— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84
What a terrific reflection from the A.A. website today. This hits home for me. Early on in my recovery from narcotics addiction I remember telling the person who was heading the meetings how everything looked and smelled different to me in recovery. Sure, my senses were more locked in because I was no longer dulling them with drugs or alcohol. However, it was as much the program that led to this new outlook on life and the beauty that surrounded me.
The reflection discusses how our attitude and outlook upon life WILL change. That is because addiction is a behavioral disease. For however long you, or someone you loved, was “out there” having their affair with the drug or the drink, the mind had been hijacked. The painstaking grip and hold of alcohol and drug addiction steps over all things that are important. The part of the human brain it affects is the flight/fight response which is your survival instincts.
I have a nearly two-year old daughter and when she is hungry, WATCH OUT, she will let you know. The reason a baby or child screams so loud for hunger or rest is because these are survival instincts and even the youngest of child can recognize the need for these items within their life. A drink and/or a drug is so powerful it can step over an instinct that the addict had from the moment they were born.
When you become active in your recovery you will realize changes in certain aspects of your every day life. I’ll tell a little story about my own personal changes, behaviorally, that happened early on in recovery.
When I was “out there” with my drink/drug, I would be out until all hours of the night and sleep until 10:00AM-11:00AM regularly. Wake up and rinse, repeat. About 30 days into my recovery I realized just how important the behavioral change was, the OUTLOOK on life.
The problem with this was that my mind had been hijacked. How can I trust myself to make the right decision when for the last decade the driving force behind my decisions were not my own mind but the drug that I had deluded my mind with? I couldn’t.
That’s why EARLY in recovery what I would do is the opposite of what my mind told me. This helped to simplify my recovery(don’t confuse that for being easy). If my mind was telling me to stay up late, I would go to bed early. If my mind was telling me to procrastinate mowing the grass or turning in a job application, I would hop on the lawn-mower or immediately call an employer.
I had to “reset” my mindset to change my outlook on life. What I had done for 10 years never worked but my mind was still hijacked. Therefore, the only way to utilize that to my benefit was to GAIN MY AWARENESS of my powerlessness over the drug, and with that awareness be able to recognize “stinking thinking” and to do the opposite. It paid off.
There is a saying in A.A. and N.A. It goes by H.A.L.T. Never get too “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired”. This is the power of the program with people. Have like-minded people to call, get to a meeting, eat three meals a day, realize your powerlessness over other people and when a situation used to anger you, simply walk away. These are some of the changes that will happen in recovery.
In 2009, I was sitting in a work-release facility at 240 lbs, jobless, questioning my life and purpose. By the time the summer of 2010 came along I was working for a nationwide company and running in my first Indianapolis mini-marathon. I remember noticing the little things around me. Simple things. Wind blowing in the trees, the smell of a grill. These things may seem insignificant, however, when you’ve dulled those senses for so long it helps you to appreciate the beauty of those “little things” you notice when you return to being aware. When you return to life.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction I challenge you to make a phone call, go to a meeting, anything. Trust me when I tell you that if you decide recovery isn’t for you, the drink or drug isn’t going anywhere. However, every person deserves an opportunity to experience the REAL BEAUTY in life. When you change your mindset and outlook on life, you will experience true peace and serenity.
If you need us, we are here. All you’ve got to do is call or come. Life is waiting.
Address: 441 S Ritter Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46219