Sunday, March 25, 2012


"Life's tough, kid, and it's tougher if you're stupid."

The above quotation, a variety of which is most often attributed to John Wayne, came from The Friends of Eddie Foyle.  John Wayne is also attributed as having originated the following quotation: "If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow."

The value of the second quotation to the problem of staying clean is marginal, since it is the main credo of every addiction of which I know. When alcohol had me by the litchi nuts, my heart and mind definitely followed. When I first got clean, however, my heart and mind were still trying to make up their minds. It frightens me to think about my early and quite naive bargaining and negotiations with Death, not understanding until much later that Death does not negotiate.

The world of recovery is made up out of two groups of persons: Active addicts and recovering addicts. Active addicts use; Recovering addicts don't. Active addicts are playing leapfrog with Death; Recovering addicts have stopped playing games with the disease of addiction. You never want to play leapfrog with a guy who's carrying a scythe.

There are problems in life, and as an old sponsor of mine once put it: "Recovery is one long exercise in applying the Serenity Prayer."

For those not familiar with the abbreviated version of Reinhold Niebuhr's untitled prayer used in Twelve Step programs, it goes like this:

God, grant me Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.

I can't change that I'm an addict. I can't change what I need to do to remain in recovery from addiction. If I accept those two things and do what I need to do, I thrive, mostly. If I decide to go to war with the facts of reality, well, I'm back to playing leapfrog with a guy who packs a three foot-long blade and doesn't like to lose.

I know better. Since I know better, the only way I can convince myself that going back out is a good idea is through that self imposed blindness and ignorance we call Stupidity.

"Life's tough, kid, and it's tougher if you're stupid."

Today I'm going to do what I know I need to do for my recovery, let go of outcomes, and have a great day. I hope you have one, too.

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