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Leopards Never Change Their Spots

By Abby Wirick, Peer Support Specialist

This story was inspired by a conversation with a co-worker. She was talking about her ex-husband and his addictions. I said “It can be mighty hard for a leopard to change his spots.”
To which she replied, sadly and sincerely, “Leopards never change their spots.”

I wanted to share this story because I know that there are many good people who feel the same way about addicts and alcoholics. I don’t hold it against them. It doesn’t make them bad people; just uninformed. Maybe if they see this story it will give them some hope.



Once upon a time there was a leopard. He was crafty and handsome, and he loved the spots on his soft coat. They made him feel better about, well, everything.

One day, after many years of increasing troubles and pain, the leopard had a moment of clarity. “These spots of mine, as much as I’ve loved having them, have been the cause of so much heartache and grief. My wife hates them. My children hate them. They really haven’t been making me feel better for a very long time. I’ve got to change them!”
So, the leopard began to search for others like him, who might understand his plight. He looked in the phone book and found something called “Spots Anonymous”, which sounded promising. The Leopard made the phone call and began to go to the places where their groups were meeting.

Shortly, he found a group of others like him and asked them, “What must I do to relieve this guilt and remorse?! I’ll do anything to stop the pain and madness!” They told him of a way that he would begin to feel better without relying on his spots, and soon he realized that he didn’t need them anymore. He decided that changing his spots, even if it took hard work, would be worth it. His family was worth it, and his peace of mind was most certainly worth it. By following a few suggestions and taking some steps, the Leopard slowly started to see things changing. As strange and foreign as it was to him, he followed the other Leopards’ suggestions, and started feeling a bit better. The steps that the other Leopards had taken to relieve their Spot-induced pain lead him to a place so wonderful that he could never have imagined it!! And so, the leopard with the changed spots, lived happily ever after, one day at a time.