I’m so down the scale from where I want to be. If I’m not careful, I can buy into a back story that I come from pain and badness and dishonesty and using people. A place where forgiveness can never be had. Second changes are just words in a country song. Where people say, “We’ve heard it all before Steve.” To them, nothing sounds different. And I don’t blame them. They HAVE heard many versions of this “apology.” I don’t want to hear it again, they say. Nothing’s changed.
Oh, but I have changed! I’m completely different now. First, this is not true. For the moment, your attitude has changed. You’re speaking the words of apology, but there has not been a core change down in your soul. The rewiring in your brain that tends to get you thinking and obsessing over drugs and drinking has not changed. It cant’! Not that soon. It took years to rewire your brain to behave in a certain way. Years! Your brain has been hard wired and that’s a big thing. It’s the only thing. The sound of a lighter flicking, the smell of a match burning, the gurgling of a bong, the crackle of a rock of crack, hell, even the smell inside your favorite drug store (if you are into pills) will bring you face-to-face with the desire to get high. These memories are jammed full of memory. Of experience.
This is why the newcomer is told to stay away from all situations that remind him or her of using drugs or getting drunk. Your mood changes when you’re triggered. Perhaps you’re mad at someone, and may feel completely justified in your anger. You’re ready to walk away from everyone just to be right. It is those positions that tear at your sobriety. It eats at the last bit of self-control you have, and you’re off on a tangent. Sobriety is the least thing you have on your mind right now. You’re in dangerous territory. The land of primal hatred and total meltdown. This is the type of anger that will make you run red lights with your kids in the back seat. It’s the kind of anger that will build in to a resentment.
This change in brain wiring is so subtle, we don’t realize it happened. Certain chemical reactions are already being set up. Repeating the behavior tends to make certain the same neuronal firing will happen again. As this pattern gets stronger, the habit gets stronger. It becomes harder to pick up the phone and call someone to talk about what’s up. I know the analogy that the phone becomes twelve-hundred pounds, but it’s worse than that. The desire to even try to pick it up is not there. In fact, the phone is not even on your mind. Nerves, fear of rejection, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, and even chest palpitations. All designed to keep you from using the phone.
This cycle has to be broken or you will live a sad life of using and lying and breaking hearts and ruining relationships, You see, people get tired of hearing the same old excuses. Interpersonal relationship are a funny thing. They form in any situation. Eventually, the feeling comes that you are being objectified and lied to by your addict loved one. That you are not hearing what the person is actually up to. Instead, you’re hearing him or her read from a one-act play where he or she is in the leading role and is also directing the action. This type of dialog never leads to growth.
What is the key? Willingness. If the addict is not willing to change, everything you say is bullshit. It’s all part of a play you wrote called “I’m okay now. Everything is different.” In fact, everything is wrong. You are struggling with cravings. Things you think about or people you run into are triggering you to want to use. Hell, even songs on the radio and smells in the pharmacy can trigger you. It is during this period that you must use the phone. You have to call and tell on yourself. Get in tight with God. Go to him when you are tempted in this way. There is no amount of human power that can relieve this suffering. Only God can. And He will if you call upon him.
It’s simple, just get on your knees and ask Him for His help and protection. And get to a meeting.