Today someone told me they had a good 16 years drinking. That got me thinking.
My drinking career lasted nearly 30 years. Long enough that i shouldn’t call it a “career” but my “drinking life” because i boozed for almost as long as Jesus lived. How many of those drinking years were good ones? The first 6, max.
How crazy is that? i spent–no, strike that– i wasted 24 years for a decent 6. It’s like saying i got 6 dollars and all it cost me was 24.
[We] Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
i know some people in the fellowship who don’t like the word “insanity”. For me, when you throw away half your life for a few moments you don’t remember that well anyway, what else do you call it ?
One of the things you get for free in Recovery is a Toolbox.
You fill your Toolbox with tips, ideas, thoughts, prayers, concepts, realizations and whatever else you can find to build a lasting sobriety. My sobriety is only as good as the tools i use to build it with. So from time to time i’m gonna open my toolbox and share some of my tools with you.
Today’s tool is the concept of “Think it Through”. Every recovering addict is going to be tempted to relapse. My personal triggers are things like a bottle of wine sitting before me on the table in a restaurant or a group of people on a café terrace in the sun drinking fruity cocktails and smiling and having fun.
At these moments, my alcoholic brain starts saying things like, “Go for it, dude. You only live once and some people not even that. Don’t be a wuss. Life’s too short. Screw it. You can always go back on the wagon tomorrow. Everybody relapses once,” and so on and so on, add nausea. Before i let my brain get the best of me, i “Think it Through”.
Thinking it Through goes something like this:
- i have a drink
- i’ll want another drink–i know me
- i’ll have that second drink because that’s what i do
- After the second, the third is easier and after the third, all bets are off
- i’ll drink until i get so drunk i make a fool of myself and lose things and get into trouble i won’t be able to live down or get myself out of. i will drink until i cease to exist.
- i’ll pass out (at home, if i’m lucky)
- i’ll have a hangover that lasts two days and through which i’ll have to take care of my kids, pay attention to my wife and maybe even go to work through
- After the physical hangover will come three more days of a spiritual hangover where i’ll hate myself, beat myself up and wallow in depression
All of that for two hours of euphoria that gets less and less thrilling every time i binge. Mentally going through all these eventualities makes it easier for me to take a step back and take my hand off the “Screw It” button.
Powerful tool, that “Think it Through”.