Monday, September 22, 2014

NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER SURRENDER!

I heard it again at a meeting. "You'll never win your fight with addiction until you surrender." A dozen different ways, this sentiment is stock advice at Twelve Step programs meaning: Doing it yourself your own way hasn't worked, isn't working, and won't work in the future. Turning the treatment of your disease over to the program is the "surrender" referred to in slogans and advice.


When addicts seeking recovery first hear this, it doesn't sound right. If I'm in a fight with a disease, the answer is to surrender? Surrender to what?It doesn't sound right because, in my opinion, it isn't right. I remember quite clearly my first surrender to the disease of addiction. I was looking in my bathroom mirror getting ready to, once again, take those damned pills. I looked deeply into the reflection of my own eyes, realizing that I was addicted to those pills just as I was addicted to alcohol."I guess this is just one more thing I'll have to put up with," I said. White flag up, I surrendered unconditionally, no more looking for answers, no more fight left in me. That, brothers and sisters, is surrender.


So how, then, did I get and stay clean? Okay, what my little army had to throw into my battle against addiction was woefully inadequate. What I needed were allies; strong, reliable allies with excellent fighting credentials and winning records. A rehabilitation center was my introduction to the allies I needed in my war against addiction. First I needed soldiers and a plan (12 Steps, meetings, other recovering addicts, and not picking up). Second, I needed a pathfinder to show me where the sound footing was and to steer me away from the quicksand, blind canyons, and thin ice. I would learn to call this ally a "sponsor." Third, I needed heavy artillery and a medical unit: Some sort of power that can shield me when I'm under attack, heal me when I'm wounded, and that can locate the me that wants to be a human being instead of a slave. I would learn to call that ally my Higher Power.


Don't surrender; Make alliances that can keep you clean and contain your enemy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MAY YOU BE SAFE FROM DRAGONS

The Dragon Slayers group of Narcotics Anonymous in Farmington, Maine is the oldest continuous NA meeting in the state. Its first meeting was held in a college girl's apartment September 7th, 1982. For the past twenty years or so it has met Tuesday nights at the Henderson Memorial Baptist Church. The group got its name due to several members referring to the disease of addiction and/or the desire to use drugs as "The Dragon."


One time after a meeting, an old-timer saying his goodbyes said to a newcomer, "May you be safe from dragons."


The newcomer, unfamiliar with the Dragon Slayers' frame of reference, said "Some big wish; Dragons don't exist."


The old-timer smiled and said, "There you go; The wish worked."


Our dragons, addiction & cravings, exist. The cravings usually fade away with time clean---off all mood altering substances. Addiction never goes away. Feed the dragon only a little of what it demands, and the next thing you know, not only has the dragon eaten your lunch, it's eaten you, and everything and everyone you hold dear.


When certain thoughts cross your mind, like, "If I skip one or two meetings, I won't use," or, "The real problem was alcohol, if I just smoke dope and stay away from the booze," or "It really wasn't all that bad," remember to sniff the air for dragon smoke because Green and Mean is right behind you.