Don’t Forget your Program

As the end of the year approaches, it seems that time moves faster. There seems so much that needs to be done and little enough time to complete it. It’s just a perception; the earth doesn’t spin any faster this time of year, but we want to squeeze in so much more in a period of 24 hours. My message today is: don’t forget your program.

When things are moving at a fast past it is so easy to let a meeting or two or seven slip by. Once a couple of days goes by and we feel that we’re okay,  we begin to think that if we made a couple of days without a meeting, we’ll be okay skipping another day. Maybe yes, maybe no. I always have to remember that I am just a couple of bad decisions away from a substance. After that, all bets are off. These holidays are tough for a lot of us. We’re dealing with family: the people who have years of experience at pushing our buttons. And we’re dealing with a lot of expectations, ours and those of others. Depending upon where we live, there may be a blast of nasty weather blown into the mix. This time of year, probably more than any other time, is filled with opportunities to do the next right thing, as well as the next wrong thing, especially where our recovery is involved.

I have a friend in the program from NYC. He’s a great guy who works a good program. One of the things he often shares and that stuck with me is this.  He tells it, “When I came into the program I got a lot of very good suggestions. The were all given freely and free for me to use by members who had a lot more time in the program than I did. I took those suggestions. The only ones I had to pay for were the ones I didn’t take.” Work your program, especially when you don’t feel you have time for it. Make being clean and sober your number one priority. If you put your job, or your family or preparing that perfect Christmas ahead of sobriety, you are putting yourself at risk of losing everything, including all your clean time. Failing to heed this suggestion may turn out to very costly indeed.

Somewhere along the line many of us were told to believe that we had to constantly prove our strength and our worth. You don’t have to do that anymore. You don’t need to prove you’re stronger than your substance by putting yourself in harms way or by tempting yourself. None of us is made of stone. Things affect us. You don’t have to lead yourself into temptation. The old standby slogan of H.A.L.T. is especially true this busy time of year: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Make sure that you treat yourself to what you need in your life: Recovery. Let that be your gift to yourself and your loved ones.

Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël.