Growth is painful and scary. Especially Growing upward (UP). It can require going against gravity (as an example), defying other’s opinions or getting outside of our comfort zone. I’ve heard that the human brain is designed to prevent us from certain types of growth and limit decision making (that could be beneficial) on a very primitive level in line with an instinctual self-preservation mechanism.
Addiction is not discriminatory. It takes down the rich, poor, old, young, smart, not so smart, black, white, etc., etc.. There seems to be a common thread, however…. A LOT of dishonesty and manipulation. The AA “Big Book” states that “some are sicker than others” and there are those unfortunates “who lack the ability to be constitutionally honest with themselves”.
One of the biggest threats I see in my work with addicts and alcoholics is what we call “old behaviors”. The most common theme lately is related to younger guys (20’s – 30’s) and their interaction with women. It is suggested that in our first year of recovery we refrain from relationships and focus on our program. I try not to micro-manage this too much in my sober living home or with my sponsees but it’s certainly a reoccurring issue and an area of concern. I just had a guy go out and relapse this week (in my sober living home) after meeting up with a girl on social media. She wanted to drink, he wanted to be with her, one thing led to another and he goes missing for 24 hours until we find out he’s slamming heroin on Van Buren (in downtown Phoenix) the following day. Just like that, all of the trust and momentum he had worked so hard for gone. He had close to 100 days clean and just started a new, great, job…. was doing very well. All gone now. He’s locked up in a detox center with nowhere to live or work now… again.
I see similar behavior with others in my program. Inappropriate behavior/interaction with women, manipulating, lying, stealing…. “old behaviors”. The only thing missing in their daily activities is drug use or drinking (and that is soon to follow).
These type of old habits and activities must be smashed! This old way of thinking and “surviving” must be eliminated and replaced with better, more wholesome and healthy activities. It is time to grow up!
Growing up (into a responsible, healthy adult) will require a few things; 1. Humility 2. Knowledge 3. Action
Humility – Nobody likes to be told they are doing it wrong or be called out on their defects in character. But, instead of getting butt hurt and defensive, be grateful you are surrounded by people who not only care enough to point it out but are capable of seeing it (and catching it).
Knowledge – You must learn how to get what you want and the only way to do that is to learn from those who already have what you want. So, for example, if you’ve never had a healthy relationship – stop blaming your ex’s and start looking inward. Look up material on Co-dependency, narcissism, healthy vs toxic behaviors, etc. In this day and age, you have no excuses…. it’s all on YouTube! (for free). Same goes for any area you want to develop. The largest variable is you and the most important thing is that you have a desire to change for the better and respectively live a better life. Let’s face it…. your way ain’t working!
Action – It’s one thing to hear it and receive enlightenment from those willing to share the solution and another to DO IT. Behind every principle is a promise. Start making changes in your life based on the new philosophies you are learning from those living the life you want or accomplishing the things you aspire toward. Just freaking do it!
The days of douchebaggery, looking for victims and being a walking tornado with “good intentions” are over for the addict who wishes to turn his/her life around. As Leo (the House Manager at my sober living home 11 years ago) used to say “The highway to hell was paved with good intentions”. You MUST learn to conduct yourself with INTEGRITY in all things. What you do when nobody is looking will define your character and who you are will be defined by your actions. Everything else seems to come to you and fall into place if you can grasp these simple concepts. Things will get better (including but not limited to your sobriety and relationships), I promise!
Thank you for reading… I hope this helps you.