Two Essential Questions for Men in Recovery

Learning how to communicate is one of many challenges faced by men in recovery. Author Dan Griffin explores two big questions that form the foundation for both recovery and communication.

It goes without saying that choosing to enter treatment or a Twelve Step program presents a unique set of challenges. One that many people do not anticipate is the experience of entering a culture in which people communicate. For men especially, this can be an unfamiliar and uncomfortable experience. But this is also the beginning of the most rewarding journey they will ever take: a man’s journey through the Twelve Steps.

purple image 1My passion in life is about creating gender awareness for men in recovery, to help men look more honestly at the realities of their lives, and to approach and respond to the challenges we face as men in Western society. Two big questions drive this passion and form the foundation of my book A Man’s Way Through the Twelve Steps:

1.) Who am I? For most people just beginning the journey of recovery, the honest answer to this question is: “I don’t know.” While A Man’s Way Through the Twelve Steps can’t address every issue men face today, it does help readers confront the changes they need to make. Men will find parts of themselves they had forgotten, tried to run away from, and never knew were there.

2.) What does it mean to be a man? There are certain ways of talking, acting, and thinking that many men just assume are just who they are. They often don’t recognize that they are following a cultural “script” for being a man, and that every day, they are putting on a costume and acting out that script. Addictions to drugs, gambling, sex, rage, or relationships are part of the fabric of that costume. But the true self remains hidden. This book is meant in part to be a wake-up call. My hope is that, as a result of reading this book, men will think about what it means to be a man, especially in the context of recovery.

Many men have never thought about what being a man has to do with our recovery. Many still assume that “men are the way they are,” and they don’t see that the narrow definition of masculinity in our culture causes a great deal of pain, grief and limitation. The good news is that today it’s easier to recognize how the ways we are raised create limitations for both men and women.

Throughout A Man’s Way Through the Twelve Steps, I look at how men are raised within the box of these cultural expectations, with the hope that they will begin to form better ideas of who they are as men. How we see ourselves affects how we see the Steps, how we engage in our recovery, and how we identify and deal with problems. Without a broader vision of what it is to be men, it can be difficult to grow in our recovery, especially in our relationships with other men and women.

As men in recovery, we have addiction and the destruction it has caused in common. We also share a common solution: the Twelve Steps. With every step we take toward loving ourselves and shedding parts of our costume, we begin to see the limitless possibilities for who we can be and how we can live our lives. With that vision comes the freedom to be who we are, regardless of society’s box of masculinity. By being true to ourselves, we automatically become the best men we can be.

Curious about what A Man’s Way Through the Twelve Steps could offer you, a loved one, or an organization? Please take a look at My Book.

 

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin, M.A., has worked in the mental health and addictions field for over a decade. He is author of A Man’s Way Through the Twelve Steps and co-author of the groundbreaking curriculum Helping Men Recover, which looks comprehensively and holistically at men’s needs and issues in recovery.

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