Recovery as an Autistic addict: Forging your own path

As an Autistic person, I prefer things to be black and white, yes or no, good or bad. This made life all-the-more complicated when I was embarking on my journey into addiction recovery.

Recovery from addiction is a world of grey areas. This monochromatic world however, is dominated by people who insist that it IS black and white.

“Come to us! We have the only thing that will save you!” They cry.

“If you don’t work this program, you will die or be institutionalised”.

The twelve-steppers insist that they have the answer, while others will tell you that the twelve-step program is a cult. Some will tell you that only abstinence from everything can save you, while others will tell you that moderation is key.

The truth is, you have to find your own way through recovery. Experiment, try different things, see what works for you.

Having the support of your peers is a good start, but ultimately recovery is a solitary journey. By our solipsistic nature, no other human will fully understand your journey.

And thus is the comundrum of being an autistic addict in recovery. Yet another way that recovery systems are not designed for us.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an Autistic consultant and trainer, educating on the topics of Autistic experience, mental health, and drug and alcohol use. He has several years experience in this area as well as personal lived experience. You can find out more about his consultancy services at

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