Keeping It Green
This is another common expression in the rooms of AA, and one that I have come up against several times in as many days. It means, for an addict, keeping the true memory of what it was like in active addiction fresh in your mind. After some sober time (apparently, I cannot speak from experience), it becomes easy to forget how bad the bad times really were. And once you forget the bad times, it becomes fairly easy to take the next step, which is to think it wouldn’t be so bad to have just one drink, since everyone else is having one, or if I used drugs just one time, I won’t do it more than once… you get the picture.
So how do you keep it green? According to AA, going to meetings regularly is the easiest way to keep the memories fresh. That is because (and now I can speak from experience) you very often will hear the story of someone coming into the program for the first time, or for the first time since a relapse, and in hearing their story you are reminded of your own personal “bottom.” I had this experience three times in the past three days, and I’ll tell you, there is nothing more powerful at a meeting than hearing the raw pain of someone at the end of their rope.
At five months sober today, I don’t necessarily feel like I need to be reminded, because memories of my personal bottom are still fresh in my mind, but at the same time I guess it never hurts to have this very important truth reinforced… it is much, much easier to stay sober than it is to get sober!