Many people outside of the rooms of 12 step fellowships have a distorted view of addiction. Unfortunately, it’s because they only see the external and destructive results of our obsession and allergy. Once we finally make the decision to get sober, our friends and family see a positive change and are shocked if and when we relapse. They truly don’t understand how addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful.
Being an addict is a tricky beast. Plain and simple. The life an active addict lives is truly an anomaly. The medical field has started to understand that what we face is not simply a choice, but an actual powerlessness over our need to use substances.
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The hard part about making the decision to get sober, besides not being able to drink or drug is realizing that our problem isn’t so much drugs and alcohol as it is our inability to cope with life.
When I was happy, mad, jealous, lonely, excited, bored, etc., I wanted to drink and get high. If it was a nice day, I wanted to day drink. If it was raining, I wanted to shoot dope, if I was celebrating, I wanted to drink and do coke, if I was mourning, I wanted to drink to forget. I literally COULD NOT handle any of my emotions in a healthy way.
Addiction: Cunning, Baffling, and Powerful
Once I got sober, learning how to deal with these emotions proved to be the most difficult aspect of my sobriety at first. Sure, in the beginning, the hardest part was simply not picking up, but once I got a little bit of time under my belt, I had to learn how to live again.
I could no longer shoot dope when I was feeling stressed. I couldn’t drink after a long day at work.
For non-alcoholics, this obviously wouldn’t be a problem, but for us, abandoning the high meant we lost a part of ourselves. Regardless of how much money we spent or who we had to steal from to feel okay, we would do it anyway. Now, we have to learn how to live a new life.
This is where my own addiction became Cunning, Baffling, and Powerful.
Addiction is Cunning
- No matter how much I knew I couldn’t get high, my mind would send me sneaking suspicions that, oh maybe I can just have ONE drink.
- I would isolate from the fellowship because my addiction told me that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t as bad as some of the others.
- If I had a busy day, my addiction would tell me that I didn’t need a meeting.
- When I felt lonely, instead of turning to a higher power, my addiction would tell me I needed someone else to fill the void.
The insanity behind all of this treachery is that it all centers in my own mind, and it is all self-inflicted. If I let all of these thoughts continue for too long, without any action or step work on my part, I am guaranteed to relapse. This is where my addiction becomes-
- Regardless of my desire to be sober, without any action on my part, I will relapse.
- If I don’t dive into the program, my old ways of thinking and my character defects come out in full force.
- No matter how much action I took a few months or weeks ago, if I’m not taking action TODAY, I’m going to feel miserable.
It sounds like kind of a bummer, but to be honest, it’s a gift! We are guaranteed to be okay as long as we do a few simple things each day to improve our spiritual connection. If we don’t, our disease will sneak in, and beware, because it’s-
- No matter how long I’ve been sober, my addict mind never stopped. If I relapse, I will be JUST as bad as when I stopped.
- If I relapse after being in the program, it’s a lot harder to quiet my guilt, and I have to use more.
- The danger lies in my lack of tolerance, but my powerful need, this is why many people die when they relapse, they try to use as much as they did before they got sober.
All in all, I would say it’s much easier to live a sober life, working an active program, and staying in the middle. We are often easily fooled into thinking that when we get sober, we aren’t going to have any “fun”- that life will become boring. That is part of the cunning, baffling, and powerful addiction that we all have. But think about it, how much fun were the last few years in your addiction? I can tell you flat out that mine were anything BUT glamorous.
All we have is a daily reprieve, contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.
Some tips to keep the beast at bay is literally to just follow the suggestions you hear in the rooms.
- Go to meetings
- Get a sponsor
- Work your steps
- Pray to a Higher Power (even if you don’t believe at first)
- Help others
Another crucial motto for me to live by is always be honest. If I’m always truthful and upfront with my sponsor, my Higher Power, and my sober supports, it is easier for me to see the roles I play and when I am acting on self-will.
When we face untreated alcoholism, our addiction is a cunning, baffling, and powerful force. Without help and without action, we are doomed to fail. The good news is that we have the opportunity and the gift of being able to live a life of freedom. We get to become a part of a fellowship of people who understand us, and who know exactly what we have been through. “Never have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”. We are guaranteed a life beyond our wildest dreams, as long as we stick with the work and keep putting our simple steps for sobriety first.
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Freedom From Addiction
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