A Day in the Life of a (Recovering) Addict

So, if you’re tired of the same old story, oh, turn some pages. –REO Speedwagon, Roll With The Changes

I have a somewhat sheepish admission to make.  I have been taught that addiction is a disease of self-centeredness, and I can easily see that statement is true.  But, honestly, sometimes recovery seems self-centered as well.  I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time checking in with myself, my feelings, my emotions, making sure I am balanced.  If I feel the slightest bit “off,” I worry… oh no, am I heading toward a drink or drug?  And certainly, this beats the alternative of active addiction, but I sometimes feel like dealing with myself is like catering to a toddler.

Having said that, I will also freely admit there are payoffs to all of this soul-searching, and this morning I had one.  First, let me back up and tell you what kind of a day I had yesterday.  I was on a tight schedule for the morning:  my plan this whole week is to do a “media blitz” to encourage attendance at the meeting I run, so I had (have) a plan to canvas a bunch of local meetings, hand out my fancy new flyer, and generally, yuck it up with the other attendees.  So, back to yesterday, I am backing out of the garage, son in tow, and it completely slips my mind that my father-in-law‘s brand new trailer is parked in our driveway.  I bump it hard enough to send it rolling, and now my son is screaming in my ear that it is rolling down the hill in our backyard.  I can laugh about it now, because it really did play like a sitcom.  Fortunately, it did stop rolling after about 2 feet.

Still, not a really fun way to start the day.  Now I have to call my husband and father-in-law and share this wonderful news.  Quick side note:  I only hit the hitch of the trailer, so the primary damage is to my car, and, thank God, it is cosmetic, but still.

I did not procrastinate, I made the phone calls (huge change #1).  One call went well, one did not, but that is a story for another time.  By this time, I was unable to get to my planned meeting early, and so all my lofty aspirations for the media blitz are gone for that day.  Alright, there are worse things, but the day keeps going (not stressing about schedule snafus, huge change #2).  I have another appointment right after, and for the sake of this post not going into the thousands, word-wise, I will simply state that I received some seriously disappointing news.  The kind of news that, in the past, would send me into a self-righteous fury that could last for weeks.  And I still have to deal the damned car!

There’s a little bit more, but mostly minor at this point.  So, in the spirit of checking in with myself, I find some angst (surprise!).  Now, more or less instinctively, my first thought is to shoot up a quick prayer.  Nothing fancy, just “God, I’ve got some stuff going on, I could use a little extra help” (huge change #3).  Next, I share my thoughts with others (huge change #4).  Finally, and I did this many, many times throughout the day yesterday, I reminded myself of what is in my control (my thoughts, my actions) and what is not (everything else, including, apparently, the fender).  Of course, that is huge change #5.   And, miracle of all miracles, the rest of the day really did improve, and when I went to bed last night I was genuinely at peace.

This morning, I was speaking to my husband, and I mentioned that I was still upset about the disappointing news I received yesterday (the actual term I used was “pissed off,” I have the mouth of a truck driver in everyday life).  He said, “You are using the word pissed, but are you really?  Because you do not seem at all angry like you would have been in the past.”  So I considered this statement, and he is absolutely correct!  In fact, a review of the whole day, and how it ended, is a complete testament to the 12-step program and it’s effectiveness in everyday life.

Today’s Miracle:

At the risk of being redundant, the realization of yesterday’s huge changes, and the conversation with my husband this morning, are both miracles.

Posted on April 10, 2013, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I don’t know about it being so much a self-centered “disease,” I think alcoholism is often a habit & a symptom. I think we have reasons for drinking that aren’t just because we’re powerless defective wretches.


  2. I haven’t heard that song in years. Thanks for the flashback and something to repeat in my head — my new mantra, “Roll with the changes, keep on rolling.”


  3. i wrote a post about this very thing once. It may seem self-centered to say “My recovery before everything, even my kids,” BUT, we are not say “ME before everything” and the fact we’re putting our recovery first means we can love and help others in ways that would never have been possible before. Putting our sobriety first helps us put ourselves last, is i guess what i’m trying to say.


  4. runningonsober

    If we don’t put ourselves first, nothing else can come second.

    LOVE that song too, it’s a great one to run to. “Keep on Pushin'” is another great REO song with a fantastic message…


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