Sometimes every fiber in your being is telling you to do something that is the wrong decision for you. Perhaps your emotions are in turmoil and are pointing you in the wrong direction. That can happen when anger takes over and the only response you see is to react and go on the offensive. Maybe you find yourself in a state of fear. Although you know you need to face a particular challenge, all you can do is avoid what must be done.
For the alcoholic, drug or food addict it gets even more complicated. When faced with emotional stress, we often react by wanting to return to our drug of choice to soothe ourselves. Or, we justify reacting in fear, anger or another emotion by saying, “well at least I’m not drinking or drugging”.
When these types of situations occur, we need to remember that we have sober feet. Even if every part of you wants to react improperly, just let your feet do the walking. Let them walk over to the phone to call another member from the fellowship. You might even walk a little bit further and make it to a meeting. Sometimes, you just need to walk away from a challenging life situation and then pray and meditate on what has occurred and how you should react.
Personal Reflection: How do I utilize my sober feet?
Many people prior to entering the program thought they were terminally unique. Their view of the world was often skewed. For instance, because they were often isolators or self absorbed, they really had no idea what was happening with other people. Thus, they often had the attitude that their life was somehow more challenging and difficult than that of the majority of other people. Because of this, they justified their drug of choice as a type of self medication administered because life had dealt them the worst possible hand. They reasoned that if they had been dealt a better hand they wouldn’t have turned to drugs and alcohol.
Upon entering the rooms, they learned some valuable life lessons. They encountered people in the program who had were facing major life crises. These included serious illness, bankruptcy, loss of loved ones and problems with relationships. To the newcomer’s amazement, problems were faced by these people without a drink or a drug or a substance. What really astonished them was that these same people at meetings were able to express gratitude for their lives. Upon seeing and hearing this, the newcomer began to reassess his or her own life. Perhaps their problems weren’t as insurmountable as they had once thought. Given that this was the case, perhaps they could obtain sobriety one day at a time.
Personal Reflection: Do I have enough gratitude?
Recovery comes in various gradations. The most fundamental one of course is that a person has stopped drinking or using his drug of choice. This in and of itself is extremely laudable. Having done so definitely changes a person’s life for the better. The reality though is that so much more is possible. Many a newcomer has said, “Ok, I have stopped using, what else is there to do”? That question will often be answered in a tongue and cheek way. Someone will probably respond and say, “I know a guy who turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable. Now he’s miserable and depressed”. The essence of recovery goes far beyond mere abstinence. If you are still plagued with anger, fear, resentment, shame, jealousy, procrastination et al.; can you really claim to be in a state of recovery. Yes, it’s wonderful that you are not using. But beyond that what types of changes have you witnessed in yourself. Are you just shuffling your character defects around, or have you really begun the work of recovery. If you are still full of negativity upon awakening and when you go to sleep, much more work needs to be done. Why not take the next step in your recovery voyage.
Personal Reflection: Are you still shuffling character defects?
There are so many reasons for not going to a meeting. For the newcomer, many of whom are still in a fog, much of what is being said doesn’t make much sense. They can’t understand why you are talking about your feelings. What does that have to do with drinking, drugs or food? And what are all these references to the twelve steps? For those that have been around for a while, there are also many reasons for not going to a meeting. By this time, seasoned members do “get” the program. However, they come up with “good reasons” for not making a meeting. Now that they have a job, don’t they deserve a break after a hard day at work? Others claim that they need to devote spending more time with their families, often from whom they were estranged in the past.
Whatever the reason, as addicts we need to make meetings. Failure to do so will invariably see an onset of alcoholic behavior. We don’t need to take a drink or a drug to act like we’ve had one. Whenever, we find a reason for not going to a meeting, we need to just point our feet in the right direction. Once there, we will realize that we are in the right place
Personal Reflection: How do I get myself to a meeting when I have an excuse for not going?
Somewhere along our road of recovery we have all entertained the same thought. We say to ourselves, “after X years of sobriety, maybe I could drink, or drug or use again”. This rationalization is all the more attractive to people who had high bottoms. They say, “I didn’t drink every day and I never missed a day of work”. Or, “I only binged or used to excess occasionally”. On the surface, this sounds like it makes a lot of sense. Aren’t we older and wiser now? We weren’t really that bad were we? The reality is that high bottoms have trap doors. Time and time again, people have gone out to test these waters, only to find that their descent into their addiction of choice was rapid and all encompassing. The main reason this happens is that our “isms” pre-dated our using. Although we had worked on ourselves in program, all those character defects came roaring back once we picked up that drink or that drug. In addition, perhaps we had an unrealistic view as to just how high our bottom actually was. Alcoholics and addicts are notorious for minimizing how much they used. Regardless, high or low bottom, the trap door is always waiting to open.
Personal Reflection: Is there a part of me that believes I can use safely?