So you went back out, and you either DRANK or USED or BOTH.
What happens now ?
What happens with all that time you banked, before you walked out the door ?
Do you loose that time, or does that time still matter ?
There are two schools of thought on these questions. I’ve heard them discussed over the years, but in recent years, I’ve heard no mention of the options in open community.
Option #1: Time on the Continuum exists and is still in motion, your slip is but a blip on the time line, so keep moving forwards.
Option #2: You HAD time, but you slipped, your continuum has stopped running, NOW you go to the BACK of the line and start over.
This came up today while talking to my best friend.
I’ve mentioned over the past few months, the number of friends I have who decided against better advice, to go back out and drink and use.
Here, in Montreal, my “Core Group” is trying to figure out how to help our friends, and get them back on the horse and reconnected.
We decided, as a group, to give keys, jobs and responsibilities to those who need to reconnect. Service will keep you sober, because you become accountable. Turning, back benchers and slippers into Service Hounds is what we have decided to do.
Will it work ? That is yet to be seen.
When I accrued my four years and had orchestrated my slip, I really had nothing to return to, as in accrued sober knowledge and time. I was too busy trying to survive.
That was the greater challenge, even if I took that life for granted, and pissed away that time endangering my life with more drugs and more alcohol.
I have a friend, one of our men, who went out at almost the four year mark. He was good, and stable. In the end, he fucked off, and isolated, and that black hole swallowed him whole.
My friend speaks of it this way … “He needs to practice his Emergency Exit Plan.”
Everyone needs an Emergency Exit Plan …
Everybody, no matter how long you are Clean and Sober.
You need to put your oxygen mask on FIRST, before you can help someone else !!!
Had he done that, he could have avoided using again.
I’ve learned in sobriety that in certain cases, I must be liberal in my approach to my friends and fellows.
My friend, returned with three years banked in the hopper.
Does he go back to the end of the line, or does he just keep going ?
He has ALL that TIME, in history, knowledge and sobriety.
He knows what to do, it isn’t like he forgot.
Pushing him to the back of the line, is detrimental, I believe to his well being.
The time one spends on a slip has to be calculated on where you land when you return.
If you have some serious time banked, and your slip is brief, (sometimes that can also be disastrous) You need to figure out where you are in your head and in your life.
The worse the slip, the harder the climb back into life.
Some people don’t make it back. They resign themselves to sobriety loss, and decide to just pack it in. They might be in a meeting, but they have disconnected.
Time has no meaning for them any more.
What does my friend do ? Well, right now he is doing service and he’s pounding his meetings. He feels shame and fear because of what he did to himself, and now what came of his actions upon those he worked with and friends he has known.
We know he is his own worst critic.
My friend and I talked about the TWO OPTIONS plans.
We agree that Option #1 – works for him.
He needs to get back on the horse. Yes he is marking new time, but with years of sober time banked behind him. So he has all that experience to work with, in figuring out what he wants to do now.
There are those who come back, and they reconnect, but they need to re-engage with The Book, The Steps and Meetings. (also contingent on how long they were absent).
We need to provide for everybody ALL the TOOLS they need to recover.
We are human, and we need to be reminded that (If we had time) that time still exists, on the continuum. You just don’t STOP living, because you slipped.
So let’s give you tools and trades to get back into the game as quick as possible, so that this time, you STICK and STAY.
We don’t need to punish people by telling them to go to the back of the line, now you start over in sobriety, that none of your past time matters …
That is NOT true.
All time matters. It matters by the strength of that banked time.
In my case, my past time was pretty non-existent. What I got the second time around mattered more now, than it did the first time around. The messaging was off, I wasn’t in the book, I wasn’t connected to a sponsor and I was my own worst enemy.
So the second time I DID start over from scratch.
Because I had nothing to bank on …
What if YOU have TIME to bank ON ? And you SLIP ?
Would you rather get back on the horse and pick up where you left off, or would you like to go back to square one, and start over, as if your past banked time, did not exist in the first place ? Or that your past time did not matter ?
The choice is yours.
I have spoken about the Do Over’s when one comes into recovery. Today, I would like to expand that discussion to include time tracks.
Yesterday I sat with one of my guys and we spoke about our Million Dollar Millennium young man again. And as his story unfolds, more information has come to the fore.
Which leads into today’s discussion.
When we are born, we are born into a time track. A life that has not unfolded yet, and has yet to be experienced. One cannot choose their family. And what ever baggage comes with the parents, that baggage infects the lives of their children. There is no escaping what is about to unfold for the unsuspecting child.
We only have this one life to live. And the choices we get to make, don’t come until much later into their specific time track.
Our young man, recently shared that one thing he suffers from, Abandonment, by his parents. Divorces fuck up children, no matter what. No child escapes the pain of a divorce. This serious issue has clouded his judgment, and his life, and causes him serious grief.
Abandonment is a familiar issue, that I have heard countless times in my life. It is so serious that it can stunt, and for many, in this case, kill any life ambition or possible positive outcomes for that human being.
What ever happens to us throughout our childhoods, our teen years, then our young adult lives, all that energy, whether it is positive energy or negative energy travels with us into adulthood. And what ever that energy is, will either, infect our lives with pain and strife, or it will enhance our lives, and help us to live our best life.
Our your Millennial is saddled with negative energy that is negatively impacting his life, his life view, his upward mobility, and negatively impacts his daily life. His choices are warped, his wants and desires are skewed and the choices he is making right now, aren’t realistic, and clearly not optimistic.
