For sex, love and fantasy addicts, slips are often the rule for months–even years–before a person ends up with solid sobriety. People usually get to the “S” programs via one of two paths: a vague feeling that maybe they need to change their behavior, or a relatively catastrophic event that exposes them to extreme pressure from spouses, family, often friends, and that can affect their employment and even lead to severe legal issues.
- Am I getting to enough meetings?
- Do I have plenty of phone numbers?
- Do I make daily calls to others in recovery?
- Do I have a daily routine: reading, meditation, journaling?
- Do I review my day and consider my skillful and unskillful ways?
- Have I determined my bottom lines, worked on the Three Circles or considered my addictive habits with the help of another person?
- Have I examined the behaviors that lead up to acting out in my addiction and made necessary changes?
- Do I have a sponsor?
- Do I meet regularly with my sponsor?
- Am I making regular progress on the Steps?
- Am I enjoying fellowship; having some fun?
- Am I changing for the better, or just marking time?
Are we in recovery, or just abstinent? Are we just hanging around the edges talking the talk, but not walking the walk?
[Believe me — I’ve done all this stuff at one time or another!]
Is our program not working for us? Are we in recovery, or just abstinent? Are we just hanging around the edges talking the talk, but not walking the walk?
Are we hiding behind our intellect, thinking that we know more about how to “fix” ourselves than all those “uneducated” people in the rooms? Continue reading “Is My Ego Getting In My Way?”
I recently changed my morning reading habits a bit. For the past few years I’ve been depending mostly on meditation books that were broken down into relatively small pieces, and reading other inspirational (or whatever) books in larger chunks.
This year I picked out two books in addition to the one I’ve been using for a couple of years–books not laid out in a daily reading format–and determined to treat them the same way, taking them in small, easily digestible chunks and then meditating on those readings, instead of trying to cram my head full as has been my habit for most of my life.
I read a few pages at most, stopping at what seems a reasonable point. Sometimes I read only a few paragraphs; on one occasion, only a couple of sentences. I find that I’m getting far more out of the basic text of one of my fellowships, for example, than I ever got when reading a chapter at a time. Cutting it into small chunks makes it far easier to digest and see how it applies to me. It seems that I do better with less to think about, rather than more; with small ideas, rather than big chunks. (In fact the eating/chewing/digesting analogy seems to fit perfectly, now that I think of it.)
This leads me to a problem that I’ve had with “big book” and similar meetings since back in the Dark Ages. Continue reading “The Big Book Races”
One of the biggest differences between addiction and sobriety is that truly sober people are able to accept pleasure’s natural ebb and flow.
As much as we might like to have it otherwise, healthy pleasure isn’t constant. Pleasure is the body’s way of rewarding us for doing things that benefit survival of our offspring and ourselves. When pleasure becomes the norm, rather than the reward, the system breaks down. We begin to pursue pleasure for its own sake, to the neglect of nature’s original intentions. Continue reading “Post-acute Withdrawal–Why The Quick Fixes Don’t Work”
Every now and then I’ll run into one of two situations at a 12-Step meeting:
- Someone will read a statement about “our primary purpose” requesting that sharing be confined to such-and-such a topic; or
- Someone will comment “We don’t talk about that, this is ____ Anonymous”.
Generally speaking. I don’t have an issue with the first, although I think it ignores reality to a remarkable degree. But if the issue is carried over to the second it’s another matter. If a group has a problem with talk about other issues, the proper way to handle it is for someone to take the so-called offender aside after the meeting, and gently explain the rule and why it exists (if they can). That should be a policy arrived at by the group conscience, not an individual or the service office. As AA puts it, “Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.” [Emphasis mine.] Continue reading “The Only Requirement…”
[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.