We hear many things, when we get sober. Many of those little things we hear, over our time, in the rooms, is Good Sound Advice …
If you take away the drugs and alcohol, the problem still exists. That problem is US, and the grey matter that resides between our ears.
The drugs and alcohol are just a symptom.
It is important that we pay close attention to the newcomer, at their first meeting, or those coming back from further experimentation.
Tonight we heard that, we need to pay attention to those folks in the Double Digit sobriety range. We know, in our community here, that people with double-digit sobriety are JUST AS LIKELY, to go back out, as someone with little time under their belt.
The warnings are the same. We hear them spoken over and over again.
- Get to a Meeting
- Do Service
- Join a Home Group
- Connect with others
- Tell the Truth – Always
- Work your Steps
- READ the BOOK
- Learn Rigorous Honesty
Some of us, have experiences under our belts that many people do not. And that little factoid is “Personal Mortality.” We are all going to die, at some point. But life can turn on a dime in sobriety, and some of us get smacked upside the head with a terminal illness.
When that happens, we do one of two things. ONE, we go off the deep end, and we prepare to die, we give in, we suffer and we drink. and we DIE, or TWO, we turn to those who know us and love us, and we fight to live, we work, DAILY, Not To Drink.
I heard a familiar phrase tonight… “It’s OK … I’m Good…”
Something I have learned at this stage of my game is that “feelings are real” and that sobriety is NOT a cakewalk, all the time.
We learn a great deal about the people around us, when Life Goes South …
We learn, quite easily, THOSE we do not want to be like. That is a really great lesson, in the rooms. If you show up at a meeting, we must be good to everyone, because you never know what battle is being waged in their lives.
But there are those, “Who are Constitutionally Incapable of being honest with themselves.” And sometimes, it is those people who push those buttons we have within, and words are said … And we know intimately that we do not want to be like them.
People suffer in the rooms, because they choose to suffer, needlessly, or there are those who suffer, because of honest struggle, with either emotional, mental or medical problems, not of our own making.
Many of us grow up with having to be “The Strong One.” Never admitting frailty or that we have fear or pain, or that we are having a hard time. That is a serious problem, when we get sober.
If we are always ON – if we always ACT like we have our shit together, all the time, when life gets real, and we find ourselves on the bitter end of life and we are suffering, IF WE DON’T ADMIT THAT LIFE HAS BECOME DIFFICULT AND WE CANNOT MAKE IT ON OUR OWN, that we need our friends, and we don’t tell them as such, that is to our own peril.
The rooms provide. Not always to our specific needs. But there are those, Good, Long Sober folks, who are there, like the North Star. Ready, Able and Willing to Love us.
Warts and All …
How do we find these people ? We go to meetings. We connect. We learn to know our fellows, beyond sitting next to each other in those same chairs, night after night.
Because if we DON’T connect, and we suffer alone, and life gets real, and there is no one there in our lives to carry us when we cannot walk alone, life gets really tough.
The warnings are there. Spoken in such a way that everybody listened.
You go to a meeting. And you keep going to meetings. When we are feeling good, When we are feeling bad. When we look good, and When we look haggard and poor.
If we don’t connect and stay connected, we are disconnected at our own peril.
You can do anything, just as long as you don’t drink.
I know, my brain, is not someplace I like to go alone. For many, we get sober, and we gain some time, we do the work, and at some arbitrary point, we decide that “We are Good, that we are CURED … ”
That little internal message is the death knell for people, all across the spectrum.
Because once it begins playing, and we believe our internal messages, the story goes: Ok, I’m sober a while, I’ve done the work, It’s OK, I’m good.” The next piece of information goes like this … Ok, I’m Good, I am cured.
What happens ?
I’m good, so I don’t have to go to meetings any more, as long as I don’t drink.
I can attest to you that an alcoholic who just does not drink, is MORE dangerous, than someone who is actively drinking. If you remove that alcoholic who is sober, from their routine of meetings, and you set them loose with themselves, the end is nigh …
We are going to go ONE of THREE places:
- We are going to go back out and drink or use
- We are going to go insane, or
- We are going to kill ourselves or someone else
A dry drunk is dangerous to themselves and to the people around them, especially, if those people around us are children. Sons and or Daughters.
If we don’t STICK to Meetings, religiously, and we DON’T heed the warnings as we are hearing from the chair, we are SUNK.
100 % SUNK.
There are not many people in the rooms that I trust 100% with my shit. Because I know how people treated me, when I was in the thick of sober suffering at fifteen years sober.
There were, and ARE, a handful of men and women who loved me through my pain, because I kept showing up. I kept making coffee, I kept putting down chairs.
People with time, NOTICE people who stick around. Sticking around means ONE of TWO Things … They ONE, either need that service because it is what we learn to do in ALL cases, or TWO, shit is going down in their lives, so you better pay attention and be PRESENT.
I know my friends, intimately. And I know, by action, or sometimes, by inaction, that they really need to connect and stay connected, because they are on that illusive bubble.
I know now, what I know, because I walked through a forest, not long ago and now I am on the other side. I know the warning signs. I know what I did. I used the sign posts, the slogans, I stayed close and I did what I learned to do when I came in almost sixteen years ago.
All those little things we hear when we first come in are still in play.
And it may not come to pass, and it may come to pass, sooner than you think, but if you ignore suggestions, and those little things we plug into conversations, if you don’t listen or you ignore the locally posted signs, there for your own survival, You do that at your own peril.
Shit happens. And if you are smart, you will be honest, ALL the TIME. And you won’t drink over it.
How can we be honest all the time ? We find those people who are honest with us, and in turn we can be honest with them. Find them.
Because one day, those people will save your sobriety.
And most likely, Your Life …