Manifestations of Addiction

Manifestations of Addiction

An article for Recover-Ink by Vince Wishart

When I walked into that room in the basement of that hospital in Calgary, I was met by a guy at the door.  He appeared to me to be a bouncer.  He wasn’t gonna let me into the room till I gave the secret handshake.  Turned out he wanted a hug.  I thought that mighty strange.  Every after hours booze can or secret rave or what have you would ask for a secret password, handshake or signal, never a hug.  So needless to say, my guard was up, because when people on the street wanted to hug me, they wanted something from me, that usually I wasn’t to inclined to give them,


I hugged him begrudgingly, and sat down. about 75 there that night.  I came due to hitting my bottom and bumping into an old friend from recovery years earlier who saw me and said maybe I should look at NA.  So there I was in an NA meeting.  Really foggy.  Just spent the past month trying to commit suicide every 3 minutes by fatal overdose.  I guess it didn’t work.   I had already thrown away my phone with all the dealers numbers on it.  I was ready.

The first guy to share name was Mark.  He said he did not have a drug problem.  I went into immediate resistance.  I got angry.  I was ready to throw this guy out of the room.  I was here because I had a drug problem.  Who does this guy think he is coming in here and being different?  He did not belong in the secret club…and I was ready to defend the rest of the room from him.  Then he shared more;


He said his problems was not drugs, but a much deeper problem.  He had at his core a series of challenges, early traumas, that has him seeking things outside himself to fill his spiritual void inside of him.  He said he had manifestation of addiction such as; Drugs, Alcohol, making money, control, sex, overeating, relationships, and more.  the problems was his living problem, the fact that he could not feel his feelings appropriately and therefore he sought things to fill that gap, the void despair, that is unfillable except with the 12 steps.


 The art for the mural that I was asked to do for Fresh Start Recovery Center on their gymnasium wall, is projected on the screen while many politicians and and this native elder give blessing to the facility.

With all those manifestations of addictions on his list the light bulbs were going off for me.

“Yep, got that one, yep I got that one, yep, that one too”.  When I heard him share his wisdom at that first meeting, I knew I was home.  I had an emotional moment where the feeling of belonging overwhelmed me.  I knew I was home in that moment.

 This is the black lit version of a painting called Inviduality in a Sea of Conformity.  It is about when we first come to the rooms recovery and we feel different, separate.  In this place, it is difficult to find recovery.

Have manifestations of addiction shown up for me since?

You bet they have.  I need to be walking a walk of connection with my brother and sisters in recovery or else I can go sideways.  Left to my own devices, I can get ugly.  Egoic nature comes back in through the back door, I can make a real mess of things even without using drugs.  I would not have over 10 years clean if you counted in the emotional relapses, the sexual acting out, the times I was self-consumed. etc.  I lean on my Creator a lot more than I ever have.  I reach out to my fellows more than I ever have and I delve into my spiritual practices more than I ever have.  I work the steps and I sponsor guys.  I have a peace that goes beyond all understanding today because of these diligent practices.


With 100’s of 12 step fellowships in the world, we know that no matter what the manifestation of addiction, the 12 steps work.  It has worked for Millions before.  Just takes Honesty, Open mindedness, and Willingness, the HOW of the program.


Thank you for reading, when you feel so inclined, feel free to look at Conscious States in Recovery


The recovery offerings at Lovemedicine


So many Blessings to you,

Vince Wishart

Creator and Faciltiator or the Intentional Tattoo and Tattoo Ceremonies

Co-Founder of Lovemedicine