Nic Sheff on Friendship and Sobriety - Page 2

By Nic Sheff 12/21/11
Some people in sobriety have no problem being social, but I feel like I'm on the outside looking in. Am I the problem, or is recovery?
Really, I'm happy alone. Sort of. Photo via

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Of course, it’s not me they’re laughing at.

But still, it freaks me out.

And I just keep trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me.

Because there must be something wrong with me, right?

So then I talk to my psychiatrist and she tells me, well, everyone is different. Some people are social and some people aren’t. It doesn’t mean there’s necessarily something wrong with me. The fact that I don’t really like being around people doesn’t make me a bad person. Just like the fact that I don’t really like going to meetings doesn’t mean I’m some fucked up weirdo, either.

And so maybe that’s the point—you know, that everyone is different.

Different things work for different people.

And different things fit for different people, too.

Last week here on The Fix, I followed all the comments Maia Szalavitz’s article about Suboxone got from different people involved with recovery. What I was reminded of reading through them all was how judgmental and self-righteous people in recovery can be. There seems to be this general feeling of “If something’s worked for me, then it obviously must work for everybody else, too.” And then that’s followed by the feeling that, if that thing doesn’t work for you, it must be because there’s something wrong with you, or you’re not doing it right.

That is certainly the way I was treated at literally every single rehab and Sober Living I ever went to. What worked for the people in charge was what was supposed to work for me. And, inevitably, what worked for them was going to meetings and having a lot of sober friends and blah, blah, blah.

But I tried all that, like I said, and it never worked for me.

So is recovery, for me then, going to have to be about finding out who I really am as an individual? And then figuring out what does or doesn’t work for who I am?

I guess that’s the way it’s gonna have to be.

Because I cannot become what I am not. Much as I’ve tried and much as I’ve been encouraged to try, I cannot be someone else.

Acceptance—that has to be the answer.

That is the only answer.

For myself, in spite of what others might say.

And in spite of who I might want to be.

Nic Sheff is a columnist for The Fix and the author of two memoirs about his struggles with addiction, the New York Times-bestselling Tweak, and We All Fall Down. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two hound dogs, and a cat and has previously written about selling himself for sex and his father David Sheff's book Beautiful Boy, among many other topics.

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