Tag Archives: Discipline

“You can’t stay sober today on yesterday’s sobriety.”

The Voice

“You can’t stay sober today on yesterday’s sobriety.” I saw this today and thought to myself “Boy is that the truth!” It really does not matter WHAT we are recovering from, we can not rest on yesterday’s progress, can we? Could be a car wreck, bad relationship, really bad, abusive relationship; drugs, sex, booze, gambling … it really doesn’t matter, does it? So, the question arises, “Why not? I’m doing OK. Why can’t I take a breather and take it easy a little bit? It isn’t going to hurt anyone.” In AA, we refer to this as stinking thinking, and this is precisely the thinking that will get you dead.

Think about where you came from … the hole you had to claw your way up and out of. Think of the pain, the struggle, the education. Perhaps you only had a few people care enough to help you, or maybe you were one of the fortunate ones that had family and friends rally around you, give you a hand up. Maybe you were never in jeopardy of losing your job, your home, your way of life. When I hit bottom, I was facing losing everything. The only friend I had was me and that was doing me a whole world of good (sarcasm!). A couple of my superiors took pity on me because they thought I had potential as a human being and I made them laugh: they thought I was redeemable, and repairable. I busted my ass to get sober, go through withdrawal, get educated, go through counseling, confront the truth.

The day after Christmas this year, I will have 24 years of being clean & sober. Every day, I STILL have to work to stay clean & sober. Things are good now. I have accepted who I am, shortcomings and all, and I try to better the things I can. I still work on educating myself, doing the steps, trying to help others, and staying clean & sober. At this point it would be really easy to ease up a little and not stay buckled down on it. Deep down though, I know that that is the voices calling to me. Those voices are calling me back to places I never want to go again. My recovery has meant that I do things that people do not understand, and often take the wrong way. Once I got squared away, I made up my mind that never again would I be with people I didn’t want to be with, in places I didn’t want to be, spending my money, and wasting myself and my time. To this day, I don’t do this and sometimes that causes friction. I am extremely particular about who I call a friend; not because I am stuck-up, but because I don’t settle anymore. I do my best to live up to the standards I hold others to. Somedays I fall short; but I do not make it a habit because now I care.

Addiction and codependency are sneaky: they will lie and cajole you. They will caress you with lies and a false sense of independence so that you let your guard down, becoming less vigilant. They will say “It’s been a long time, it’s OK. Live a little. Have fun.” There is nothing fun about being in a shitty relationship, even if it is with yourself: actually, especially if it is with yourself. After all the work we did and continue to do, one day at a time, we owe it to ourselves to continue working on us. Don’t give in – don’t rest on the success of yesterday. It will kill you.

What Motorcycles Taught Me About Recovery

Old Engine

Recovery and riding a motorcycle may seem far removed from each other. At first glance, a person could reasonably wonder how they are even remotely related.

Riding a motorcycle is all about freedom and exhilaration. Often overlooked however, is the most important part of riding a motorcycle: discipline. In this instance, discipline has many aspects that work together to provide a successful and satisfying experience. When you ride a motorcycle, whether you admit it or not, you are involved in a relationship with that machine, and you only get out of it what you put into the relationship. You have to know the machine, its limitations, quirks, idiosyncrasies. You have to maintain the machine so that it functions at an optimal levels and does not let you down, leaving you stranded. Another reason you have to maintain the machine is that if you don’t (through complacency and/or procrastination), it will kill you. There are days when you can push the machine to its limits, and there are days when you caress and cajole the machine. You can not ride impaired. Impaired can mean lack of sleep, being distracted, angry, scattered, and of course, impaired by drugs or alcohol. The day you ride and fail to show the proper respect for the machine, it will kill you. There can be no lapses.

Our recovery also requires maintenance. Our recovery is a relationship we maintain with our deepest self. Like any good relationship it requires effort and truth. We can not “cheat” on our recovery; we can not procrastinate. We can not afford to take our recovery for granted and put it on “autopilot.” Just like the motorcycle, we have to show our recovery the respect it deserves and requires for it to be productive and successful. Just like the motorcycle, the very second we disrespect our recovery there are deadly consequences.

When I was riding, I learned something new every day. My attitude was to learn something new every time I rode, even if it was a small nuance of something I already knew. My recovery is the same way: Learn something new every day. Just when I start thinking I have mastered recovery and I can ease up a bit, there are consequences. Just like riding, when I become complacent in recovery, it whips my ass. A quality recovery requires constant respect, effort, and maintenance. I can never afford to forget that, even for one day.