Imagine a pendulum as it swings back and forth. As it sways to the left, we have a person using drugs uncontrollably. As it swings to the other side, this same person is in recovery. What are the determining factors that motivate an individual toward the direction of recovery and allows that person to remain in recovery and what are the elements that contribute to a person swinging back into the direction of relapse and addiction – sometimes, over, and over again. This analogy of the pendulum and its oscillation from one pole to the opposite pole speaks volumes when addressing the issue of recovery and relapse because the extremes of these pivotal axes can actually be life on the one side and death on the other.

One of the key components that will always support a person during recovery is their own insistence and determination to remain clean and sober and ultimately forever change their life. This desire to change the direction of their life is an absolute – it must be unconditional. Without this inner commitment, a person can remain on a perilous path towards continual relapses. Another factor is undoubtedly the kind of help and support one receives when embarking on this new path. When the real work gets underway, the person that embraces these steps will most definitely have a far better chance at remaining clean and sober. Honesty is vital – honesty with oneself and with others. Equally important is being truthful enough to identify the signs that have camouflage and excuse-making written all over them. Seeing these warning signs and acknowledging them immediately is crucial towards avoiding relapse. Taking responsibility and ownership of your actions is a fundamental ingredient in sustaining the journey of true rehabilitation.  All of these elements contribute towards pulling this pendulum towards the side of clean and sober living.

I know in this moment that I do not desire to drink again. And unless I am researching material regarding addiction or speaking to others about alcoholism or writing about it, like in this blog – I never think about using alcohol, or go through my day thinking about drinking, or what I may be missing from having some drinks at a bar or the ‘feeling’ I got from drinking, or my former circle of so-called friends. There is not one shred of romanticizing my former use of alcohol – I have closed the door on consuming alcohol. Simply put, the desire to drink alcohol does not occupy my mind. I begin each day with my personal mantra, and it goes something like the following. I am present and conscious in this moment. I am free today. I love and care for myself today, and will offer love and compassion to others. I choose to live fully and freely, one day at a time.  Within this state of being, I am free from addiction. If, however, I were to sabotage this current state of sobriety, and take a drink, I am instantly no longer free. Therefore, that is why I unconditionally accept that I am and will forever be an alcoholic. This is why I will not let my guard down and become complacent or fool-hearty. I readily desire to attend AA and Smart Recovery meetings and other types of recovery groups for the rest of my life. I enjoy my time spent with these groups and never walk away without some wonderful realization or insight and sometimes was able to help another person. More especially, I love the fellowship I share with others – people in recovery mean so much to me.

Stay vigilant and compassionate toward yourself as you continue to live in Unconditional Recovery . . . until next time . . .



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