Terminally Unique

Updated: Jan 21




A term we hear around the rooms of 12 steps recovery is: Terminally Unique. It means that a person with addictions thinks of themselves as separate, that their problems are not shared with the world. They are Unique (separate) in their situation, and stuck in it, thus being Terminal, making true connection impossible. Much like the zebra with Cheetah spots.


This is a belief system that is blocking them from seeing the way to heal their problem. Ill give an example from my own experience. I went to this meeting first one after a relapse. I heard this woman speak, and I thought that what she was saying wouldn't work for me, because she is a woman, and I am a man. A man spoke next, I said to myself: “Self, what he is saying wont work for me, because I am covered in tattoos and he is not” So I discredited everything he said.


I was terminally unique. Unhelpable. Cast out by own beliefs, preconceived notions that kept me alienated, pre-excommunicated due to my lack of humility, divided from the basic human need for connection by my own exclusion. I did not see the playing field as level. This made my recovery impossible.


It didn't take long for me to relapse with this attitude. After beating myself up some more, I met this guy that I had met years earlier in the rooms. He asked: “Ever thought about going to an NA meeting?” “I have not found success in the group about white powdery substances, (which I believed was my problem, no clue I had a living problem) I didn't find success in the booze meetings I said, so how could this be any different?” He said: “Well, you don't look very good, maybe think about it” He told me where the meeting was and when. So I finished up my tear. Took me a month to burn through a disgusting amount of money. When I was out of money, that was my bottom. I was not able to put myself out of my own misery by attempting a whole lot of fatal overdoses. So I dragged my arse to said meeting.


This time I was humble, really broken.


I walked up to the door where there was a bouncer there and he wouldn't let me into the room unless I gave him a hug.

So I gave him a sideways one, checking to make sure he was not stealing my wallet, I took my seat. The first guy who shared his name was Mark. He said: “I don't have a problem with drugs, (of which I got reactive and really wanted to kick him out). So then he said: “No, I have a living problem, Drugs are just a symptom of my disease of addiction. My addiction manifests in drugs, usually after it has manifested in alcohol, in gambling, eating, adrenaline sports, when those other areas become too unmanageable, I pick up drugs, which I find a rapid bottom in.”



This all rang true for me. At this moment I knew I was done for keeps. It was over for sure. I knew it was time to make a change. I went from Vini Testosterone to Vini tears only as all my wreckage of my past came flooding up to haunt me.


This was when I painted the above zebra painting called Individuality in a Sea of Conformity.

2 years went by without keeping a dry eye in a meeting. I heard women, old men, preachers, and everybody in between telling my story, or at least parts that I related to. The separation was over. I was one, interconnected to the heart strings of my brothers and sisters. I was now part of. Part of something so much more than myself. Of which I am still so grateful.


I doodled this sketch while sitting in an NA meeting in my early days.






I painted the above painting for the recovery centre I went through 16 yrs ago called Fresh Start Recovery Center, based of the above sketch.


I have recovered. Recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body, My