Reservations, Powerlessness and Surrender

I surrender!

Reservations are little ideas, beliefs and loopholes that we leave for ourselves. We reserve the right to hang on to them, not realizing that we are really protecting some aspect of our addiction. Most of us started recovery with some reservations. They may have gone like this:

  • Opiates are my problem, a little drink now and then won’t hurt me;
  • Alcohol just about ruined my life. I don’t ever want to drink again–of course, I’ll still smoke a little weed when I’m feeling stressed;
  • I don’t relate well to other women, so I’ll need a male sponsor;
  • If my mother died, I don’t see how I could handle it without picking up;
  • They say we’re as sick as our secrets, but they can’t mean everything. I’ll never talk about that!
  • They say no relationships for the first year, but a hookup isn’t a relationship!
  • But I’ve found my soul mate! (Another one?)

We may be sincere about wanting recovery, and may be working diligently toward it: going to meetings, doing step work, and almost giving ourselves fully over to the program’s recommendations. But as long as we hold reservations, consciously or unconsciously, we are fooling ourselves.

One of the worst effects of reservations is that this kind of thinking keeps us from bonding with other recovering people. Recovery works because we are a fellowship with a common purpose: to stay clean and sober, and learn how to live that way. We do this by accepting that we can’t do it on our own, and that we need the guidance and support of others who have been successful at what we want to do. Reservations  prevent us from developing the close, trusting relationships that make those things possible.

Fighting is so much a part of addiction—fighting for the next fix, the next drink, the time to use, protecting our ability to keep getting high—that we forget how to stop fighting. When we are able to relax and stop struggling, we begin to gain the benefits of our recovery program, along with a huge sense of relief.

The problem is that we may still be trying to control our addiction, when what we really need is to let go of that control, let go of our reservations, accept the reality that our addiction is far more powerful than we are, and that we must move away from our addiction, not stay and fight.

Once we are able to surrender, the feeling of relief is amazing! We are no longer forced to twist our thinking around so that we can try to have things two ways at once. We no longer push, push, push back against our program. We no longer have to deal with the stress of always trying to be right in the face of massive evidence to the contrary. We are, at last, able to relax and recover.

We must surrender before we can win!

As Sick As Our Secrets

Addiction is all about secrets.  By the same token, recovery is about letting sunshine and fresh air into the hidden corners of our souls.  In addiction we build ourselves a little fantasy world, a totally imaginary place where we go to hide when we act out. Continue reading “As Sick As Our Secrets”

An Unsolicited Plug

For several reasons I make it a point not to review books or accept ads, “infographics,“ and guest posts on this blog, except in extremely rare situations.  When I tried it the first one led to more, and to requests that didn’t meet my standards (never easy to refuse for a codependent like me), plus other complications, like conflicts of interest, etc.  I don’t like hassles, and promoting business in whatever fashion is not the purpose of this site.  However, it’s my blog, and I occasionally make exceptions for myself when I think it’s important enough.  This is one of those times.

My long-time readers will probably have noticed the blurb in the sidebar for Joe C’s book, Beyond Belief, Agnostic Musings For 12-Step Life.  No doubt the word “agnostic” turned some of them off.  I’d like to comment on that, and explain why the ad, recommendation, or whatever you want to call it is there.

Continue reading “An Unsolicited Plug”

Thought for the day 6/10/17

This is a good day for gratitude and what-ifs: what if Bill had been offended by Bob’s issues with other drugs; what if Bill had just taken the drink he so desperately wanted, instead of looking for an alternative? What if they just hadn’t been sympatico – the high-pressure Easterner and the Midwestern physician? Would I still have my sobriety to be grateful for? What about my other 12-step fellowships? 

Happy 82nd Birthday AA!

Am I Really “In Recovery”?

frog-on-a-log-clipart-1At most meetings of anonymous fellowships we have “go arounds”, where attendees identify themselves and assure one another that they are qualified to be present.  We hear “My name is Eddie, and I’m an alcoholic,” or “My name is Freida, and I’m addicted to gambling,” or “I’m Bill, in recovery from sex addiction,” or “I’m Larry, and I’m qualified to be here.”

Only Bill claims to be in recovery, and yet on closer inspection it may turn out that he’s merely attending meetings, while Larry — whose only claim is that he’s qualified to be here — may, indeed, be truly “in” recovery.

What does it mean, to be in recovery?  Continue reading “Am I Really “In Recovery”?”

TANSTAAFL

TANSTAAFLAddicts don’t do waiting well.  It’s not natural for us to wait.  We’re used to looking ahead to the next drink, drug, romantic encounter, twinkie, sale, thrill or what have you, and we want it right now!

The culture we live in doesn’t help.  It encourages us to take the easy route to — whatever.  We are told that the next easy, fun, fulfilling, better experience is just around the corner, if only we spend, read the next quick fix book by the current guru, try the latest designer beer, buy that Rolex.  We come to believe that life would be just great if we had that new car, pair of shoes, tried out that new restaurant, could get a date with that…you get the idea. Continue reading “TANSTAAFL”