The addict asks himself, “How does this look?” rather than “How is this, really?”
It’s all about image management – not reality.
That is due, in part, to the fact that the addict is out-of-touch with his/her feelings. Life becomes an elaborate play, a stage act, a performance. And since it is an act there is little need to be in touch with the true self. What matters is the performance; this order of importance must be rigidly maintained. To “break character” would be disastrous.
And so, the charade continues. On and on.
Until things collapse, that is. Until the weight of carrying on the masquerade is too great.
Until the pain of acting is worse than the pain of honesty. At that point reality
breaks in full force and demands an accounting. It’s as if the bank calls for
payment on an outstanding loan, and the weary borrower finds himself or
Nothing more up his or her sleeve: no more tricks, no more aces in the hole (so to speak), no more mulligans.
And then the learning begins. Honesty and humility conspire to create a fresh new classroom in the mind. And little by little, stage by stage, phase by phase the addict learns what is true in the world about him/her.
Eventually . . . the masks he or she used are put away, unnecessary for functioning. And if the addict happens to weaken, and pull a mask out of the closet, he or she finds it no longer fits like it used to; it is now extremely uncomfortable. Instead of asking, “How will this look to others?” – the recovering addict begins to ask himself/herself, “How IS this, really?”
Evidence of transformation.