A few weeks ago I was sitting with a friend of mine who has a family member that recently did a 30 day rehab program. This program was 30 miles from our city and the individual was doing well. They had taken to the program like a fish to water, cleared up some of their finances, secured a better vehicle and had returned to work. In other words they were having a "pink cloud experience".
I remeber that experience. When for the first time in a long time you feel strong. You feel like everything is coming together. You want to go from point A to point Z and skip everything in between. You love this new euphoria. But wait there's something nagging me in the back of my mind. Oh yeah, my sponsor had told me about this pink cloud. I believe her exact words were, "this too shall pass". And boy was she right. My pink cloud opened right up and dropped me on my butt!
So it wasn't a surpise when my friend told me this morning that this individual has stopped going to meetings. Gets angry when she asks him how is program is going, and has even met some friends out at a local bar. She has no proof that he has been drinking but he avoids her if she asks. She is worried and scared and feels helpless.
It's amazing how little we think of others. We get a scrap of sobriety and suddenly we throw out everything we know and start to feel empowered. We can handle this all on our own. Except there's one tiny problem with this. We can't. We need to do what we've avoided all along, and that is work. Work through all the muck and mire that causes us to drink. If it was easy to stop drinking there wouldn't be a need for AA. But it's not. It sucks to take that journey one step at a time. I mean after all we are control freaks and we want so badly to control this disease.
So what to tell my friend. I know she was looking at me expecting some guidelines, some solutions. I don't have any. I just could share with her what worked for me. Staying in today, not looking back, and not looking forward. Support from AA, meetings, fellowship, and my sponsor. Working hard. Excepting the highs, sucking it up through the lows. One single step at a time. One 24 hours at a time. Shutting my mouth and opening my ears. And oh yea, surrender and willingness to change.
This I'm sure seemed like a tall order. I also had to remind her that its his journey and sometimes it takes a while to get the program. It doesn't always stick right away. Everyone does it at his or her own pace. She sighed. And I wish I did have the magic answer, but I don't.
However I do know that if you stick with it, life does get better. Does it get perfect? There is no such thing. You learn to live your life and to appreciate everything about it. This means the highs with the lows. You change, your relationships change, your beliefs change. But a whole awesome world awaits you if you are willing to do the work. And I still am learning, and changing. 19 months of sobriety and there are days I have learned nothing, I swear! The other day hubby and I got into an argument and instead of using the tools I have figured out, I fell right back into my old ways and things turned yuky! I was so mad at myself for letting those habits creep back in. But at least I recognized them, made a note to self not to repeat it, forgave myself and apologized to my husband.
We are a work in progress. But now I have a plan. I have a few resources to call upon when I get frustrated. I can take the good with the bad. I am realistic when I see a "pink cloud". I know that it will pass. I don't know if my friend's family member will make it or not. He may use again, he may start over, he might be just fine. I do hope that no matter what happens the fundamentals of AA stick with him. Because the promises do come true, and one thing I know for certain is "they will always materialize if we work for them" - AA 12 Step Promises......