Living in Yeaman as i do, one thing i know a lot about is learning a foreign language. For the longest time, sobriety was a foreign language to me.
Becoming fluent in Yeaman-ese required several steps.
- i had to learn that the mistakes i was making were mistakes. If i didn’t know i was saying something wrong, i couldn’t learn to say it right.
- After learning the correct way to say it, i needed someone to correct me when i messed up. When the error was pointed out to me, i was able to correct myself.
- i would catch myself saying it, after the fact. i was able to recognize the problem myself and correct it on my own.
- Soon, i could catch myself before i said the mistake. The words were in my mouth but i could stop them and fix them before i spoke.
- As this process came more and more naturally, i started using correct language spontaneously.
Looking over this process, i see it’s the same for breaking the bad habits i learned in my alcoholism.
At the beginning of my recovery, i had to learn that my reflexes and thought patterns were faulty and i needed other, healthier people to show me the correct behaviors. Then i got to the point where i would blow up at someone or berate myself and realize, after doing it, that i had made a mistake.
Currently, i’m at step 4 on the list above. The negative emotions and thoughts erupt and i recognize them before i act out and i’m capable of calming myself down. Eventually i may get to the point where i’m totally zen and don’t feel those feelings anymore, but you know me. Plus, recovery is a process and it’s not about the getting there it’s about the journey.
What about you? Have you noticed the same patterns? Where are you on the scale in getting past your alco-habits?