[I’ve been more-or-less absent from the blog for several months due to surgery in the family, among other things. All’s well there, and with any luck I’ll be back to my regular lackadaisical posting. Thanks for your patience.]
When we begin to “get on with our lives,” or “make up for lost time,” or study to become an addiction guru — whatever — we can easily drift away from our program. We feel good, our finances are becoming something like organized, and we’re generally busy and entertained by the stuff of our lives. We begin to think that we can handle it all.
The idea that we can somehow cure a chronic disease can be problematic and sometimes tragic. People feel better so they stop taking the medications that got them that way. We addicts stop taking care of ourselves in the ways that got us moving forward. We get stressed, lose focus on what’s really important, and begin the slide toward relapse.
When that happens (assuming that we survive) many of us are ashamed to go to a meeting and admit that we messed up — the worst possible decision we can make. We need to hit the brakes and return to the basics that brought our success to begin with, getting back on the path to sobriety with meetings, phone calls, fellowship, sponsor, Steps, meditation, daily inventory and so forth. Relapse is part of addiction, and everyone at the meeting has been there or come terrifyingly close. All we’re really doing is admitting to ourselves and other people that we’re no better than any other “bozo on the bus.”
Why did we forget where we came from? It’s because we are wired to forget pain. We automatically push such memories aside, and that’s why we are able to get back on the horse, or deliver a second child, or drag ourselves up and dive back into the scrum on the field of life. But those of us who made a habit of addictively suppressing pain in whatever way possible are even more likely to do it, and that’s why our “built-in forgetter” makes us so prone to backsliding.
Our programs are there to help us stay sane by keeping us in good spiritual, physical and emotional health. We put them on the back burner at our peril.