“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.