Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dr. Rosen:  You can't think this away.
John Nash:  Why not, why can't I?
Dr. Rosen:  Because your mind is where the problem is in the first place.
--Beautiful Mind

            Eventually I will figure out my addiction.  Sometimes I have a break in sobriety and when I come I really start to get this thing.  I really understand this time what my addiction is about, how my addiction traps me, how I can protect myself.

            That would be great.  To find the answer to my addiction would be terrific.  But thinking that I can or will find the answer to my addiction is flawed for me.  For a few reasons.  First, such a thought does not take into account the First Step.  I will always be powerless over my addiction – no amount of learning or observation or thinking will change that.  That doesn’t mean that knowing my triggers and knowing my weaknesses is unhelpful.  But that information is most useful in the context of my ongoing admissions of powerlessness.

            The second flaw in the ‘figure it out’ theory is that I have one consciousness. And as I have proven to myself over and over again, my one consciousness is flawed, even on my very best day, with addictive thinking.  And this allows me to take the greatest leap, the leap that puts me entirely outside the realm of the thought and into the realm of faith.  My most reliable path in recovery:  stay on god’s path, and let go of my thinking solution.

My brain is a dangerous neighborhood, I will not go there alone.


Aaronow:  I get nervous when I talk to the police.
Roma:  You know who doesn’t?
Aaronow:  No.
Roma:  Thieves.
--Glengarry Glen Ross

            My how we lied.  Sometimes practiced and rehearsed; sometimes spontaneous improvisation.  With every line of bull, we feared our uncovering.  And yet somehow, we managed to pull it off.  And with each lie came the relief of not being caught.  And the reward or punishment for the lie:  more addiction.  And the guilt of the ongoing charade.  And with each round of deception we knew one solid truth – the only way out of the trap of addiction would be to finally, one day, tell the truth.

            The truth may have come with a bold move of honesty.  Or it may have come when the weight of the decades of lies collapsed on itself.  In either case, we had the chance to be free, to live life with one less burden.  To stop the insult of asking our loved ones to continue to believe our lies.  And all of that energy that had been bound up in maintaining those lies?  We have a new use for the energy:  the daily choice to stay in recovery; the act of following higher power’s path; the clearing of wreckage as we follow our sponsor’s guidance to work the steps of recovery.

 To tell the truth is to break free from addiction.


Knight:  Nothing escapes you.
Death:  Nothing escapes me.
--The Seventh Seal

            In addiction, we cheated death.  With every rail, every binge, every drunken blackout, every painful throat scraping purge, every encounter with an anonymous sexual partner, we faced the real possibility of our death.  And every time, we went for the addiction.  How many times did I look at the source of my drug and I say to myself, “He looks safe,” or “She looks healthy”?  Wishing my way into my addictive high and walking directly past the reality of my situation:  drug dealers are not safe, repeated forced vomiting can be deadly, sexually transmitted diseases can strike anyone and can be detected only by testing, not by the attractiveness of the sex partner.

            With some distance from the insanity of addiction and with the experience, strength and hope of recovering addicts, we can see that we are lucky we made it this far; we are lucky we made it to the program.  We will die someday, of course.  And we can face eventual death with acceptance of ourselves as addicts and acceptance of our higher power’s care.  For that is the only way we made it through, by god’s grace.

God is keeping me sober, just as God kept me alive through my addiction.


Paul:  It must be nice to always believe you know better.  To think you're always the smartest person in the room.
Jane:  No, it's awful. 
--Broadcast News

            Some of the smartest people I have ever met are in the rooms of Twelve Step recovery.  All that intelligence proved a huge burden in my addiction.  Because I thought I could use my intelligence to control my addiction..  I would think, it won’t get me this time if I just do a little bit.  If I use my head this time, I can control this outcome.

            The truth is that trying to control addiction is like trying to ride a bull.  I may stay on for a bit, but eventually I will be thrown off.  And unless there is someone there to help me, there’s a good chance that when I land I will be very badly hurt.

            The reality is that I do not know better than my addiction?  I cannot control it and I cannot cheat the consequences or unmanageability of addiction.  If I start again right now, if I start drinking again, or drugging again, or paying for sex, or looking at pornography or eating compulsively, I just don’t know when I will stop.  It may be in a day or a few days, or it may be in a few weeks, or it may be in 7 years.  Or it just might never stop.  So my best way forward?  I can choose to not start and stay on the path my higher power and my program offer me every day.

I can use my intelligence at work, on crossword puzzles and in card games, for recovery I will stay on the bus and ride with the program.

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