The Cost of Freedom
Confining walls, prison cell;
there’s no shame in wearing a straight jacket
if it makes you well.
Dirty dishes, soiled clothes;
it’s a heavy burden to keep
your house clean on your own.
Hidden secrets, concealed lies;
they are the extent of your sickness –
the enemy of recovery is pride.
Foolish illusions, blind in the dark;
the most harmful delusion is believing
you can trust your heart.
Death’s agent, the loser’s bane;
sometimes winning means folding now
to remain in the game.
The humble lives, the prideful dies;
better to trust in another’s truths
than to keep living by your lies.
Safety in numbers, self-reliance self-destructs;
an unchecked mind quickly becomes
unreliable and corrupt.
Freedom is sometimes choosing not to be free;
better to serve a great master,
than sit on the throne of insanity.
-Poem and Content Written by Justin Farley
As a recovering alcoholic who’s been sober for almost 11 years and someone who can become addicted to about anything that makes you feel good, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my recovery is the need to let go of my freedom sometimes. The hardest times in recovery are often the ones where we’ve still got one foot in and one foot out, believing that we can be both fully free and fully accountable living by our will power.
For me, I’ve learned that when I’m free I’m a slave, and when I’m a slave I’m free. Quite paradoxical, but I’ve learned that I can’t trust myself to do what I want myself to do. If I sit with temptation long enough, it will eventually over power me no matter how much will power I have.
We don’t want to accept defeat. We don’t want to admit that we’re weak. We want to continue to live by the lie that we’re able to conquer our demons on our own, despite file cabinets full of evidence to the contrary. Sometimes giving up some of your freedom is the only way to protect yourself from yourself. For addicts, I believe the cost of freedom is often freedom itself.
You want to be sober? Well, you’re going to have to give up the freedom of being able to go to bars. You want to be free from addiction? You’re going to have to give up the freedom of hanging out with people that are still using. You want to be free from your shopping addiction? You’ve got to give up the freedom of carrying cash and credit cards.
Is it possible to keep all your freedoms and remain free from your addictions? Maybe. At least for a period of time, but it’s like playing Russian roulette, never knowing when your addiction is loaded in the chamber. Play long enough, and I believe you’ll eventually self-destruct.
For me, I’ve realized the cost of unchecked freedom is misery and death. And today, I choose to live.