Do you feel like one of those people that is “never going to get sober”? It is a pretty common thing, we call it “chronic relapsing” in the rooms, but that doesn’t mean it has to be true for you. I’m sure by now you have probably given yourself and everyone else every excuse in the book as to why you went out that last time, or the time before, or the time before that. I am also pretty sure you have probably heard “you never have to relapse again” a few times if you are anything like I was.
Let me offer you a little hope though, however corny it might be. Are you ready? The ONLY reason you keep relapsing, is yourself, and you REALLY don’t ever have to relapse again.
How, you might ask? You’ve already tried everything, you might say? As someone who was once considered a chronic relapser, I’m going to have to call bulls***.
Have You ACTUALLY Hit Bottom?
Once I finally decided to get my act together, I adopted myself into a family of hard-ass old timers in the rooms. They always asked me, “Are you SURE you are done?” and it used to make me so mad. Of course, I was done… wasn’t I? Every time before that I thought I was done… so what was different this time? I had been in worse situations, been more messed up, so why did I mean business this time?
The answer, for me at least, was that I had hit an emotional bottom that was worse than I’d ever hit before. On the outside, my situation wasn’t too bad. I still had a job, friends, a house to live in, some money in the bank. But that last relapse was by far the worst one I had ever had, simply because I had a head full of AA and a belly full of cheap red wine. Not a good combination. When I woke up one morning, and finally felt that desire to be dead, I knew I needed to do something about it.
So are you done? Ask yourself, and be HONEST
- Do I still think I can CONTROL my situation?
- Is my life better or worse now that I decided to relapse?
- How do I really feel about myself, both when I’m using and when I’m sober?
- Why did I REALLY relapse again?
- Have you TRULY admitted Powerlessness?
This, our step one, ties entirely into our bottom. If we find that we can HONESTLY answer those questions above, and feel confident that we can still control our drinking, someday, somehow, then more power to the drinker. However, for the people out there who know, to the depths of their soul, that they are absolutely and indescribably “effed”, then they have taken step one.
The original 100 didn’t just make this the first step for the thrill of it. The reason it is at the beginning is that, if we don’t drop our ego, if we don’t fully concede to our innermost selves that we are totally powerless over our addiction, there is zero point in moving on to the next steps. Like the old-timers say, “go out and do some more research” if you aren’t sure. Chances are, you’ll find your way back, or you’ll die… those are your odds.
Have you Distracted Yourself with Bulls***?
Just like addiction, sobriety isn’t for the weak-willed. However, if you find that time and time again you get distracted by sex, money, work, and whatever other superficial crap is out there, like a siren luring sailors to their death, then maybe you should evaluate where your head’s at.
Listen, I get it. We ruined our lives in the past, and now we are sober, healthy, and making money, we want everything back. We want all the time we have wasted to be filled. We want to get the nicest shoes and the coolest car and all the injections and steroids and whatever else we can find to make ourselves feel better.
But here is the deal, you are NEVER going to feel better on the inside just because your outside looks better. Especially if the shoes and the car you are buying are things you can’t afford, the sex you’re having is of the variety that you know damn well you shouldn’t be, and if the physical image you’re striving for isn’t natural. If you keep relapsing because you are putting other stuff before your sobriety and your program, you are going to keep relapsing. Plain and simple.
Have you Actually Sought out a Higher Power?
I’m going to get off of my soapbox for a second and get real. I came in here, not wanting a god, not knowing a god, not believing in god, and not even wanting to “use anyone else’s”, god. My god was myself, and it was a spiteful, jealous, controlling, vengeful, idiotic one because it lived inside my messed up addict head.
I didn’t finally have a desire to seek out a higher power until that last relapse, alone in my thoughts, wondering why it was that I couldn’t live a normal life, why everything I touched seemingly turned to poop. That night, (and surprisingly, the night that brought me in at the very beginning, before my first treatment center) I prayed on my knees. It was actually more of a Highlander howl/cry/scream accompanied by punching my fists into the floor and hyperventilating. Hot mess.
After that, I kind of felt this realization that everything was going to be fine, and I knew what to do. So I swallowed my pride and went back to the rooms. Cheesy, bleh. Today, I have zero idea what my Higher Power is, but I have opened my eyes enough through the program to see it working in my life today, and for that reason, I keep seeking.
Have you ACTUALLY Worked the Steps?
People come into the rooms all the time and leave. Chronic relapsers. They say the program doesn’t work for them, they have done their steps, and it still didn’t work. This is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard, but hey that’s cool, maybe they just need to do some more research.
Here is the thing, when we really DO the steps, with all of that honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness that they talk about, we are GUARANTEED to have a psychic change. The psychic change is what completely erases the craving and the obsession to get high. The psychic change is what allows us to be rational, functioning human beings.
The program is the answer, and if you struggle with relapse, ask yourself, Have you ever given the 12 steps your full, 110%?