Addiction, NA, Narcotics Anonymous, Recovery, Spiritual Principles, Twelve Steps

Trust and Life’s Slippery Spots

Yesterday was a rainy day here in Tulsa. At one point I looked at radar and saw that the rain extended all the way from the Texas panhandle to Wisconsin. It was one huge weather front!

It was fun to watch the storms throughout the morning, but at the same time, they were making me feel antsy. I had not been on my bicycle since Amanda’s crash earlier in the week, and since that ride had been cut short, it had been a full week since I’d gotten in a good workout.

So, when I saw a break in the weather in the early afternoon, I put on my cycling kit and headed out. It had been a few years since I had ridden in rainy conditions, but I thought it would be ok as long as I took it slow.

Wet conditions are ok for some bicycles, but mine is not really set up for slick conditions. The tires are super thin and have no tread. Thus, handling is significantly impacted on slippery surfaces.

So, before heading out, I took extra precautions. I took my drivers license along, making me easy to identify in the event of an accident. I also discussed my route thoroughly with Amanda before leaving. I told her what time to expect me back, and asked her to call if I was late.

The first half of my ride was what I would call interesting. Very slick conditions and a few lingering showers marked my first eight miles. By the time I had made the turn toward home, a breeze had kicked up, drying much of the pavement, and moving the rain out.

I arrived back home a few minutes ahead of the time I had predicted, and phoned Amanda to let her know I was safe. All-in-all it had been a good ride. Sixteen miles total with an average speed of fifteen miles per hour. It turned out that placing trust in my past experience was ok in this situation.

Learning when to trust myself, and my experience, has been a bit of a challenge in recovery. When I was abusing drugs, my ability to make wise choices was greatly impeded. So much of life centered around feeding my addiction while trying to keep it secret. Not only that, but I had even come to the point of rationalizing my drug use. I told myself that it wasn’t harming anyone else, and thus, it must be ok.

I had lost the ability to act based on motives that were pure. I had lost the ability to make rational decisions. I had even lost the ability to trust myself with my own life-choices. The slightest “slippery spot” in life became treacherous.

In-patient treatment helped me early on in my recovery. Though at the time I resented it, having a strict schedule to follow, as well as strict rules, helped retrain my brain to make good choices once again. Being reminded to make my bed, do my laundry, and finish my assigned chores helped me regain some pride. Before long, I was doing these things without being told. Integrity was returning to my life.

After treatment, I carried some of these lessons learned with me. More life skills returned as I began to work the steps and practice the spiritual principles. Before long, other people were trusting me. More importantly, I began to trust myself.

The ability to live life free from drugs has returned as the result of this process. Recovery has brought me a freedom that I had sacrificed to my addiction. My life no longer needs to be ruled by my addiction and a set of secrets designed to keep parts of my life hidden. Trust has returned!

Yes, today I can be trusted. However, I am not foolish enough to take that trust for granted. I know that life will still be full of slippery spots. Times when, alone and caught up in my own thoughts, the temptation to slip back in to addictive behavior could easily arise.

So, like my bike ride yesterday, I take extra precautions. I discuss my plans with Amanda whenever I head out on a business trip. I plan my hotel stays in places where I know I can go to meetings of Narcotics Anonymous. I call home. I pray and meditate more than usual.

In short, I use the tools I have learned in recovery to protect myself from my disease. To the average “normal” person, all of this might seem like over kill. Maybe it is, but I know myself. I have learned something that alluded me for most of my adult life. I need structure. I need accountability. I need to earn trust on an ongoing basis. Earn it from others, yes, but mostly from myself.

As on my bike ride yesterday, where one careless moment could have ended in disaster, I know all too well how bad my life can get if I hit one of life’s slippery spots unprepared. So, I remain vigilant. I stick to my plan. I work my program of recovery even harder.

I trust the program of NA. I trust the steps, the principles, my sponsor, and my fellow recovering addicts to help me stay the course. Because of that trust, I can also trust myself, knowing that we do recover.

Have a remarkable day!

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