Quotes and phrases are something I return to often for reassurance and comfort in my recovery. It’s difficult to choose a favorite, but towards the top of my list is Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity:
“The definition of insanity is, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
This quote really resonates with me because I spent far too many years doing just what Einstein warns against. In fact, just about every day of my addiction, I:
- promised myself that I would quit the next day. (“I” could stop any time that I chose.)
- told myself that a drink would not replace eating a healthy meal.
- rationalized my abuse of opiates by reminding myself that they were prescribed by a doctor.
- felt that I had the right to indulge, because
- of my stress and anxiety level
- all my friends were partiers
- my childhood was difficult
- alcohol is legal
- I can control my intake
- It’s MY life!
- convinced myself that my family didn’t know that I was high.
- hid my bottles of alcohol and pills.
- told my young son that I was “fine.”
Now, when I read this list, I recognize the insanity.
One story epitomizes just how ill I was. While visiting my doctor for an ear infection check-up, I stumbled into the exam room. Reeking of alcohol and cigarettes, I slurred my words while explaining my ear pain. “Katie, you’re drunk,” the doctor stated. “I’m going to call your husband to come and pick you up.”
“No,” I said. “It’s this ear infection. It’s making me dizzy and out of sorts.” I truly believed that I could convince him otherwise, I continued. “My equilibrium is compromised, you see.” Of course, my brain thought that I was speaking clearly and that I was more clever than he. Most likely, those words were garbled incoherently.
Long story short, I passed out on the exam table and awoke in our hospital emergency room. Alcohol Poisoning was the diagnosis.
Leaving the hospital the following day, I went straight to my stash. After all, I decided that was a stressful 24 hours and one drink wouldn’t kill me. Perhaps a pill or three were in order…
I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry as I write these words. Could I truly have been in such denial? Could I actually believe that I didn’t have a problem? Apparently the answers were both, yes.
Eventually, I became “sick and tired of being sick and tired” (an AA quote) and Sobriety did come my way a year or so after that doctor visit.
And whenever I start feeling like I have it all put together in my sobriety, I lean on this quote by Peter Laurence:
“A man doesn’t know what he knows until he knows what he doesn’t know.”
I hope my mistakes can and successes can show you some things you now know you didn’t know.
Author: Katie H. is a writer, recovering addict, and mother based in Connecticut.