— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 71
Pride is a big one for me. Pride can be the absolute foundation or the absolute crumbling of a recovery process.
I will tell a brief story of myself. As I was out drugging and drinking for longer than 8 years of my pre-adult into early adult life and living with each lie and rationalization, I lost touch with many of my closest friends and family members. That is not an unusual tale for the addict. Addiction steps over all things including friends and family.
Then came my recovery. The year was 2010 and I was, once again, in legal trouble. After going through a work-release facility for a misdemeanor drug charge(and subsequent probation violation) I had been released in January of that year. By March I was back on probation in another county for another misdemeanor drug offense. As I was driving intoxicated yet again I called the drug testing hotline as myself and 3 “friends”(or so I thought) were all in the car together and I heard those words that every addict on probation dreads:
“You are scheduled to report for testing tomorrow”.
I had just turned 25. I had just gotten out of jail not 6 months earlier and I was about to be wasting away once again. All of a sudden I was stone-cold sober. I prayed for guidance and for help. “The addicts last prayer” some call it: “Lord, I promise get me through this and I will…..”. Of course, that prayer is said so many times without the follow through on the addicts part.
However, this time was different. I went down to the drug lab, failed my test, however, when I got back I removed myself from those situations and began my recovery.
The Lord blessed me with an opportunity as the courts granted me home detention. Instead of once again violating the rules or looking for ways to circumvent them, I played by the rules. I also began living a healthy lifestyle(remember, recovery is a LIFESTYLE and BEHAVIORAL change- you cannot simply just put down the drug and do everything else the same). By the end of the 3 months on home detention I had lost 70 lbs(healthy), had a healthy diet and routine, and was active in my recovery groups.
Slowly, I got better and more gainful employment and the relationships I had lost all of a sudden were renewed. Family members calling me and I felt confident and healthy enough to not ignore the call. Friends I thought I would never again be able to to be close to were once again prevalent in my life and would later be the best men at my wedding.
Then, in 2013, at the pinnacle of what I viewed as my successes after receiving a promotion and proving to be more reliable than so many friends and family that had at one point seemingly written me off, I got prideful and lost humility.
I challenged God. I asked him: WHY? Why do I have to give this credit to you?!?!?!?! So many people who threw me to the curb and wrote me off now see me as this reliable and consistent person who is capable of not just a healthy lifestyle, but as someone who is intelligent and thriving in their life and stated goals. I HAVE TO GIVE THIS CREDIT TO YOU?!??!?!
I grew angry. All of a sudden I had this chip on my shoulder to everyone, including God. I wanted to not just be shown as the man who was capable of this successful lifestyle and recovery, but as a man who was BETTER than those who had once written me off. That pride and grandious mentality slithered in like a weed through cracked concrete and, with it, put a chink my recovery armor. Slowly, that pride allowed me to put my relationships at risk, led me away from meetings under rationalizations of “I don’t have the time”, put a wedge between me and my fiance. Finally, it came to a head with a predictable outcome in 2015 when I ultimately, 5 years after being clean, would have a relapse with alcohol. There I was, that man who had “overcome” so much in my mind, humbled back in an intake center as I had been pulled over for drinking and driving. Thank the Lord no one was hurt. I had been humbled.
I tell you this story because PRIDE can be your greatest ally or your fiercest opposition in your recovery. However, YOU have to make the choice on how pride will impact you. Will you take PRIDE in your recovery? Will you use that pride in your recovery to show your humility and help others? Will you allow that pride to become a chip on your shoulder and weigh you down? That choice, just like your recovery, is up to you.
However, after getting back into my recovery in full force I now live with this bible verse every day and ask that anyone in an active recovery keep this bible verse close to you; regardless of your belief.
Thank the Lord, however you see Him, for another day of sobriety and live today for today.
If you need us we are here.
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