I wanted to blog about the black and the white parts of recovery. That’s what I call it, I’m not sure if there is a real term for it. I’m sure I can’t speak for everyone, but I am pretty certain most people who have started the journey of recovery have experienced what I have at some point. Maybe not though.
The white parts of recovery are waking up with a clear head, having the whole day ahead of you to be productive and work on personal and spiritual growth, to wake up without feeling sick, to feel wonderful feelings that aren’t muted by alcohol or drugs, to spend time in the presence of family and friends and know what is going on, to always make fairly sound life choices, and so on and so forth. These are the gifts that recovery gives us. It sounds great doesn’t it? Like once us addicts have a piece of that recovery pie we will never want to go back. It’s not that simple though. Even if your grandma makes the best pie in the world, you might still eat a hostess pie from 7-11.
That is what the black part of recovery is like. The bad parts of addiction slip from our memory and we begin to be seduced by the false memories of good times. The laughter, the camaraderie of drinking at your favorite hole in the wall bar with your favorite people and the warmth the first sip of alcohol fills your body with. All of a sudden you don’t care if its grandma’s pie or expired 7-11 Hostess Pie…in your sick mind they both look appealing. You forget about waking up sick, hurting people you love, making detrimental life choices, and feeling despair instead of happiness. How can we forget how far down the scale we have gone? Because we deal with alcohol, cunning and baffling.
No, recovery isn’t black and white in the way that we know the term….I call it black and white because there is a light to it and a dark side to it. Alcohol will always exist and always be there waiting to seduce me back into a life that was unmanageable. How can we forget the gifts that recovery has brought us and relapse? How can I sit here and crave a drink after all the hard work I have put in to stay sober and stay in the white. When you start to slip into the grey area between white and black, that is when relapse happens. The thing is that life and recovery has a lot of shades of grey. In one day alone I think I go from white to black to grey 50 times per hour. The purpose is to just make it through 24 hours at a time without slipping. Sometimes that means one minute at a time instead of one day at a time.
The more days we accumulate the easier it gets. I know because I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I have been MRS. Alcoholics Anonymous hitting more than one meeting a day, reading my big book and attracting others to the program. I have also been the ex girlfriend of AA. I sneered at the program and blamed all of my problems on it. I have even thrown my big book at the wall in rage.
This all over analyzing though. The only truths I 100% know are as follows:
- My life in active addiction is unmanageable
- I cannot recover on my own
- The program works if you work it- if its not delivering, I’m not working hard enough
There is no purpose to this blog other than to maybe give some insight to the internal battles we feel on a daily basis. We KNOW we can’t use or drink but that doesn’t mean we don’t desire to. We KNOW how deadly this disease is and we still sometimes choose to cave in. That is the sickness of it all. No one wakes up and decides to become an addict and if you are the type of person that thinks life in this hell is a personal choice you are dead wrong. Yes I can choose not to drink, but NO, I cannot choose to remove the disease. All I can do is choose to use the tools I have been given to make sure I don’t succumb to the diseases effects.