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Terminally Unique

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

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 life today no longer has the triggers, and my traumas are very minimized, some not even existent in my consciousness anymore due to all the work in recovery I have done, and all the outside work I've done. I became a personal development junkie, and therapies and counselling became my prerogative.

So, now blessed with a service filled with a heart of gratitude, I bring my gifts out to the world. Don't get me wrong,

I still get high all the time, and service is my drug of choice

that has no hangovers, no wreckage of my past to deal with as I promptly deal with it as it comes on a daily basis. A frickin great life beyond my wildest imagination. To be this level of gratitude and to be able to carry this frequency despite what happens in my outside world is, well, unbelievable. Yeah I'm still unique, a special incarnation of my Creator, with special giftedness to serve others. The terminal part is no longer as I am one with my recovery family, and now the bigger human family.. For the most part, I am no longer reactive, I have developed response-ability, a term we created here at LoveAlive during the development of our Secrets to Thriving Relationships course.

Today I facilitate Wellbriety talking circles, which is a circle where people can talk about

their lives problems. Many people from recovery come and talk there as well as that is what wellbriety was started for. It connects community with recovery, and gives insights as to how we all have some aspects of addiction happening for us.

This painting is from my black light period as an artist where I was immersed painting in black light realms for 3 years. This is all basis of Transformative Artistry that we teach here at LoveAlive, as all our gatherings have some form of creative expression through dance, song, painting, music, and experiential exercises, allowing us to access to the higher frequencies, and hold them for longer periods of time, what we call the realms of infinite possibilities - in deep connection.

I also facilitate Wellbriety Men’s step groups, A 6 month in depth look at the recovery 12 step model woven in with the medicine wheel teachings and elder meditations. We end just in time for ceremony season to begin in May when we begin to harvest medicines and prepare for hamblichi (vision quest) to prep for the Wachipi ceremony (Sundance).

I facilitate Men’s Peaceful Warrior circles, where men come to the man cave of vulnerability, as vulnerability is the greatest of all strengths. Lots of recovery from addictions is spoken of there in a therapeutic setting.

If these deeper spiritual processes speak to you, or a generalized Men's group with therapeutic interventions available speaks to you, feel free to reach out here


Vince Wishart

An experienced facilitator, NLP Life Coach, Registered Therapeutic Counsellor, community builder, Vince has been running men's groups for 6+ years. Read Vince’s Full Bio


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