Starting Over, Again

I’ve heard relapse begins when I “start stopping” recovery behaviors. Daily recovery behaviors include planning and committing my food, praying, meditating, striving to live a spiritual life, practicing the Step principles in everything I do, being honest and doing service.

Picture a large brick wall. Each brick represents a specific recovery behavior.I did not know I was headed for relapse the first time I decided to stop doing, even for one day, any of the actions that helped me stay abstinent. I removed a brick with each action I did not do and told myself, “I am okay because my food is in order.” I removed a brick with each behavior I added that was not part of my recovery plan but insisted, “I am okay because my food is in order.”

I did not know I was headed for relapse when months later, I decided not to call my food in to a temporary sponsor while mine was on vacation. A brick came out of the wall for each day I did not make that call. The wall began to sway, but “I am okay because my food is in order.”

I did not know I was headed for relapse when I held onto a resentment. I removed another brick each day I didn’t discuss it with my sponsor or look for my part in it. The wall began to sway and weaken, but “I am okay because my food is in order.”

I did not know I was headed for relapse when embarrassment kept me from weighing and measuring my food at a class reunion. Another brick came out of the wall, but

“I am okay because my food is in order.”

I did not know I was headed for relapse when I thought “justified” anger was okay because I was right and had failed to look at my part in the situation. But “I am okay because my food is in order.”

The wall eventually collapsed, and I was in relapse.

A brick comes out each time I make a decision on my own about my food; miss a day of prayer or meditation; miss an opportunity to do service or Twelve-Step someone; become selfish, self-centered or fearful; and don’t ask for God’s help as the Big Book says we must to live a spiritual way of life.

Today I take relapse signs seriously. Keeping the bricks in the wall with God’s help has kept me abstinent for 19 continuous years through the grace of God and all of you.

Lifeline, Sept/Oct 2011