Folks, every once in a while life skips the basket of lemons and goes straight for a bowl of shit. It happens. In recovery, these can be dangerous times (though, being honest, I encounter more trouble when things are running smoothly).
The important question is a simple one; are you ready for those times?
Now, before I get knee-deep into this post, I want to be very clear about one little piece that is absolutely crucial; this is not waiting for the other shoe to drop. Early in recovery, many of us have a bad habit of waiting for the doom to happen, we often refer to it as “waiting for the other shoe to drop”. Being prepared for a rough patch is not waiting for that shoe to drop. Anticipating bad times is not being prepared for them. One of the first lessons required for a happy, lengthy recovery is getting over “waiting for the other shoe to drop”. I expect good times because I work at recovery, but sometimes life gets a little dark.
So, what does a recovering fella who’s been sober for three decades do when the fit hits the shan?
Well, folks, the first thing I do is hit my proverbial knees and pray for the strength and wisdom to do the right thing. When emotions get the best of me, I do stupid quite well. Second, I have at least try to make sure I don’t do anything to make matters worse (this is usually pretty difficult). Third, when I’m struck with an “idea”, I must filter it through the “Is this stupid?” sifter. Those are the immediate things. Next, depending on the severity (as is judged by how I’m coping with things), at the very least I’m going to call my sponsor and we’ll have a discussion over the phone. If shit really went sideways, I’m taking him out to dinner so we can work through whatever I have to so I can accept my situation and do something constructive with it. Finally, I’m going to work with other recovering people, sharing my experience, strength and hope so that my experience might help them.
Notice nothing on the list of shit to do involves sitting and stewing in that bowl of shit. That’s a period, not a question mark at the end of that sentence.