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.
There are 24 hours in a single day.
I’ve learned from some learned men about the importance of making sure that you maximize your time, each day, and that one does not waste time on projects, people or things that aren’t going to best utilize your time or efforts.
I have a certain routine that I follow, on any given day. I’ve said before that I do not “block” anything in the morning, unless of course that involves labs or my doctor.
That does not mean that I won’t block time for someone or do a job in the morning, if someone needs my help, or the situation at that moment requires I be present.
As a rule, my mornings are mine. On certain days, Tuesday and Wednesday, my off days, I have a large block of time that I use to nap in the afternoons.
I told a good friend of mine, recently, who is battling a serious health issue, that, in the beginning of a major illness, we have to recalculate our time, based on the ability our body has to do something.
AND we have to rest, often. Which for him is what he really needs to do right now and not push the accelerator too hard, right now.
Pushing a body that is infirm, to the degree my friend is infirm at the moment, is not suggested. Because, there are times that he feels good, and figures he can overcompensate, and push his body beyond its abilities, and ends up flat on his back, not being able to get out of bed.
If we do not take care of our bodies, all the time, when the chips are down, we are forced to learn just what our bodies will or will not do. And that is a huge rude awakening for many.
At this time in my life, approaching fifty, I can dictate what I will or won’t do, on a daily basis. I have a schedule I follow. I have chores to do at home. There are jobs that need to be done, on the odd occasion. Then I have my three meetings a week.
I sponsor a number of folks, and I always have to be prepared when my phone rings.
I know today, what I will expend energy on. I will never say no to a friend who calls and asks me to be present and/or help them with something. But once again, time is money, and wasting my time, is not something I enjoy.
Case in point … Someone needed my help today. Early.
Last night, I re-ordered my schedule and set my clock for an early rise. Knowing that I would be out of the house, for an extended period of time, I had to re-order my daily schedule of chores. I rushed out to the grocery store to do my daily shop, and get back home because I needed to hit the Orange line, down the hill.
I do my shop, I walk home. Halfway home, I realize that I did not charge my Metro Pass with tickets. Which means I have to go back to through the mall to get tickets, because I won’t use the machines in the stations for small number ticket purchases.
The other night, when today’s job was arranged, my friend had a morning appointment up town, and the she was supposed to call.
I waited, and waited, and waited … I sort of figured out that the morning would be a wash out.
An hour later than usual, my phone rang. My friend had realized that her appointment wasn’t this morning, but tomorrow morning.
I got dressed and walked back to the mall. Because of Montreal’s 375 birthday today, the city is all lit up and polished and there were events going on all over the city throughout tonight. I was not sure if buses were free, which is why I needed tickets.
The Metro – was free all day.
I got on the train going uptown to change over to the Orange line one stop up. While the train was in motion, my phone rang in the tunnel. My friend tells me that they have shut down the orange line and evacuated the Vendome Station.
The word was ABORT the MISSION.
Arriving one stop up, I go back upstairs for the return train, coming back to where I had just departed. The Line stoppage was on the telly, and the audible was talking inside the station.
I got back on the green line and returned to Atwater, where I had started.
I had wasted two hours.
On the way home, I needed to go to The Tire, and get my window prep tools so that I could hang the A.C. in the bedroom. Fifty dollars later, I was ready to do some work.
Got home, changed out, and prepped the window with sealant, and set the A.C. in the window. Once one hangs the A.C. you have to plastic over the window above the unit, unless you have a plexiglass sheet that slides into that space. I don’t …
I bought double thickness window plastic sheets. With a little finesse and a roll of duct tape, the job took me half an hour. I had to fix my drapes, because my rods were strained with the thick drapes we have hanging on the windows.
I blocked the morning off for a friend. And that was a wash out.
While I was working on the A.C. my phone rang, and my friend told me her saga of what went down when the trains stopped running. She was in town, up the road, and was calling to see if I would commit to the morning run all the way across town to see a property, now, in the afternoon.
I told her NO.
My afternoons are devoted to nap time. Unless you are sick or dying, I’m not going to change my afternoon rest time.
I’ve learned over the years, that taking care of myself is something I must do to make sure I am optimal when I need to be. I cannot crank life out seven days a week any more. I drove myself sick at the end of last summer doing that to myself.
There are limits to what I will commit to on any given day.
Time is money, and I don’t make any money with the time I spend working with others. So that translates into personal money. Running all over town is not something I enjoy doing, unless it is for someone or something specific.
Read … Don’t waste my time