Addiction and recovery resources article index
Addiction articles index

Addiction & recovery resources. Articles on alcoholism, drug abuse & substance dependence. Information on rehabilitation, detoxification & strategies. Suited to alcoholics, addicts, friends & those interested in the disease of addiction

The Man in the Glass

The joy associated with success is a wonderful aspect of substance addiction recovery. Some of the success points for us that others may not understand include:

- Waking up in the morning remembering what you did the night before
- Getting up and not having to rush to the bathroom (and then deciding which end to use first!)
- The first thought of the day being about other things than booze and drugs
- Getting to work on time...and straight
- Not always looking over your shoulder
- Planning and organizing instead of scheming and plotting
- Having control over your emotions
- Having control over your body
- Feeling more in control of your environment
- Being able to accept failure and to accept responsibility for our mistakes
- Being able to love again
- Looking in the mirror and liking what you see
- Getting to the end of a day without using or drinking

And this is a very, very short list.

If you feel that your recovery isn't going the way you planned, consider the list above. If you have achieved even one of the points, you are a winner! As addicts, we are used to "instant gratification", so recovery can seem at a standstill at times. But every second you put between the substance and yourself is an important leap ahead.

But sometimes we can be so successful in our recovery, that we forget who we are. It's not that I am suggesting that we should whip ourselves eternally for our disease, but we do need to remember that we have our limitations. Success is a very individual perspective, and has brought many a good soul to rack and ruin. With our energy levels raised and motivation at an all time high, we can achieve great things. The old saying "pride before a fall" becomes very relevant. I'm not saying that we should hold back our ambitions and dreams, for they have been on the backburner for too long in our lives - shine on! But if success makes us feel invincible, then the parasite within will begin to stir.

The key is being true to yourself and examining your motivations on a daily basis. Remember that there are only two motivations in life, fear and love. Everything we do during our time on Planet Earth can be traced back to these two simple emotions. And we know where fear took us before.

The following poem was relayed to me many years ago and has become a bit of an affirmation, and the title of my column:

The Guy in the Glass*

by Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934*

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

Dale Wimbrow 1895-1954 (See below)

With these types of affirmations firmly in our minds, we can assure ourselves that it doesn't matter how many mistakes we make along the way - we will never really fail. For a number of us, "people pleasing" and peer group pressure were a couple of reasons that began our journey on the highway to hell in the first place. If we outwardly appear to be "wonderful", yet our hearts become full of resentment, bitterness and hatred; the latter will act as a cancer and destroy whatever we have built.

Michael Bloch

* Permission for the reproduction of "The Guy in the Glass" was very kindly granted to me by the family of Dale Wimbrow. For many years this poem has been attributed to "anonymous", misquoted and misrepresented. I am very glad to finally have the correct version of this poem and be able to give due credit to the author.

Dale Wimbrow's poem had a huge effect upon me over a decade ago and continues to positively affect both myself and others. Dale's gift to the world I am proud to share with others so that they may benefit from the wisdom.

Learn more about Dale Wimbrow and his poem, "The Guy in the Glass" (often incorrectly titled, "The Man in the Glass".

Copyright (c) 2001 - 2007 Taming the Beast -

Learn more about the poem "The Guy In The Glass"
often incorrectly titled - "The Man In The Glass"

Welcome to The Man in the Glass - Addiction and recovery resources - click on the image to return to the Article Index