No matter how long I’m in recovery, I’m periodically challenged by instincts from my previous life.
For example, while backing out of Circle K the other day I gently ran my rear bumper into a car parked slightly out of my vision.
Irritated, I got out to assess the damage. I couldn't see marks on the other car because it had dings on all sides. Maybe a slight scuff on his left rear bumper? And my Prius? A six inch scratch on the right-hand rear corner – perhaps a few hundred dollars in repairs.
The driver must've been in the store, because no one was around. No witnesses.
And for a half second – to my surprise – I weighed the option of driving off. Why? What was the point? I have great insurance. I have money in my pocket. And damage was so slight it was something I could settle between me and the other driver.
But I didn't leave. I waited. And moments later the car's owner and his girlfriend came out of the store.
I showed him my bumper, and then we looked at his car. He couldn't tell if I’d damaged it. So he looked surprised him when I put $50 in his hand. He thanked me for being honest and left.
Driving away, I realized that though I've been sober for almost 24 years, I still have remnants of programming, fragments of old code, from my past.
For years I lived as a predator, a life of corrupt values. I prowled the urban landscape looking to get over on others. Looking for something to steal. Something I could convert to heroin or alcohol.
And I've done my best to erase that part of my past with meetings and counseling. But once in a while old values bubble to the surface.
Yes, I override them. But sometimes I forget they're there and I'm surprised when they pop up.
We addicts must remain aware of who we are lest we revert to who we once were.
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