Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What's On Your List?

At Brothers In Spirit, the NA men's retreat every April in Alfred, Maine, I chaired a workshop on "Letting Go of Backdoor Reservations."  So, what are these "backdoor reservations" of which I should consider letting go?

It started with a list in rehab: "Write down all of things which might happen that would cause you to pick up and use drugs again."

Of course, there was a time in my using when it being Wednesday would be cause enough to use. "I'm awake. That's reason enough." One time, trying my best not to use all on my own, facing yet another wet bar at yet another convention, the reason I found, after two weeks of sobriety, for climbing back into the bottle was, "What the hell."

A sincere effort is different. Rehab, followed by regular attendance of Twelve Step meetings in AA and NA, years of being clean and what are the back doors now? Consider your list carefully because you can almost guarantee that one or more of the things on that list are going to happen to you, because addiction is just that kind of disease. If being blind, losing your job, being thrown out by your spouse, or losing your children would cause you to use, watch out! Your disease considers this its shopping list.

Addiction says:
     1. Nothing comes between my user and the drugs.
     2. My user requires that he first wreck his marriage before he can use again.
     3. So long, marriage.

If you have a list of horrors that you cannot possibly survive without using, addiction will begin attracting those horrors ever closer to you until you do use.

The only safe course? Close all those back doors. Tell yourself, "I don't use, no matter what." You'll probably need to repeat this every now and then. You might even want to talk to your sponsor about it. You don't have a sponsor? You haven't quite made it through those meeting room doors? The clock is ticking.

Instead of making a joke about it on Facebook, or tweeting your buds for some Bud, use that phone to call NA or AA or whatever A program is designed to save your A from addiction. Always ask, "What is my next right step?" and then listen to the answer.

Go make a good day.

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