If you don’t want to slip, stay out of slippery places.
Heard around the rooms
No plan survives contact with the enemy.
Ageless Military Adage
It is in the nature of human beings to try out new things. We hate change, but we love discovery. While this has led us to great advances, it can also get us into big trouble. Another adage that comes to mind is “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
Most of us wouldn’t stick our hands into a hole to find out if there were snakes in it. There are certain assumptions that add up to something like holes that might contain snakes should be dealt with by people who know what they’re doing. Common sense, right?
For some reason, we addicts sometimes seem to be unable to apply the same kind of logic to our sobriety. We’re excited about being free of our cravings, so we test ourselves to find out if the freedom is real.
I spent about 50 years (roughly from age 18 to 68) being controlled by one addiction or another. I started with chemical addictions and ended with process addictions. Which ones don’t matter for the purposes of this discussion, but I’ve covered some of those gory details elsewhere. The point is, taking chances was a way of life. If I continue to take chances, instead of acting like a sober person, how likely is it that I’ll fall back into the behaviors that were a part of my life for so long?
And obviously, if I take chances related to my addiction, I’m playing with rattlesnakes.
I’ve seen it happen so many times — to others and to myself. We get to feeling better, so we stop taking our medications. We feel confident (or convince ourselves that we are) and go driving down familiar streets, visiting familiar places, doing familiar things, hanging out with the old crowd, and subjecting ourselves and our sobriety to unnecessary challenges. When we make it back to relative safety, we congratulate ourselves on our success. Rarely do we think to consider our stupidity.
And a good percentage of us don’t make it back out of the combat zone. Because no plan survives contact with the enemy, even though — sometimes — we get lucky.