Thursday, October 03, 2013


Recovery from addiction is a team effort. Some addicts choose to go with a short team (themselves and meetings only); Some addicts go with a long team piling on everything and everybody that might help achieve another day clean. My team consists of myself, meetings, a Higher Power, some relaxed Step work, a bit of service work, a sponsor, and using all of the above. My team, sometimes with gaps, more often full, has kept me clean for thirty-one years, thirty-two years come this December 30th. It saved me from the nightmare and has given me a life of honor, fulfillment, and big gobs of joy. So, why mess with it?

My sponsor of twenty-eight years died. His name was Larry, he was old, had health problems, but he inspired a lot of lives and helped keep many of us on track with his wisdom, experience, humor, and occasional ass kicking. He was a very valuable person, one of those who seemed indispensable, but the powers that govern such things didn't see things the same way we did, and he died.

Ask the manager of any baseball or football team, or the captain of any military combat unit: "When a member of your team goes down, what do you do?"

You replace the missing member. Duh!

So, what did I do? I left that position open for a year waiting for God to admit his blunder and return Larry to me. This, of course, was my disease using my grief as an excuse to whittle away at my reasons for staying clean. That's Number One in the Addiction House Rules: If I get miserable enough, I'll pick up that drug and use.

It took exactly one year for me to catch on to the game I was playing and with whom I was playing it. It was way past time for me to get a new sponsor. The disease was right in there advising me, too. Well, it should be someone older than me. I was seventy at the time. The one guy I knew in the program who was older than me was Larry. It should also be someone who had more clean time than me. There was someone I knew who had a few more months clean than me, but I was already sponsoring him.

My disease wanted me to look upon my quest as hopeless. But long ago Larry taught me, whenever I was painted into a corner, to walk through the paint. Whenever I am good and miserable, to ask myself: "Why am I doing this to myself?"

Why do this to myself? To make myself miserable enough to go and use; That's why.

So I picked a fellow in the program with fewer years, less clean time, and less hair than me, but is someone who works a good program, is the most sensible and even tempered person I know, he is one hell of a great skier, and I already loved him. He is a good man, and being a good man is my purpose in staying clean.

My team is back to full strength again and it looks like another winning season ahead.

Don't have a sponsor? Yours died, went out again, fired you for some reason? Fill in the missing member of your team. We are in a game that has no second place.

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