Reentering the chaos of normalcy

As addicts, we regularly look for reasons to justify our actions, consumption amoubt or even justify a change in habits. Smokers sometimes switch to chewing tobacco or the now; vaping. Sometimes alcoholics switch to marijuana, opiate users may switch to marijuana too. The truth is-nothing is better for you, regardless of the justification. There is jo safer alternative.

Similarly switching from 8 cups of coffee per day to diet soft drinks isnt good for you either. But, we as addicts, know that….but we have spent so much time in our lives making things “okay” that we often don’t see the hinderances.

It is not until we have been in recovery for a period of time that we realize the changes we make in order to “justify”. But, we do it anyway….until whatever compells us too, becomes an addiction.

Sometimes “fear” is very much the same. We do not want to return to a mundane and normal life, we want to “hold on” for just a bit longer. Whether you are trying to control the outcome of a situation, make positive changes for the “health of it” or even trying to just eat better. In a nutshell, change sucks.

Retuning to a normal, sober, healthier lifestyle is terrifying. But it is absolutely worth it. I was at an AA meeting today, speaking of my past experiences as a medic, firefighter and medical examiner, and how they played key roles in my alcoholism. The longer I am in recovery-the further from the truth that statement becomes. My jobs didn’t cause me to be an alcoholic….alcohol did. My inability to control my consumption did, my desire to get away from reality did…..not the job….the worker.

When I relapsed, I looked for reasons and justification for my actions, instead of taking responsibility for it. It took about 3 days to grab the boot straps and chalk it up to a loss, and just move on and accept the fact that I am an alcoholic….to understand my relapse. What most people do not understand in most communities is that when someone relapses, there are emotions attached to it. This includes shame and guilt by the way. The feelings of letting people down and failure. How hard is it for an addict to return to a meeting after a relapse? Extremely hard!

Most people dont jump right back in, and that of course gets the rumor mill going. This is chaos of addiction. The addict is conflicted and doesn’t want to show up and admit what they did, any more than those sitting in the room with judgement. Get off your high horse and accept them back-period!! I don’t care what your program is….it is hard enough admitting you lapsed, comfort but dont coddle-support but sternly. Do what you have to do to be encouraging but not condemning. And for heaven sake-don’t make them feel like they don’t belong.

~GH

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