When he would hear someone pissing and moaning about their physical problems accompanying their advancing years, my late sponsor Larry used to say, "We weren't even supposed to be here. Addicts used to die very young. Those who don't get into recovery, as a rule, still die young. What a miracle it is that those of us in recovery have lived enough additional years to be able to bitch about getting old."
The big setup for any addict in recovery is the malignant flyspeck. What's the malignant flyspeck?
Imagine a pristine wall of white or some pleasing color. The wall fills the universe with its pleasing light, an existential vessel for our joy and serenity. While you're looking at that wall, though, you notice a flyspeck on it. You stand closer, making the flyspeck seem larger, to examine it better.
"Look at that!" you cry. "Some damned bug attached itself to our beautiful wall and crapped all over it!"
You stand closer and closer until all you can see is the flyspeck. The universe is no longer beauty, joy, and serenity; It's all shit!
Anyone ever tell you about addiction's bag of tricks? Its number one trick (therapists like to call it a "dynamic") is behavior based on the disease's founding premise: Nothing comes between my addict and the drug.
Happy, grateful, serene recovering addicts don't use. Hence, thinks the disease, I must destroy the joy, kill hope, and vaporize serenity. In other words, if the addict can be made to make himself miserable enough, the addict will go back to the drug.
Meanwhile, back at the flyspeck that seemed to have swallowed the universe: if I step back from that unfortunate mark on the wall, noting the 99.9999% remainder of the wall that is clean and beautiful, it is no longer such a big deal. Some might even go so far as to get a sponge and remove the flyspeck.
However, if I choose to focus on the flyspeck until it seems to fill my universe, life for me will suddenly become hopeless and unbearable. That is precisely when that little green dragon climbs up on my shoulder and begins suggesting certain chemical "solutions" to take care of my "problems."
Can't seem to get away from that flyspeck on your own?
Go to a program meeting and share.
Write a gratitude list.
Call your sponsor and talk it out.
Oh . . . you don't have a sponsor? Haven't been to a meeting in awhile?
The way Larry put it to me was this: addiction has a bag of tricks; the program gives me a bag of tools. To counter the tricks I need to use the tools. If I choose not to use the tools, I am choosing to live and die in that universe full of crap in which staying clean is all but impossible.
You ever try to unplug an overflowing toilet by bitching, feeling depressed, and sticking your head in the bowl? No. You either use a toilet plunger or get someone to come in and . . . use a toilet plunger. The tools of recovery and how to use them to stay clean and live life joyous and free is what the program provides.
So, when you find yourself stacking up things about which to be miserable, health problems, love relationships falling apart, pets taking a dump on your carpet, you burning the turkey, losing a job, sticking your head in a toilet, or all of the above, use the program tools to help back you away from that flyspeck.
If you want to stay clean.
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