Saturday – Triggers
It is written, in The Book, that:
At some point, the only thing that will stand between you and a “Drink/Drug” will be your Higher Power …
Because I straddle the lines between fellowships, I can speak to both arenas, with clarity.
The Saturday meeting, is usually sparse in attendance. But we sat a small group.
It seems, that even in sobriety/clean time, nobody is immune to the occasional mind fuck that takes us by surprise, when we least expect it.
When the weather gets good, and terraces are open, folks congregate on sidewalks, and they drink/drug and shoot the breeze. And I can tell you that, within 50 feet of where ever you are, in Montreal, someone is “smoking up.”
The Tams opened up a couple of weeks ago. This is an institution here in the city. At the foot of Mount Royal sits a park with a huge statue and obelisk. On Sunday afternoons, people congregate for “The Tams,” (read:Drums).
I enjoy this Sunday event. I hit the Mount Royal Metro and walk up to the park, at the foot of the mountain, I participate in the frivolity and drumming. Law enforcement usually tends to stay away, even though folks smoke up and play their drums and dance.
This came up in conversation on the way home tonight.
After a while, one tires of the drums, and so we take to the trail, and climb the mountain up to the Chalet House at the top. It is an afternoon event. When it is nice outside, one makes use of every hour of sunlight and warmth.
I went through the leftover topics from Thursday night, because the chair could not stay, so that left me to chair the meeting. A friend showed up and the topic I had picked came up in conversation before the meeting, so I went with it, which lent to the hour’s conversation that took on a life of its own.
The day I reach my geographic endpoint, I was given a choice between a joint and a beer. It wasn’t a trigger moment, It was a what do I do first moment.
When I put down the drugs finally, in my rehab house, a month into clean time, a friend offered me a joint, which I calmly declined. I never touched pot again.
When I moved back to Miami, it really wasn’t an issue. The drink was an issue still.
I lived alone, and had few friends, so triggers were almost non existent.
When I moved here, clean and sober, I was warned about certain facts.
Only twice, in early sobriety, was I hit with serious triggers, that were substantial.
One was on Jean Baptiste Day, the first summer, I was sitting on the pier at the Old Port, and folks were double fisting beer, I had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Along with quitting drugs/alcohol/AND cigarettes, I was attempting impossibility.
They say quitting smoking is as bad as quitting heroine.
A few months in, like I said, I was at the Old Port, in a celebratory, atmosphere, and watching folks drink and drug around me, I got thirsty and I wanted to smoke.
I was told that if I had a choice between a drink/drug or a cigarette, that the cigarette was the lesser of the evils.
I maintained my sobriety. But I walked off the pier and bought a pack of smokes, and that was that.
When I met hubby, the first job was to cleanse this apartment of the take out containers strewn all over the apartment, to get rid of 300 beer bottles stacked on the balcony, and to rid the apartment of his old drug paraphernalia.
Little by slowly, we returned the beer bottles, and over the next few months, I got rid of the rolling papers, the rolling machines, and left over baggies.
Over the long haul of sobriety, alcohol was something we avoided. But how can you avoid pot, when your neighbors smoke up, they deal in the hallways, and on every corner and alleyway, folks are smoking up outside ?
I don’t often think about smoking pot or drinking. But I dream about both incessantly.
I either drink or drug in my dreams, and I have conversations with the folks who were there, that I never got to speak to, in the end. And that all takes place in my head, when I am sleeping. And usually I wake up with a sick feeling and the residue of those dreams.
Sometimes, and it is often, at the end of a sleep period, I go into a dream, and I see it, smell it and feel it, I know I am dreaming, and sometimes I carry the dream out of dream state into waking up.
This drink/drug dream situation is common among folks getting clean and sober.
Which usually facilitates, a beating ones self up for even considering using, a feeling that we HAD INDEED drugged or drank, then a hurried call to someone close or to our sponsor, and then a tenth step in addition.
The other night, I was coming home, and I passed the alley way next door, and some kids were smoking up, and as I passed them to the building, the thought came …
I JUST WANT ONE HIT …
When was it ever just one hit ?
As quick as it came, the thought left, and I came home.
Some folks who are new to us, have problems with filling drinking/smoking time with something more substantial. Like calling others, or getting out of the house, or even, hitting a meeting or just doing something new.
Problems such as, “Oh, it’s Friday night, I should smoke up.” or “I am feeling down and stressed, let’s smoke up,” or “That exam is done, let’s celebrate, let’s go smoke up.”
Triggers and slipping are very prominent with many folks.
Those of us who came once, went back out, and then returned again, can attest to these things, quite clearly.
Another problem we see these past few years are old timers, going down the drain.
Old timers are one of two people. ONE, they are engaged and going to meetings, and maintaining fellowship and are IN The Work. Or, TWO, they are disconnected, they stop going to meetings and they avoid fellowship, because the young people, and those in the mid range aren’t connecting with them.
Once they disappear, the forgone conclusion is that it is highly likely that they would drink again, or use again, never return, and end up DEAD.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen it time and time again, old timers who just disconnect and end up down the drain.
It is sad, but entirely avoidable.
But I’ve heard from some old timers, how they are lacking in fellowship and are hitting meetings, filled with young people, but the young people don’t connect with them.
So it is falling to those of us in the mid range, to try and help them, by creating connection.
The One Certain Truth about those early first 100, and even Bill W, himself, the connection of one alcoholic and these days, one addict, with another is of prime importance.
The Connection between two suffering souls.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.
I work to keep in contact with the old timers in my social circle, even though I call them and encourage them to return to the fold, many of them are resigned to self isolate and bemoan the fact that they are old and they believe they they are unwanted.
This is also entirely false.
These are some of the things our population is dealing with today.
It all begins with prayer and meditation. Hit those meetings. Find a Home Group, Get Connected, Find a sponsor, and sit down and get right into The Work, right away.
Because these things will save a life, even if they don’t see it now, eventually they will, because they stay clean and sober, in the long haul.
In the end everyone left a little bit stronger, after the discussion we had.
And we even had a five minute meditation, which was new for us.
It was a good evening.