I’ve learned a few things over the years by going to recovery meetings. And I have heard a lot of ‘suggestions’ as well. I’m going to add one more ‘suggestion’ to the pile: never say ‘I got this’, or ‘I didn’t before but now I get it,’ or ‘I know what I’m doing now,’ or anything similar. It’s usually shared by folks with less than a year in recovery and, unfortunately, they usually stop coming to meetings and go back out.
What we have is a disease that is chronic and will never go away. I’ve learned in the rooms that I can never let down my guard. I must always be vigilant against the urge. I have heard too many people say that everything was going well and suddenly they were slugging directly out of a bottle or sucking on a pipe and couldn’t understand what had happened; the disease happened.
Cunning, baffling, powerful. That is what we hear and it is so true. The disease of addiction is sly in its progress. It says that everything is good and you’re doing fine and that you ‘deserve’ or are ‘entitled’ to a bit of relaxation. Or it tells you that you are doing so well in the program because you’re really not an alcoholic or addict. And down comes the cleaver: back into it again. I have learned that I can’t listen to my thoughts without the filter of my program. The second I say I’ve got this it’s like my mind opens up again to the disease.
“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.” Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 89
Step Twelve of our program asks us to work with others ‘intensively’. That is more than saying hi or sharing at a meeting. It is working with a sponsor or with a sponsee. It’s sitting down one on one with another in your recovery program and working the steps, deepening your knowledge and how to apply it to your own life. Working with others rewards by showing us what we need to do and by reminding us of where we came from. It keeps things fresh. And by keeping it fresh in our minds, we are reminded just how cunning, baffling and powerful this disease of addiction really is.
There is so much depth to the program. I am constantly amazed by people who have 10, 20 or 30 years in their program say at a meeting after reading some program literature that they don’t remember hearing this before. I am amazed at the comment of an old timer who had just over 50 years in recovery state at a meeting that he was still ‘just scratching the surface’ of the program.
So if I get a bit cocky at a meeting and say ‘I got this’ remind me of this blog post. I need to be constantly vigilant and living and sharing my program. Without it I am without defense against that first drug or drink. I am grateful for my program every day and I still have a lot to learn.