There Is More Than One Recovery Tool

wolfLast night a friend was over to the house and we talked some about addiction.  They noted that they just did not do well with alcohol, that addiction was a familial issue.  They decided they were just not going to drink.  They also noted that they were not going to go to AA or Alanon because they had done that in their teenage years, did not like it, and found the folks to be very judgmental and rigid.  I recognize this can be an issue in AA meetings.  I don’t push people to AA if something else is working for them.  I know that with 30 years of sobriety, I find that the “bleeding deacons” tend not to respond to whatever heresies I might throw out because, well, it has worked for me for 30 years!   I also noted to my friend that since getting sober there were times when I did not attend an AA meeting for five years.  These days I generally plan to attend one meeting per week, but I have not been to a meeting in about one month.

The night before I had a two-hour Skype with a friend and colleague who sometimes I see once a year, sometimes more regularly.  We are planning for some projects that will bring us together a bit more for the next year.

About three years ago I got back together with my “best friend” from high school that I had not seen in over 35 years.  We hit it off perfectly and we now see each other for an evening’s reflection about every six months or so, when we are in the same general area as we live some 8 hours drive apart.

This list goes on . . .

. . . I don’t take the inconsistency as a fickleness on my part toward relationships or recovery.  I know that to deal with my addictions I must be in sync with a recovery path every day.  Sometimes that synchronicity is through AA meetings, sometimes through talking with others, sometimes in writing this blog.  I know that a blog will not keep me sober or abstinent anymore than an AA meeting will if I am not truly seeking a solution.  I very well recollect many years ago sitting in an AA clubhouse or in the rooms of Nicotine Anonymous, savoring the effects of the drug would bring as soon as I could plan my escape from the meeting.  What I enjoy is that over the years I have acquired a bunch of tools for recovery that work well in different situations.  Which tool do I need today?  A screwdriver? Hammer? Pen? Book? There are a bunch.  But what I also know is that if the tool I have picked up is not working, I need to put it down and pick up another.  I am grateful today for the ability to choose.

11 thoughts on “There Is More Than One Recovery Tool

  1. This speaks so much to me. I am consistently inconsistent in many areas – just ask my husband – but I value this about myself. I like to think of it as flexibility guided by intuition. I must stay fluid and adapt because it’s the only way I seem to find peace. I really like how you described staying in touch loosely with old friends, something I had always felt a bit ashamed of. Now I know when we do get together, it’s just like old times. What a great feeling. Hope your friend who wants to stop drinking finds the right approach for him/her.

    • I agree on the fluidity. The rigidity of fixed patterns, schedules, and so forth for me is trying to but the square peg in the round hole. I appreciate that some folks have done the same thing every year for their recovery and it has worked for them. I remember doing 90 meetings in 90 days at first, and then 120 days because I was afraid that I would be struck by a bolt of lightening if I missed a meeting in a day. It works well for some and that is great. My gauge continues to be if I can truly say “I have not a complaint in the world today” then my recovery road is good.

  2. my recovery path isn’t straight and narrow either, but as long as I keep walking it I continue to make progress. love this reminder, thank you!

  3. Reblogged this on club east: indianapolis and commented:
    Excellent post from robertifs at Process Not An Event. Here’s a money quote:

    I know that to deal with my addictions I must be in sync with a recovery path every day. Sometimes that synchronicity is through AA meetings, sometimes through talking with others, sometimes in writing this blog. I know that a blog will not keep me sober or abstinent anymore than an AA meeting will if I am not truly seeking a solution.

    Read the whole thing, though.

  4. Pingback: repost: there is more than one recovery tool | club east: indianapolis

  5. “if the tool I have picked up is not working, I need to put it down and pick up another.” Boy oh boy did I need to hear these words this morning. They both reassure me that my sobriety is solid, as well as my fitness plan, but that I NEED TO PICK UP ANOTHER TOOL when it comes to my dietary choices. Such a frustrating process, but I’m so grateful to get to read your wisdom!

    • I have had a difficult time over the years in listening to much to what other people said and not enough to what I was actually experiencing. Perhaps one of the unhappiest folks I ever met at an AA meeting commented that every day he was sober he was one day closer to his next drunk. Damn, talk about a glass being half empty syndrom! It’s the difference between crying over spilled milk or having an attitude of gratitude. So, I have been told – wait until you experience x, y, or z and you will appreciate why a person can’t stay sober, hold a job, etc. etc. And I know I can tell lots of horror stories from my past too. So, I have just decided after all these years, I am not going to wait for the other foot to drop, as it were. I can get into a serious funk, depression, poor me, but I also know what will get me out of it, if I choose to take that step. Sometimes, it is just comfortable to feel sorry for myself and pout. The difference today is I know that’s what I am doing.

      Off of my soapbox 😉

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