A friend of mine sent me a text yesterday saying she relapsed with addiction. She asked me to take her to a 12-step meeting–we’re going tonight so she can establish a new sobriety date.
I’m proud of her for reaching out. But why wouldn’t she? If she suffered with food allergies and ate chocolate cake even though chocolate and gluten cause an allergic reaction, would she tell me?
With every other health condition, when we “relapse,” we get the help we need, whether it’s medical, behavioral, spiritual. There is no shame, no blame, no judgment.
Addiction is different.
I’ve often said that if I relapse I don’t know if I could face my recovery support system–my friends, my sponsor, my meetings. Man, talk about internalized shame.
But if I practice what I preach–that shame and stigma should be eliminated from every facet of prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery from addiction–then I would hold my head high and say, yes, I did relapse into my disease. The chemicals in my brain rearranged my thinking and caused me to take an action I knew would be harmful.
If I practice what I preach, I would say, although I relapses, I’m here now. I’m grateful that I have X amount of time in recovery, in spite of this relapse. Yes, I have a new sober date but I’m ready to move on.
That’s likely what I’ll say to my friend tonight.
Every day is a miracle day, a day to celebrate recovery from addiction.
If you’re nice to people, do good things for others (including animals–definitely animals!), apologize when you’ve been an ass, treat yourself decently and remember to thank the God of your understanding for your recovery, then addiction stays in the back seat.
Recovery isn’t rocket science; it’s actually fairly simple. But my magnificent, magnifying mind can eff it up in a heartbeat.
When I start thinking about my needs, my plans, my desires, I’m screwed. Maybe not today. Maybe not even next week. I might be able to get away with grisly behavior for a few days, but not much more than that.
Did I run my needs, plans and desires by God? Did I pause when I was agitated or did I say the first asinine thing that came into my head? Who exactly has been in the front seat driving my MINI?
Lucky for me those errors in judgment that make me and those around me crazy have not sent me back to alcohol or other substances. I don’t know why I’ve been spared that hell on earth while others around me die every single damn day from addiction.
It could be me tomorrow. Or my beautiful love. Or my father. Or my friend.
But today, please God, let us be sober. Let us feel your power and your love, feel it surging through us like water surging at Niagara.
Then, let us turn to our brothers and sisters who struggle, to their families, and figure out a way to help them find peace. Show us how to reach out, how to open our hearts and our minds to help another who suffers.
Let us do what you would do if you were here. Let us love unconditionally as if our lives depended on it, because, in fact, they do.
Happy Recovery Month.