"Do you mean it's not all sweetness and light once I stop using and enter a program of recovery?" you might ask.
"Life on life's terms." It's hard to get through a meeting or a talk with one's sponsor without hearing that phrase at least once: Life on life's terms. During our using, life's terms seemed too steep and we were in the market for a better deal. Life on addiction's terms, however, turned out to be much more steep and quite a bit more brief. So we stumble into the program, start going to meetings, put down the chemicals, and then discover that all of the stuff we avoided or put off during our using days is still there. Oh joy.
Comedian Bill Cosby pointed out that pain killers do not kill pain; they only postpone it, allowing little "pain buddies" to gather and really kill you when the anesthetic wears off. It only seems like life saved up all its problems to drop on us in early recovery. The problems have always been there; when we were using, however, either we didn't notice them or didn't give a crap. But now we're clean and---Oh no! Illness, legal problems, unemployment, underemployment, suicide bombers, the dollar going down, prices going up, relationships, career glitches, armed debt collectors for past purchases, friends and loved ones dying, your favorite TV show gets cancelled, your sponsor doesn't return your phone call, the dog gets into the garbage can, you runn out of dental floss, and on and on and on . . .
What to do? In the program, meetings and literature, we hear about the tools of recovery. Recovery is a structure that needs to be built. Building requires tools, and in the program we have a most effective set: Pick up that ten-ton telephone and call your sponsor (and if you don't have a sponsor yet, go get one NOW). Read the Basic Text, Just For Today, one of the dozens of Information Pamphlets, telephone another addict, do something nice for someone else, volunteer for NA service work, ask your HP for help (and if you don't have an HP (Higher Power) yet, go get one NOW), write about your problem, ask yourself "What can I do about this situation?" and begin planning how to make a dent in the problem, say the Serenity Prayer and listen to what the words mean, go to a meeting, share at the meeting (and if you haven't been going to meetings, go get your ass into a meeting ASAP).
We have a disease that knows if we get miserable enough, we'll go out and use. Letting life's challenges pile up on us until we get crushed makes us miserable. So, we deal with the problems, one-at-a-time, as they come at us, with the proper tools, and we don't use. It's not always fun, but it's a way better deal than you get with active addiction.
A friend of mine passed this along to me: It's a link that brings you the Just For Today reading for today: http://www.jftna.org/jft/index.php Copy it into your electronic device and you'll always have it handy, as long as you keep your device charged.
Funny. It works that way with us as individuals, as well: We will always have recovery handy, as long as we keep ourselves charged up. And where and how do we get charged up? Meetings, phone calls, contact with sponsors, reading program literature, working the Steps, doing program service work, doing 12th Step work, and not picking up one-day-at-a-time.
They asked the oldtimer how he managed to acquire his forty-five years of clean time. He answered: "I didn't use and I didn't die; the two are connected."
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