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It Stopped Working

Used 2012-11-01 It's Stopped Working sobriety recovery alcoholism

It’s Stopped Working

i’m adding this to the SlogAAns & sAAyings page but i wanted to cross post here because it relates to my previous post about timing.

It Works Until It Doesn’t

Addicts begin using their drug of choice as self medication for a variety of ailments, and the treatment is efficient until “using” became “abusing” and “treatment” became “mistreatment”. The old methods work until they don’t work anymore. When the cure becomes the disease, alcoholics in recovery seek out healthier methods of dealing.

(For those of us in Alcoholics Anonymous, this realization is Step 1 material. “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.“)


This adage applies to other areas in recovery as well. Check it out:

  • i didn’t believe in or even need a Higher Power until i did
  • i skipped meditation in my recovery until i didn’t
  • i find it hard to be intimate until i won’t anymore…


Action not Reaction

For Every Action, There Is An Opposite Reaction

When last we met, i described how Step 5 of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps had me detailing my defects and defaults to another human being. This step was key because it forced me 1) to unburden the secrets i used to have to drink to drown and 2) put them out in the open where i could deal with them.

That done, i was ready to move onto Step 6:

[I was] entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

The key to this step, my sponsor explained, is the “entirely ready”. “Entirely ready” means i do not expect myself to become a saint and don’t pressure myself to be perfect. i do not beat myself up for my shortcomings…but i no longer use them as crutches or excuses, either.

It’s all about recognizing patterns. Lately, i’ve been noticing when i get angry or become anxious that it’s like there’s two parts to my brain, the one part that feels and another, distant part that stands off on the sidelines and observes.

In the past, i wasn’t able to distinguish between these two entities, so i thought they were one. If i felt an impulse, i had to act on it because it was valid.  The fact it was an urge that came from deep inside of me meant it was good, by definition. Now i understand i need to analyze these urges to see if they’re good or not.

That’s what i mean by “action, not reaction “. Instead of reacting blindly to stimulus, i need to take a step back and act responsibly and consciously. Sometimes the best reaction is no action at all. Sometimes, doing the right thing means doing nothing. Keeping my mouth closed and losing the battle to keep the peace. Or if i’m anxious, “acting” means sitting myself down and for the rational part of my brain to tell the freaking out part, “You go ahead and freak out for as long as you need,  i’ll be over here waiting, just let me know when you finish.”