September 10, 2020

Some of the (way) older among you may remember Pollyanna, the 1960 movie starring Hayley Mills, who lives her life playing the Glad Game, an optimistic exercise that requires the player to find something to be grateful for in every situation. For instance, one Christmas Pollyanna doesn’t find a doll inside the “missionary barrel” at church. Instead, her present is a crutch, and she is glad she doesn’t need one. Pollyanna is, in short, so chirpy it hurts.

Obviously, I am not Pollyanna

If you’re even way older, you may remember Dr. Pangloss from Voltaire’s 1759 novel Candide. Pangloss is unremittingly optimistic, declaring, “All’s for the best in this best of all possible worlds.” In the novel, Candide, the protagonist, and Pangloss end up in Portugal under the control of the Inquisition. Pangloss is hanged, and not a moment too soon from my perspective.

Obviously, I am not Pangloss.

Still . . . I do have optimism and I do have hope, as evidenced by the following beliefs.

I believe recovery is possible for all with addictions, no matter how low they have may have sunk.

I believe families can be healed of the damage caused by addiction.

I believe people can learn to live comfortably in reality after existing uncomfortably in addiction.

I believe every person with addiction can fulfill a great destiny.

I believe bodies can repair themselves from the damage caused by addiction.

I believe people can become productive members of society despite addiction histories.

I believe a sense of desperate isolation and isolated despair can be lifted from those with addictions.

I believe seemingly insurmountable financial challenges resulting from addictions can be overcome over time and with effort.

I believe transformation of the human character can take place in recovery.

I don’t believe these things because I’m an optimist. I don’t believe them because of a book I read or a movie I watched. My belief doesn’t come from tapping my heels three times and making wishes.

I believe because I’ve seen with my own eyes, heard with my own ears and lived within my own life each of these beliefs. Men and women I know well have experienced each and every one of these beliefs—and so have I. I’ve gone from being homeless and hopeless, dirty and diseased, alienated and aching, to the man I am today. 

That’s not optimism, it’s real life. And it can be made real in your life, too. Come see us at Hope  (293 Wilson St. in Manchester) and give us a chance to help.