I humbly apologize for being away for a hot minute. It seems that I got sober and I became responsible and extremely busy…LOL
Living in sobriety can be a tricky thing. For some people, the very beginning of their recovery is the hardest. You have to break through the walls of denial, some go through withdrawals, still other’s have a problem getting out of their own heads in order to move forward. I can only speak for myself when I say for “me” the beginning was fairly easy. After seeing that video tape of my last drunk, there was no more denial I could hide behind. I instantly became ready to do whatever I needed to do in order to achieve sobriety. It didn’t matter if I understood the process at the time, I did it because my sponsor suggested it.
For “me” the journey in recovery / sobriety went like this;
The first year I was like a newborn child, seeing everything for the first time. Up until that point, I saw everything in black and white. My blinders were taken off and then it was like BAM! I was seeing everything in Techno-color! There was a lot of Ohhhhhh’s and Ahhhhhh’s in addition to wondering why I hadn’t ever noticed these things before. My first year was a huge roller coaster of emotions and enlightenment. I soaked everything I’d learned like a sponge and I felt brand new.
The second year, my attitude, although still a positive one, shifted to “Holy shit, everything is REAL!” I had to put everything I’d learned into motion and use the tools I’d been given. It was like studying extremely hard that first year, then being set out into the real world and having to put what you’ve been taught to full use. There were trials and tribulations, but as long as I continued to use the tools I’d been given, I’d maintain my sobriety and things seemed to fall into place. I’d discovered a true freedom that I’d never felt before. My life seemed to become less and less complicated and I discovered things about myself I never knew existed. Even though, I was in my 40’s, I was like a young adult leaving home for the first time and discovering life.
The third year was very similar to the second. I continued to follow the program I’d been taught. As a result, I noticed I regained respect that I had lost from others. In addition, I began to gain back trust as well. I suddenly became responsible. I was no longer self-centered, selfish or egotistical. I discovered that I had truly found “humility” to be a good thing. Thinking more of others than of myself became second nature to me rather than a chore. HOWEVER COMMA….I’d go through bouts of complacency where I felt “I don’t have to call my sponsor every day, I don’t have to go to so many meetings or follow the suggestions quite as much. I would start to get this “I got this” kind of train of thought. Fortunately for me, I recognized that as a dangerous thing, and as soon as those thoughts started to pop in my head, I knew enough to go back to the basics BEFORE I relapsed and HAD to go back to the basics.
I’m well into my Fourth year now. I’m well aware that there is no “cure” for alcoholism or addiction, therefore, I have to use the tools I’ve been taught every day for the rest of my life. I have my days where that reality can be frustrating. Not impossible, but frustrating. Although it does not happen often, I do go through my bouts of feeling as though it’s not fair that I have to follow the guidelines that the rest of the world seems to completely ignore. I don’t have the luxury of expressing anger the way I used to, I have to maintain my composure and not act on impulse the way I once did, I can’t take control of situations and find myself wanting to. When these episodes hit me, I instinctively know that I once again, need to go back to the basics. Not only within my one program, but it’s extremely important for me to work closely with another alcoholic or addict. I need to stick close to my roots and be reminded as to WHY it’s important for me to continue to stay on the path my sobriety has put me on. My self will run riots if I let it, and my best thinking got me in that situation in the first place. If open the door to the old me even just a little bit, it won’t be long before that old me will bust out and be running crazy. My old ways of thinking, my old ways of doing things, my old ways in general is what got me in this situation to begin with. My sobriety has given me a life I never knew existed and I’m more than fond of the life I’ve been given.
It’s easy to get complacent, but I’m grateful that I recognize it and can correct my train of thought and do the about-face. Is it always easy? Hell no! But for me, it’s an absolute necessity. The truth of the matter is this; if I allow myself to give into my old ways of thinking, it won’t be too long before I’m back out there. In addition to letting everyone including myself down, I will surely drink myself to death. I can say in all honesty that I DO have another relapse in me, but I don’t have another recovery. If I go back out, I WILL die. That’s not an option for me. I’m recovering, but I’ll never be “recovered” my disease will be with me for the rest of my life. The longer I stay sober, the stronger and more patient it gets. Just sitting in the dark waiting for me to unlock the door. By the grace of God, I managed to lock that door, and it will be by the grace of God that I will continue to do what must be done in order to keep that door locked.
I may not always want to call my sponsor, I may not always want to go to meetings or teach my classes. I may not always want to pick up the phone when a sponsee calls me. But it was those things that got me where I am today. Should I ever forget that, I’m dead. Pure and simple. If you are new in recovery, it would be a good thing that you remember that. Recovery is NOT something you can do all by your lonesome, and it’s NOT something you can do just until you start to feel better. It’s a lifetime thing. When you deal with your disease head on, it knows it can’t come at you head on, so it will over time, come at you sideways to remind you that it’s still there waiting for you to fold.
September 30, 2014
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist