truth and logic. For so many years I have spread poison, lies, hate and misinformation and it is now time to be a better man. It is time to start living a truer, happier life.


18 thoughts on “Word “Games”

  1. Great post !! I particularly like this; “I will be upfront and honest. I won’t use words to soften a verbal blow. That is not admirable. That is only protecting the other persons feelings at the cost of my own”. So many times people say, “Why would you say that?” Because it’s the TRUTH. I’m not going to change that’s how I am. Being truthful has been the greatest thing I’ve done (besides sobriety) People know where I’m coming from now and won’t ask stupid questions if they don’t want to hear the truth.
    Great post my friend

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your comment Art. I agree with you. I think there is a difference in being an asshole and being honest. It seems so many people are willing to shovel up the BS in pretending to be “supportive”. If a friend is making a huge life changing mistake, tell them the truth! Many would support the mistake by agreeing with the other party’s irrationalities. God forbid they would be too honest or hurtful. I would hope people would tell me I have a big juicy booger instead of being quiet about it- afraid of hurting my feelings and letting me walk around all day tripping over my unseen boogers. Lol

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I never really sat and thought about the “working the program” as an expression, but you have good food for thought here. I suppose it does sound like there is a diploma at the end of this course, which of course is quite the polar opposite of what we do. Living my life is pretty much the deal for me too. If I had diabetes and had to take my insulin and prick my finger every few hours and eat a special diet, I wouldn’t go around telling people I am “working my diabetes”. I am just living. Obviously it’s used more in 12-step circles, so we are a bit clearer on what we mean by that. I just make sure that I am not working MY program…the Paul Program was a Chernobyl-like disaster…lol.

    Great stuff – glad to have read this!


    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for your comment Paul. I remember going through my first few years of rehab (in and outpatient) and that seemed to be a generalization at that time. I definitely don’t hear it used as much but it is just one of those phrases that bothers me. I agree with the insulin metaphor. It would sound so silly to word it that way.
      I just know that growing up I have been taught so many words incorrectly and it has really caused a lot of issues in communicating with others. That mixed with people pleasing can cause a whole lot of dishonest misinformation. I must continually work to say exactly what I mean. Definitely a work in progress! Yes, the Dustin program too was a destructive nightmare as well. Thank you for your thoughts. Have a great week my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you! Living Life, YES!! I do not refer to working a program… I often say, I was once surviving and now I am living! If ever asked about what I am doing different these days – or approached about this new energy. I say, I am living sober. Sometimes people reply, “Oh ya, sometimes I take a break from drinking.” I either reply, “good for you” or “that’s nice.” – I don’t drink or use. I am unlocking and healing my past, my story. I am being authentic and present. I am being of service. And I enjoy a wonderful fellowship. I am not slowing killing myself or risking the lives of others. (shocked face).
    I appreciate the play on words. I deal with this a lot in my line of work – people always trying to find a softer-kinder way to say something (so they think). Changing a word, does not change an issue. It seems too often the focus lies on the surface rather than the core… what really helps, changing a word or being proactive?
    Anyway, I agree about truth. Speaking the truth and being truthful to myself have been blessings in my recovery – my lifelong journey. Truth is a gift. Empowering. I speak truth. I see truth. I hear truth. My heart connects with others through truth. I am loving how a lot of things are none of my business. Silence. Awe.
    Awareness and Courage. Forgiveness. I love sobriety! Integrity.
    Great post, got my brain activated!

    Liked by 2 people

    • What an amazing comment. You gave me so much to think about and work on so thank you! I love how you refer your new motivation to live, truth and your life as “a new energy”. That is great stuff. It keeps forward progress moving in a positive light. And you are right about the workplace. It seems like anywhere I go, whether it be a store, shop or restaurant, or my own job, I feel I am surrounded by false, anti-genuine robots. I just want to be myself. Speaking truth. And like I stated in a previous comment, I want the kind of friend who would point out my boogers. It is just a rare blood-type anymore. I better end this here or I will have to label this comment a blog. Thank you again for your inspiring comment. Come back anytime.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Being the Mom of a recovering addict, i am so proud of the posts that I see here each and every day, the daily struggles that these strong people are pressured down by the thumb of their addictions , and yet they have become strong and are pushing back, and finding ways to cope with the daily situations and feelings that wax and wane. I am just so proud, as a mom, to see all of these people actually making it out of the addiction holes.I love you all! The Mom

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I have always disliked that phrase. Thank you for putting it so eloquently into focus as to why I do. It doesn’t fit into any kind of a spiritual axiom or have any kind of fulfilling nature about it. It leaves me cold and disheartened and always has. I do not wish to work any programs. I wish to live, and I wish to live clean. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your comment Nanette. It is refreshing to know that it wasn’t just me who found it out of place. I have been listening to an amazing philosopher about a wide array of topics and it has made me realize just how much I don’t understand when it comes to the English language (along with many other topics lol). It is misused on an epic scale. It is such a hidden, but important issue. Also, so many are impartial to the correct use of language. Thank you for your support and come back anytime!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Seems that too many “program” people make AA their life, rather than their way of life. I too, prefer “living my life”. Similarly, I have “a” birthday, celebrating the date of my birthday. I prefer soberversary to recognize the date that I put down the drink and began the journey of living my life, free from mind altering substances.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First off, congrats on your sobriety iceman18 and thanks for your comment. Yes you’re right. I have been friends with a couple people who made XA their whole life. It encompassed everything they did. Three, four meetings; sometimes all day meetings and XA encounters bonfires and strict daily schedules that were contingent upon their ability to wake up and be human. There is a fine line between allowing XA to work in your life and allowing it to run your life. We are addicts- we can get addicted to anything; including meetings. Lol luckily I have found a sturdy balance that allows me functional and sustainable happiness and growth. Off the subject- does your alias have any to do with mma fighter iceman? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t leave before the miracle right! I use to roll my eyes on that one but find a lot of weight in those words today.

        I’m sure my son, the MMA guy, would know would know that Iceman. My alias is in reference to my passion for ice hockey. Played the sport (never for money ;)) until I was 45 and, of course, still can’t get enough now…but from the couch.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I used to hate all the clichés and phases! Made me wanna puke! Of course I wasn’t internalizing any of it. Now that I do, I understand why it keeps getting repeated. Thanks for your responses my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Love love this article Dustin! Thank you for sharing.. I will definitely be consciously making an effort everyday to better myself with my words and how I use them! Thanks again!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hey Dustin, lots of food for thought. I like the feeling of “living or experiencing my program for life” because that’s what I try to do and to the degree I do it, I am successful! I simply must remember that I have a spiritual blueprint that works for me when I do my part and It has to be in my face constantly! Keep up the good work bro!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Scott! Good to see you here again. I really appreciate you stopping by and giving your insight. I love to challenge my own thoughts and beliefs. Your comment makes perfect sense. Maybe it’s the honesty in your words that make it work well. I’m so used to hearing in meetings “I want to work a good program” or “work your own program”. That phrase seems so superficial and disposable. “Living my program for life” ties everything together and looking at what an inspiration you are, it definitely works for you! I hope you and your wife are having a great weekend and thanks again for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Do You Sacrifice Yourself For Others? | The Secret Slayer

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