I was at a meeting last night where the subject was defiance. I don’t recall ever having heard that suggested as a topic before, but it’s certainly a good one! Defiance is the earmark of many a newcomer’s early program, and I have exhibited a bit myself from time to time
It’s perfectly natural when you think about it. Addicts don’t like to be told what to do, especially when it threatens the deep-seated need to use that we have in early recovery. We haven’t yet replaced the “comfort” of our addiction with the relief of recovery, and while our conscious mind is telling us that we want to quit, the rest of it is saying “Help! We need our drug!” Put the two together and you’re likely to find a certain…ah…resistance in the average newcomer when a bunch of relative strangers start making suggestions.
But, while natural, that defiance can kill. The most important part of early recovery – – apart from abstinence – – is the willingness to become teachable If we don’t take the good suggestions early on (get numbers, make several calls a day, go to lots of meetings, get a sponsor, work the steps and all that) we are putting our recovery at great risk – – and these things do not come naturally! What comes naturally is the inclination to let the same person who messed up our life run our recovery, a decision fraught with peril, to say the least.
So we need to work at overcoming that defiance at all costs. We do that by reminding ourselves that our best thinking and decisions got us into the situation where we need to recover from something, and realizing that a lot of that something is our own stubbornness. We do it by showing some humility, with the understanding that humility isn’t the same thing as humiliation, with which we’re all too familiar. And we take little steps, first daring to trust enough to make that first phone call, share that first confidence, make that first connection, and then we go on from there, one day at a time.