Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it isn’t strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose. When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.
— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 65
Long-Term Hope. What a novel concept, right? It is possible. To have long-term hope that coincides with a life.
I find the passage today to be quite eye-opening. We are BORN with an ABUNDANCE of NATURAL desires. This is absolutely and unequivocally true.
When they drive us BLINDLY, or we WILLFULLY DEMAND that they supply us with MORE satisfactions or pleasures….
This is alcoholism and drug addiction, people. None of us started out saying: “we are going to be an addict one day”, no one does, but the drug or drink quickly turns on us. It lies to us. It drives us BLINDLY.
I actually took a small video of my daughter(who is just under 2 years old) the other day when her night-time bottle was warming up. She looked at it as it was steaming and the moment the timer went off signaling the bottle was done she said “ding”…I played this to a group earlier in the week as an example of what our NATURAL desires are and also how strong the Pavlov’s study on dogs in relation to the human condition actually is, commonly known as ringing the bell.
My nearly 2-year old daughter thirsts for milk. It helps her to survive and to grow, to become stronger. Regardless of routine, my daughter will seek out that milk as she does rest and food as her means to survival. Before she can put together a sentence, she understands these basic survival needs.
Now, in conjunction with Pavlov’s conditioning study in regards to his dogs and how it fits in with my daughter. Since we have a routine with my daughter now she knows at a certain time when the bottle is being prepared, she knows when the bell rings she is about to be provided with something that helps her to survive, she does the same thing every time we start the bottle at this point. It’s cute, but it’s also telling.
This is an example of a natural survival desire that she is displaying. It is also an example of how a specific routine conditions her to expect that desire to be fulfilled within a certain timeframe. Now, as addicts, we allow our addiction to STEP OVER our survival instincts and we condition ourselves for a different need to be fulfilled and to provide an instant-gratification.
What once was the need to eat or sleep is stepped over with the need to drink or drug. How many have stayed out until 3-4 AM or skipped meals because of addiction? I know I have. We are no longer “behind the wheel”. We are now allowing these “desires” to drive us “blindly” into our addiction.
As humans, conditioning is part of us. We will create routines, we will have a thirst for water, a hunger for food, a desire to pro-create. These are basic survival instincts. Are you conditioning yourself for positive life-changes and to stay clean and sober or are you conditioning yourself for a relapse? That becomes the question in recovery. No architect ever built a home without blueprints. Be sure that you are building your foundation for recovery so when a certain time comes up in the day you are salivating over the NEED or DESIRE to get to a meeting instead of a bar. That is when you begin to experience long-term hope and long-term results in recovery.
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