Everybody has a life track. Everybody has the life we are living at the moment. And what ever baggage we are carrying around with us, either negatively or positively impacts the life we will live as the days go by.
Life Energy can either help us or harm us. Negative or Positive.
Life Energy … The Two Worlds Theory.
Our lives are a collection of family, life experiences, emotions, choices, people, places and things. What we are born into is the constant. Everything else on this list is a variable. Whatever befell us as we grew into our adult life, shapes the men and women we become.
That is either a good thing, or, a bad thing.
Adding another wrinkle to the mix, some skate through their lives, with minimal attraction to, or addiction to substance(s). But whatever factors exist that they are carrying with them, that energy is running at full speed.
Every man and woman who grows up, falls into one of two categories.
- A – The Non-Addicted/One Life Time Track Crowd, or
- B- The Addicted/Comes into Recovery/ Do Over/ Time Track Crowd
If you fall into Category A, then you are stuck in the life you are living, with whatever baggage and issues you are carrying, running at full speed. If you don’t hit the addiction speed bump, or fall into a life that your journey is NOT impeded by something critical, medical, addictive, or anything that might pause or stop, your forward momentum, like our Millennium young man, is living at the moment, our young man, has not had a moment where he was stopped, in order to (Re-Orient) his vision, You will suffer whatever ails you for the rest of your life, if Re-Orientation does not take place.
Track A – is the one life you were born into. Complete with all the energy you are carrying with you, either positive or negative, in full-bore, every day one after another.
There are no supposed speed bumps, warning signs, stop signs, or major life issues to warrant a Pause, a Stop, or a Re-Orientation.
In Track A – There is no do over possibility. You are in this One Life Passage.
If you fall into Category B, You were living a life, you fell into addictive behavior, you drank and used, and possibly, had a serious medical issue pop up. Or you experienced an episode that stopped you in your tracks.
If you find yourself in this Category B, and you were blessed to get that STOP sign, Congratulations. You get your Do-Over.
When we come into recovery, we have hit bottom, or we are on our way, to figuring out where our bottom is, or where it was. We are taken out of the normal circulation of life.
We either end up in rehab, or we find our way to the rooms. In either case, we spend some time beginning to (Re-Orient) our lives.
On the Medical front, a serious illness, either makes you stronger, or in many cases, where treatment varies, it will kill you. Sometimes you cannot escape the finality of a serious medical illness. That is just the plain truth. In my case, I survived, and got my Do Over.
The Steps are written in a certain order.
After a little while, we sink into our chairs, and we begin the hard work of digging ourselves out of the pit we had sunk ourselves into. As it will go, if and when we are able, we begin to look at the past: People, Places, Things, Family, Emotions, Family, Life Experiences, Emotions, and Choices we either made or did not make.
The forward momentum of the Category A life, has been stopped.
Now the Category B life begins. And this is where my theory comes to the fore.
If our Millennium young man, does not get his Stop Sign, or his Do Over, he will end up in a place, where he will make certain decisions, however good he thinks they are, with what information we have about him right now, based on his life experiences, won’t be good at all.
We know his decision-making skills are skewed, so the positive future he believes he wants, is still clouded by all the negative UNIMPEDED energy he is carrying around with him.
That Category A train has left the station, it is in full motion, and if he does not Re-Orient, that train will run right off the tracks, if he is not careful.
In the Category B train, The first train left the station. We screwed up our lives with the drink and the drugs, forcing our train to leave the tracks, and park in a station, for some undetermined amount of time, until we are ready to get back on the train with a new heading and direction, and to allow the train to get back into motion.
The difference between Track A and Track B, is, whatever forward momentum and energy we were carrying with us, (like on Track A – Unimpeded) on Track B, that momentum is stopped. The energy flow is interrupted.
In Category B – We get our Do Over. We get our Re-Orientation.
People in recovery get to stop, and review the past. We write it down, we inventory the wreckage of the past, we find out who hurt us, and who we hurt as well. We figure out our character defects and our shortcomings.
We get to make amends, and live a spiritual life, if everything works out that way. Those odds are slim at best, because not everybody makes it.
I know many people stuck in Category A. They are living the life they are living. Some are modestly happy, some are very happy, but many of them are downright miserable.
Most people in Category A, never get the chance to Re-Orient. They don’t get their Do Over. They are stuck in the cookie cutter, this is YOUR life, LIFE.
That train just keeps on chugging away. It never stops, never reaches their destination, because all they see, for some, is the inside of a cubicle, eight hours a day.
They are carrying all the energy from their entire lives, and all that energy either helps or harms that human being.
Like our Million Dollar Millennium young man, we know what all that negative energy is doing to him, by the conversations we have with him.
This is not going to end well. And if we don’t find a way to get him to Re-Orient, He may fuck up his life indefinitely, in horrible ways.
We need to move him from Category A to Category B. And Soon, without the trauma of something serious happening to him to force him into Category B.
The odds of something serious be falling him are very high right now.
The challenge we face now is, what do we Do ? What do we Say ? And How do we help him ?
People in recovery have the benefit of hindsight, of our experiences, of our Do Over capability.
How we impart that knowledge to others is critical.
The World is running in Category A.
A good number of us have been blessed to find ourselves in Category B.
It only took me this long to figure this out.