Expiry Dates during recovery:
Many people come through our treatment centre and believe that the work they put in here is enough and that the work they put in here is going to carry them for the rest of their lives. This is a dangerous myth and one that could lead many to relapse.
Like the title states, Actions in recovery have expiry dates and what we mean by this is that the last counselling session you had, has a “half-life” of about a day. That Just for Today reading you did this morning can set you on the right path for the day but still it’s not enough to keep you clean and sober for the rest of your life.
If you understand the fundamentals of early recovery you’d understand that to convince yourself that using or drinking is clever idea and won’t hurt anyone is a simple task. “no-one will know”, “just this one time” and then my personal favourite, “this time will be different” are all slogans addicts in early recovery on the road to relapse use. There is no neighbourhood more dangerous than an addict in early recovery left to his/her own devices for extended periods of time.
Another fundamental principal of early recovery is powerlessness, just because I’ve written out the theory of step one does not necessarily mean I grasp the principal of what that step should offer.
If you find yourself, alone with the means to use your drug of choice and you are bargaining ‘should I use or should I not use’ you are in a seriously dangerous situation that in my opinion will end in your power of choice diminishing and eventually lead to relapse. The solution here is to remember the principal we are talking about, powerlessness. Asking for help is imperative in this situation, remembering that reaching out means that you care enough about yourself and your recovery to make the right decisions.
I believe what most people get wrong in these early days sounds like this, they don’t view recovery as a lifestyle, a new culture to take part in. They keep life and recovery separate and eventually allow the “life” side to take priority smothering out any hope of recovery surviving, this might take a year or 3 weeks but eventually people lose sight of what’s truly important.
The actions we put in daily last for that day, maybe more. But one thing I feel sure about is that without recovery becoming a lifestyle, the chances of living in long term recovery get smaller. Time and life become the enemy, we can only deal with what we are willing to face and being able to see these simple but powerful facts could be the deciding factor in your process.
I will leave you with a quote from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous,
‘It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.’