The utter defeat of addiction
Sometimes a simple word can completely alter or emphasize a point you are trying to make. This post is in response to a coffee that Mike and Glenn had with our friend in recovery, Megan, on April 18th of, 2021. You can find the podcast here.
While sharing her story, Megan said that “utter defeat” moved her to direct her life toward healing. That's right, not just defeat, but utter defeat. Time had run out. The game was over. There was no possibility of triumph in her scenario of life.
Everybody's defeat moment is different. Some could be physical. Some could be financial. Some could be relational. Some can be court-ordered.
Those who have a deep-rooted struggle with their addiction will ultimately come to the point of utter defeat. The foe, drugs and alcohol, are too powerful and persistent in stopping until they gain victory. It is not a matter of if -- it is a matter of when.
In sports, there is always a chance, even if very small, to pull out a victory as long as the game is not declared over. So, as bleak as it might look, if there is still time on the clock, there is still a chance to pull victory from the hands of defeat.
If we are breathing, there is still hope for change.
We have found that those who have succeeded in their quest for victory over addiction have started by admitting that the regulation clock had run out in the way of life they were accustomed to. The game was over, and they were absolutely defeated. The admission needed to include the fact that there was no human way over addiction. We would have to put our hope in their next phase of life, a new game, if you will.
This new game (life) will demand a new playbook. In Megan’s case, her new life playbook includes necessary executables like; taking suggestions, living life simply, a spiritual connection that provides for daily readings, balance, and working with others early in recovery.
Let’s review her new life strategies:
Megan fired her old coaches (the marketing executives at Stoli) and replaced them with a sponsor who had experience winning the battle against addiction. Megan picked up a new detailed playbook: the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. She also surrounded herself with those with the same experiences and life goals as in her newfound desired direction– she took up new “teammates” from the fellowship of AA.
She attended regular team meetings. She listened and engaged.
Living life simply
Trick plays were abandoned for simple fundamental high-percentage actions.
Once the cloud of grandiose thinking was lifted, it was time to get down to basic life living. Learning to appreciate and accept the small, simple things; family members and dear friends who had been abandoned, bills that had not been paid, and jobs that had been less than fulfilling.
A spiritual connection
Here we go with the spirituality thing again. Think of it this way, Megan’s old team was owned and managed by her. All she has done is give up the management of that same life to a more powerful, omnipotent, omnipresent supernatural being.
She did not have to buy into anybody’s concept of their superpower. She just had to give up ownership of her life to concentrate on executing the next play. Since she was a free agent, she picked the organization that she felt would best support her desire to be victorious, a champion in sobriety.
She defined her new owner, her higher power, in whatever way worked for her.
With so much work to do, bad habits to break, and new learning, Megan maintained a balanced nonaddictive life flow. This goes hand-in-hand with keeping life simple. She found that balance was essential and that her priorities needed to be led by sobriety, her relationship with our higher power, and her family. (Which includes the cutest little young lady, by the way)
Working with others
As part of her newfound balanced approach, Megan has found great value in passing along her experience, strength, and hope to newcomers looking to join a winning team in her role as a coach to others – a sponsor in sobriety.
This exercise and the associated effort get her out of herself. It is just like encouraging a teammate during the game, which enhances their performance, increasing your chance of victory – simply by passing along all that you've learned. It's simple and has so much meaning and purpose, as it becomes about the journey and not the end.
The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous makes a bold claim:
“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.”
Megan is following the path, and it is working for her.
Will you take the first step today in your new life?
Will you write a new playbook supporting victory in this new game?
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a bonus drop sober.coffee podcast titled “Megans Story of Experience, Strength and Hope The podcast dropped on 4/18/2021. Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.