I went to plug in my cell phone to recharge last night. And, lo and behold, I had not packed a cord for my week on the farm. So, here I am with no phone for at least 6 more days. Now, the old Jo would have gone into a five alarm fire, busted up the place and blamed the cat/kids/dog, etc. But, I am learning that all the rage in the world will not fix the problem. I didn’t have to call suicide hotline either. I did look around their home for a spare charger. But, alas there were none to be had. Now, I could go into town today and try to find one. But, it is unlikely that a town of 900 would have one for sale. So, I may go totally retro 80’s and not have a cell phone in my ear!
What does this have to do with sobriety? These little things were the very things that would make my house go crashing down in my drinking days. The reason being is that I had not attended to a laundry list of amends which compounded any minor scrape 10 fold. There is a silver lining in not having a cell phone; as there is a silver lining in making amends. We get a chance to practice living saner, simpler, and harmony with others and the universe. Doesn’t that sound nice and peaceful? You bet! So, go retro. Put your cell phone down and go have a real conversation with a real person. Make that an amend to yourself. Treat your self to a human interaction. Or better yet, go outdoors and breathe in some beauty. Just for today, just be.
We usually found that our defective ways in dealing with others were
a source of pain for us. `Anon
This to me is the phenomenon of being an addict. We will desire the very thing that will cause us the greatest amount of pain. It is tantamount to going out into the yard, picking up the nearest cement paver, and conking our heads with it; and, then wondering aloud why we are in pain and bleeding. That is the essence of addiction. Alcoholics/addicts will lie even when it is easier and simpler to just tell the truth. Even when the truth will reap rewards, and the lie will cost them punishment, they will choose to lie. This is not because we are bad people, we just have alcoholic, self-defeating ways in which to react to the world. We need self-discipline that is offered in step #8.
In Step #8, the key word is self-discipline. What does it take to be self-disciplined? The other night, I got a call from the AA help line. The young person on the other end of the line was struggling. I listened politely for about 2 minutes to her pain. I then asked her to tell me about H.A.L.T.: what was going on re. her hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness. She was able to tell me how distressed she was in all these areas. I then made some suggestions. What happened? Well, she had an excuse for why none of what I suggested was going to work. For every problem, there is a solution, but when we choose the pain and lies over recovery and the solution inherent in AA and sobriety, we choose the dis-ease. I am powerless over what others choose to do. We are either focused on the solution, or we are feeding the dis-ease. Choose recovery.
Being willing to achieve is not nearly as valuable as being prepared. ~ Anon
I saw this the other day, and it reminded me of getting and being sober. We spend years of hangovers and regrets swearing off then swearing on again. Our lives were consumed in pretending and promising to ourselves and others that we can act maturely when drinking, we can drink moderately in polite society, and we really mean no harm. To no avail. Many of us wanted to achieve sobriety. But, wanting and doing are totally different things as we have been humbled to learn.
Remember the acronym H.A.L.T.? Hungry, angry, lonely, and tired are the greatest bug-a-boos for any alcoholic. We cannot afford these feelings. I add S for sore (due to chronic pain). Life happens, and we will be confronted by these on a regular basis. For those who are new into recovery, I offer some tips and tricks: To avoid being hungry: eat breakfast, take healthful snacks to work, hydrate with water; not juice or pop. Drink warm lemon water before breakfast each day. To avoid anger: have some AA numbers entered on your phone and use them, take a walk, count to ten, do a step 10 inventory, and/or pray for the person. To avoid loneliness: go to a meeting, call until you get a human voice, walk around the mall, call someone who is struggling, or volunteer at an animal shelter or retirement home. And, to avoid tiredness: take daily naps, get to bed at a reasonable hour, avoid caffeine or cut back after noon, take 1/2 hour of quiet time before you sleep, move the TV/radio/stereo out of the bedroom, and consider not bringing work home with you. Preparation will reduce the exasperation and ensure continue sobriety.