“A life without adventure is likely to be unsatisfactory but a life in which adventure is allowed to take whatever form it will is sure to be short.”
~ Bertrand Russell
Lord Russell died in 1970. Wouldn’t some of the new forms of adventure we’ve invented blow his mind? But dumb adventures come in forms as old as humanity, in addition to those more innovative. No doubt we had ancestors who proved their “manhood” by going after saber toothed cats with a piece of sharp flint.
Or, as Joe C. has pointed out, “Many of us will have to stay continually vigilant when indulging in life’s pleasures so that they don’t blindside our sobriety and we don’t get sucked into some new excess.”
Some of us have found it uncomfortably easy to slide from one addictive activity to another. Or sometimes (as is the case with many process addicts–shopping, love and sex, exercise, extreme sports, food, etc.) we fall into essentially the same addictions, manifested differently: “Oh, they’re in recovery too! It’s bound to be different this time!”
Replacement addictions are all over the place, some of them cleverly disguised as being good for us. “I’ll never learn to love if I don’t date!” (What about learning to love ourselves without someone else getting in the way?) “Hey, I was a 90-pound weakling, now I’m big and strong. What’s wrong with three hours a day at the gym, five days a week?” (Ever consider endorphin addiction, poor self-image, body sculpting as an addiction?) “I need this; think of all the use I’ll get out of it!” (Really? Do we have a bit of a shopping addiction happening here–maybe a bit of hoarding too?) Did we stop drinking and drugging only to fall into the morass of porn (if we weren’t already there to begin with)? And so on, and so forth.
It’s true. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, but it needs self-honesty, too, which isn’t as common a commodity as denial. That’s why we have supports, sponsors and the 10th Step. We don’t learn the skillful behaviors overnight, any more than we let go of the unskillful ones quickly.
That’s why they call it working the program.