I spend about one hour each day in some combination of reading, commenting, or writing on/about recovery blogs. It’s generally the way that I start out each day. I have come to realize how integral blogs are to my recovery. For many this realization might sound like a pretty ridiculous statement. I realize that for many folks blogs have been integral since the first day of their recovery process. For me, that has certainly not been the case, as blogs and the internet were unknown back when I first got sober in 1984.
What got me to thinking about recovery blogs more was some recent conversation with folks struggling in their early recovery from Thailand, to England, to California, where I am able to comment and say – Yes, I can completely relate – and then share my experience, strength, and hope. As in an AA meeting, the approach is not – here is what you need to do. Rather comments on blogs are from a “carrying the message” and “practicing these principles in all our affairs” perspective that I learned early on in Alcoholics Anonymous.
In 1997 I was living in a rural northeast Louisiana in the U.S. where the nearest AA meeting was about a 20 mile drive. During this period I went many months and even years without attending an AA meeting. But during this period, I was on a quest for something, I am not certain what, and was doing an incredible amount of searching. I also quit smoking during this period following a twelve step program. In previous years I had attended two Smokers or Nicotine Anonymous meetings, in one case driving 90 miles to the nearest gathering. In 1997, I logged in daily to an IRC channel whose name I have forgotten but was something like Smokers Anonymous or Stop Smoking. For an extended period, this became my Twelve Step meeting to become abstinent from nicotine. That tool launched me into my now 17th year of abstinence from nicotine.
I mean this post not to be a walk down memory lane of my recovery tools and changing technology. Rather, I have profoundly come to believe that every day I must be actively mindful that I am an addict in recovery with choices to make. I have sometimes thought that my approach was rather fickle and that I should have a consistent “recovery tool” I could point to. But I also reflect on a comment Joe Iverson, my detox counselor made in 1984: “Alcoholics want things not to change, to be stable and flat. However, the only time you get a flat line is when you are dead.”
The punch line for me becomes that the consistency in my recovery is the daily and intentional choice to live in recovery and not active addiction. The tools are plentiful and evolve. What I must remember is that if the tool I am using is not working, then it is time to get another tool from recovery kit.