Program a process, not an event
There is no magic pill, no booming voice of god. The realization that you are in trouble and need help can seem like a revelation. But the treatment does not happen in a snap. It is not a single event.
The first great achievement will be abstinence from your addiction. The magnitude of this may not even register because the addict arrives with a foggy brain and is emotionally numb. Apart from this giant step, because changes are often subtle, the addict can’t see the improvement from one day to the next. Looking back to yesterday there may be no improvement and things can even have taken a temporary turn for the worse. But ever since I got half a year under my belt, I have been able to look back six months and see a measurable improvement.
It is a process of many years. But don’t let that put you off. It can be done little by little, one day at a time. There will be a multitude of small achievements that will add up to a life worth living. You will keep bettering yourself so, for you, the program will change over the journey.
For example, anonymity is more important to the newcomer at the start than later on. But it is a personal decision to break your own anonymity. You must never break another member’s because this aspect is one of the great attractions of the program to newcomers.
“Don’t feel guilty, it’s not your fault, it’s the fault of the drink” was another great sales point for the program at the start for me. Six months later the guilt came back but, by that time, I could see other advantages that kept me in the fold. Remember, you’re a sick person trying to get well, not a bad person seeking forgiveness or redemption.
Selfishness is encouraged at the start whereas, years on, you will probably end up unselfish and helping others. ‘Take the program or leave it’ is the attitude at the start to avoid putting undue pressure on newcomers, but later they are encouraged to complete their step work to become fully contented individuals in the program.
Don’t visit your old haunts is the advice at the start to avoid putting temptation in your way to use again. Later on you will be able to visit old haunts if you have a good reason like helping another addict to break the habit.
What do you think?