Rother House Medical Centre
Alcester Road
Stratford upon Avon
CV37 6PP

Heath Lodge Clinic
1357 Warwick Road
West Midlands
B93 9LW

Mobile: 07836 261661


Chris Sharpe is also an associate of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa

Twin Rivers in South Africa


Behind the Mask: A Blog by Chris Sharpe

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Behind the MaskBehind the Mask

In active addiction one of the more extreme delusions from which we can suffer is the misbelief that we are nothing more than physical beings defined by idealism and disconnected from the love of God. Someone once described this unfortunate misconception to me as being simply defined by the three S’s: Sex, Social status and Security. In relation to Sex, stereotypically this means that some men believe it is most desirable for them to be seen with a beautiful woman and likewise, women with a handsome man. Social status can be demonstrated for instance by possessing the latest model of Smart Phone, or a highly polished 4x4 or maybe an expensive new show home.

Perceived Security is presented by showing off a wallet full of twenty pound notes while the bank account is overdrawn. For the addict, struggling with a damaged self-worth, all three of these illusions define a fabricated materialism designed to mask an otherwise solitary existence.

Therefore, one of the more profound and long term goals of our recovery is to physically, emotionally and spiritually remove ourselves from existing in this ego-driven insanity where success, physical attraction, power and material possessions profess to be the core elements of life. The true objective of our programme is that instead of looking outside ourselves for what AA calls, conviviality, companionship and colourful imagination, it asks that we should in fact attempt to be more humble and search inside to discover where the true joy can be found. In simple terms we are talking about moving from isolation to inclusion, a process which can at first appear to be an odd contradiction, yet again, The Big Book of AA promises that if we search inside of ourselves then we will be, “Rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence,” and I’m all for that!

In technical terms, what we are discussing here are the nature and designs of the True and False self. English paediatrician and psychoanalyst, Donald Winnicott, said that. “The false self is a defence, a kind of mask of behaviour that complies with others' expectations.”  In contradiction, he defined the true self as; “A sense of being alive and real in one's mind and body.” We commonly call the false self a mask, which if you prefer, can be described as protective veil we wear, a defence against external influences, or that which is defined in the dictionary as an object normally worn typically for protection or disguise. You can wear whichever one fits. Most addicts will recognise being behind the mask as a lonely place where we go to hide in order to get our own way. So, armed with this information, the question we need to ask ourselves now is, where and how do we find our true self? Instead of perpetrating the lie, how do we search instead for something within us and in doing so create new, unique and honest identity that some recovering people choose to call the love of God?

Like the substances or behaviours that we once used, emotions can also be addictive and at first it seems hard trying to break that which has become a habit. Similarly, what we mistakenly call our defects of character, anxiety, depression and suchlike, are often part of the reason why we lose our way, and why life sometimes appears to be out of balance. So, if the primary problem we are inflicted with is the solitary habit of indulging the false self, then the exciting challenge we have to face in a united recovery is the discovery of our authentic identity and the rebuilding of the true self in order to become something new, unique and full of joy.

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