The longer we stay in recovery, the better our lives get and the easier it gets to forget the pain and chaos of our lives before we got sober. While that may sound like a good thing, it’s not. It’s important for us to always remember where we were before we got sober. We need to remember the madness and mayhem. Why? Because if we forget, it will be easy for us to go back out there if we get complacent. We get to thinking crazy thoughts like, “Oh, I feel better now and I’m stronger now, so I could handle just one.” Let’s face it, the way “we” think isn’t like other people and we WILL find a way to justify picking up if the opportunity pops up. Forgetting that pain and destruction will make it easier for us to give in to that thought when it hits.
Once you take that first drink, your disease has you by the horns and that vicious cycle will once again begin. By remembering your past and all the damage and pain BEFORE you pick that drink up will prevent you from turning a thought into an action. Sure, you could have that drink, but are you prepared to pay the consequences that are sure to follow? THAT’S what you must think about. The consequences that WILL follow. One drink will lead to many and you’re off and running.
We need to remember clearly and without shame or guilt where we were and how bad things got so that we do not want to go back there again. The longer we stay sober, the stronger our disease gets. It’s right behind us doing push-ups and is always looking for the first opportunity to snatch us back up. Remembering the wreckage of our past and what our drinking has done not only to us but other people is imperative to remember.
The best way to remember where we’ve been is to sponsoring another alcoholic. A newcomer is the best reminder. You’ve been where they are and it takes you back to that time. Get involved in service work and tell your story to others who are still suffering. Your pain from alcoholism and your sobriety will give others hope. It’s like paying it forward.
Our biggest downfalls, will one day become our biggest assets. That’s hard to believe in the beginning. Once we start thinking with a clear head, we realize the extent of the damage we’ve caused and we just want to put it behind us and forget. But it’s that wreckage that can help another person who suffers. They need to hear that they aren’t alone in the wreckage of the past and they need to see that it’s possible to survive it. They need to see that we no longer wallow in it nor do we feel the shame and guilt that we did before. “We” need to give back what was so freely given to us. THAT’S what helps us to stay sober and THAT’S why we can never forget.
It doesn’t matter how low we have sunk or how much damage we’ve caused, using the tools that we learn in sobriety allows us to remember the pain without feeling the shame or the guilt. Our past becomes teaching tools to both us and others.
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist