“Once the seed of awakening sprouts in you, there’s no choice- there’s no turning back.”- Ram Dass
When referring to recovery as a process, what is meant is that you will always face wake up calls that have you examining your intentions and actions in relation to substances or behaviors, even if you never pick up your drug of choice, or a substitute.
Untangling The Coiled Rope
Our minds can trick us into believing all sorts of illusions; mistaking them for reality. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. As you roll out from under the covers, you shriek in fear, when you see what looks like a coiled snake at the foot of the bed. Your mind immediately conjures up fear that it will strike and you will be a goner. You reach over and turn on the light and to your relief, you see that it is really a coiled rope. Once you see the object for what it is, it will never again look like that serpent about to put an end to your corporeal existence. What if you could view every situation that way? Your relationships might be more rewarding. Your recovery less challenging.
Sleepwalking Through Life
Grace recalls that for many years, she sleepwalked through life. She had a laissez faire- go with the flow attitude about nearly everything. Her marriage was floundering and her business was on the verge of collapse. She questioned the catalyst for such a turn of events. Her entrenched beliefs that were born in childhood were “Don’t make waves. Don’t rock the boat. Leave well enough alone.” That led to holding back expressing her dissatisfaction in nearly every area of her life. She was in the throes of a co-dependent crisis. Attending weekly CODA (Co-dependence Anonymous) meetings, allowed her to set the inner alarm clock that reminded her to wake up to times when she fell into habitual relationship patterns.
Matt became his father’s drinking buddy when he was 16 years old. It was their male bonding ritual and the only way he felt he could be close to his dad. By the time he was 21 and legally able to drink, he was in the throes of an existential crisis. His father was lying in a hospital bed with end stage liver disease, brought about by a lifetime of indulging his addiction. Matt knew he needed to prevent the same fate from occurring to him, but in the midst of his grief as he sat by the bedside, he wanted nothing more than to drown his sorrows. Leaving the room, he headed for the familiar watering hole, ordered the strongest drink he could, took one sip and had a moment of sanity, “What the hell am I doing?” He put it down and called his best friend, who had entered recovery himself and asked to talk. His friend invited him to a meeting and when walked into the room, he felt resistance, but knew he had to do something to bring about change. When the meeting was over, he checked his phone and saw that he had received a text. His father had passed while he was in the meeting. Chills ran through him and he smiled through his tears. Grief and relief intertwined.
Daily Wake-Up Calls Needed
Although relapse is always a possibility, the daily wake up calls will prevent us from falling into the perpetual sleep of forgetfulness, that recovery is equally possible. The choice is as close as the next thought.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Edie Weinstein