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You Never Know When You’re Going to Need Your Program (So It’s Good to Keep It at the Ready)

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I’ve never heard of anyone making a perfect run at recovery, where they decide to sober up, work their program, clean up the wreckage of their past, and bam. That’s it for the bad stuff. Life just doesn’t work that way.

See if this sounds familiar: you’re cruising along and you realize there are a couple of things you’ve been neglecting, things you can do a little better at. You thank your HP for opening your eyes and ask for the strength to fix what needs to be fixed, confident that strength will be there, and you go about it.

And that’s precisely when the wheels really fall off.

This is where you’d better hope you’d been working at that program, that it isn’t as dusty as that Big Book on the shelf (there’s no dust on my Big Book app, however). And while we’re at it, if you’re like most in the program, it’d be a good time to pick up that phone.

Rather than take a deep breath and calmly assess the situation before getting to work on one thing at a time, all of those things you’ve been neglecting (not because you were working a bad program, but because things were going well and you didn’t even see there were issues you were neglecting in the first place – this happens, don’t stress about it. We just go about rectifying the problems), it’s all too easy to lash out and make matters much worse (I had to work extensively on this in the past, and still work on exercises to stay calm when I’d otherwise go).

In truth, when things really go wrong, with the right perspective, this can be looked at as a positive. A few little things are easy to shuffle around and make it feel like we’re making progress while we’re just doing busy work to appease our ego. When things really go wrong, it’s easier to put the brakes on and really take a step back and assess what the f*** just happened.

The key for me is that I know myself. I know exactly when every button has been pushed and I go from manageable to RED DEFCON 4. If I don’t stop and take a deep breath, extract myself from the situation (either physically or mentally), and reflect, I won’t be able to control what happens next. I don’t look for the cool one-liner, I don’t morally berate anyone for “going there”, or anything else. I stop and extract myself from what’s going on immediately, if not sooner.

And then I have to go to work.

Look, shit happens. There’s no reason to get down about it. Stewing in that shit just makes you stink. Get in the solution and work those steps like your life depends on it. It very likely does.

Recover hard, my friends. And don’t f’in’ drink. Even if you ass falls off. And if it does fall off, put it in a paper bag and take it to a meeting and someone will show you how to put it back on.


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