secrets

Trusting Your Gut

Every now and again, we hear someone in recovery say, “Trust your gut.”  They're right.

There is nothing mystical about hunches, intuition, and trusting your gut. We are, each of us, the sum total of billions of experiences, and we remember many of them on some level. We are well-equipped to let our subconscious minds help us out with problems, armed as they are with that wealth of experience, but we often force ourselves to ignore those gut feelings — the feeling that something is just sort of “icky.”

We want to do something, say something, buy something, to fill that empty place inside, and we think up all sorts of ways to justify our wants to ourselves and ignore the message that our subconscious mind is sending loud and clear. Then we go on with the self-deception and make up ways to justify whatever it is to others – our partner, our business associates, our sponsors, our friends – but, ultimately, to ourselves again.

Healthy ideas seldom need justification. Feeling a need to explain, to justify, should tell us that something’s wrong somewhere. It may simply be a neurotic need on our part to assure ourselves and everyone else that we’re really OK, but there’s also an excellent possibility that we’re about to venture where we ought to fear to tread, guided by the child inside who is telling us it’s OK because I Want, I Want, I Want.

In either case, there are two possible clues: the urge to hide whatever it is, or the urge to justify it. Both should set off our alarms.  Learn to trust your gut instead, and live accordingly. A happier life is guaranteed.

No Holiday Secrets

Relapse is a symptom of addiction, just as much as the craving, obsession and withdrawal.  Most addicts relapse one or more times.  That isn't to imply that it's a good idea, but it is a fact.  (This may seem like an odd subject for Thanksgiving Day, but bear with me here.)

Holidays provide two things that are dangerous for addicts: plenty of different kinds of stress, and ample opportunities both to think about using and to actually do so.  Some of us are going to start some additional research over the next day or so.  Some of us have already started.  Those who do will discover that it's not working any better this time than it did before.  Most will find that things are even worse.  Some will die.  Some will make it back into the rooms of recovery.

It is vital that those who make it back share about it — at meetings, after the meeting, and especially with their sponsors.  (If you don't have a sponsor, perhaps you might take your relapse as a sign that you need one, eh?)  There's a saying that we're as sick as our secrets.  It's true.  Secrets lead to lies, and they lead to more secrets, and the first thing we know we're so tangled up and emotionally exhausted that a drink or other drug seems like the only way out.  Once again.

So no holiday secrets.  They lead to the wrong sorts of celebrations for us — and sometimes for our survivors.