My 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 Manâs 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: âI donât know.â While A Manâs Way Through the Twelve Steps canât 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 donât recognize that they are following a cultural âscriptâ 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 âmen are the way they are,â and they donât 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 itâs easier to recognize how the ways we are raised create limitations for both men and women.
Throughout A Manâs 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 societyâs box of masculinity. By being true to ourselves, we automatically become the best men we can be.