A false sense of security.
One problem with 12-step group meetings is a feeling of security when you come back from a relapse. After it has happened a few times, you get used to the hugs and cheers when you pick up your white chip one more time. They tell you that there is no shame in going back out, but the shame is only in not coming back. Now that you are back, safe at your first meeting again, you are met with a warm welcome. Not that it is all pleasant. There will be some people in your group that will feel betrayed and let down by your relapse. They may keep it to themselves. No one wants to take the chance that you won’t feel safe in returning to recovery. It is time to realize that the safety net you think is there does not exist.
The problem is that you believe there is a safety net.
You may lose your job, your money and your family. These things may not matter to you at the moment. You have lost them before. Loneliness and starting over is nothing new to you. But, at least you know that you have a safe place to return to. You also know that there are places to get food and shelter. Navigating the system has become routine. Drug treatment programs, jails, a friend’s couch, the streets. You have been there already.
What if there was no safety net?
Suppose that you had no one to welcome you back to recovery? The problem with having this safety net of recovery is that it is an illusion. In life, there is no one who is going to truly stand up for you when you have burnt all of the bridges over and over again. When you come back from a relapse, the welcome you get is somewhat superficial. The service that you provide to the group is an excellent negative example of what not to do. Otherwise, when it is all over, you are left to go back home, if you have a home to go back to. No one is going to help you get through the long nights when you can’t sleep. All you can do at that point is pray.
Time only goes forward.
You can never get it back. When you relapse, it is like jumping into a deep hole. It takes an instant to jump in and hit the bottom hard. It can take years to climb out again. Those years of your life are lost. You may not think they are because you spend those years working your way back to feeling normal again while in recovery. Imagine what you could have accomplished if you hadn’t jumped back in the hole again in the first place.
The world has changed in the past few decades.
We are being replaced by software and robots. Hard working people from developing companies are willing to do our work. Surviving in the modern world takes ingenuity. It takes creativity and the ability to do what can’t be done by a machine. It is a world where you have the advantage, if you can only stay clean.
You were destined for success.
People who are predisposed to develop a dependency on drugs are usually intelligent and creative. Being special in this way can make you feel like an outcast growing up. Before you get to a point in life where you are able to realize how special your abilities are, you get hooked on drugs. You miss out on years of education and developing skills because you are too busy finding and using drugs. Then, the drugs reprogram your brain to use your best thinking to get more drugs. Less intelligent people and the uncreative find it easier to quit the drugs. The smarter you are, the harder it is to fight against your own brain. Addiction hits creatives harder.
Don’t give in.
So, if you are able to quit and get a little time clean, it is time to realize that there is no safety net. You really have nothing to stop the fall. If you relapse again and again, there is only going to be one certain outcome. If you don’t die first, you will live out the rest of your life in deep regret. There will be no getting around this. The lost time is lost. The opportunities are gone, into the past. Whatever stage you are in life right now, it is time to take a stand and commit to do whatever it takes to stay clean. Don’t give up no matter what. Fight the cravings one at a time. Every morning you can wake up clean for another twenty-four hours is a success.
Work on yourself.
During your time in early recovery, start working on yourself. Spend your free time studying. Build things. Do a lot of writing. Eat healthy, exercise and take a multivitamin. And again, do not go back to drugs no matter what. You must succeed in life and now is your chance. There is no safety net.