Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fighting Ourselves

“And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone - even alcohol.” Page 84, Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The above phrase is clear cut. Black and white.

But sometimes I reflect that we also should stop fighting ourselves. Maybe add "even ourselves" to that line. After all, who have we fought all along?

And, of course, the answer is us. We're the authors of our own misery. We're the ones who put drugs and alcohol into our precious bodies.

But now that we're clean and in recovery are we still fighting ourselves? Damaging our own self interests?

I bring this up because over the years I've counseled thousands of recovering people. And many, while not fighting alcohol or drugs, are wrestling with other issues.

They fantasize about losing weight. Finding the right partner. Quitting smoking. Going to school. Yet something keeps them from changing. What is it?

Could it be that there are no immediate consequences if we don't deal with these issues right now?

After all, a few too many drinks might put us in jail tonight. Drug users could miscalculate a dose and end up in the hospital. Things happen fast to us addicts.

But if we keep smoking nothing usually happens right away. (Rationale: My grandma smoked three packs a day and died at 110.)

And school? Well maybe down the road. (Rationale: My uncle became a millionaire and he only finished the sixth grade.)

Weight loss? I'll get to it one of these days.  (Rationale: My doctor said I have a slow metabolism.)

We have a rationale for it all.

I believe those I counsel when they say they got sober to have a better life. But somehow they don't find the motivation to improve their health, education, or income.

Once in recovery the universe presents us with awesome opportunities to live life to the fullest. Yet we procrastinate and rationalize about what we know we should do.

We fight our higher selves when we don't do what is good for us.