Those of us who have an addiction, or dual addictions, can get clean and sober. We can attain the “happiness, joyousness, and freedom” that the Big Book of AA promises. We can change our thinking and behavior, practicing healthy behavior so frequently and so long that it becomes predominant. We can cause a change in our neurological pathways that lessens our propensity for addictive behavior.
But we cannot be “cured.” Staying clean or sober is a one day at a time proposition. The demons of obsession, compulsion, and self-destructive behavior are always lurking and waiting to pounce when we become vulnerable, regardless of the nature of the addiction.
“We have but a daily reprieve, based upon the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” -AA Big Book
“Our disease is out there doing push-ups in the parking lot.” -an AA phrase
“Addiction is the athlete’s foot of the mind. The itch is always there. And the more you scratch it, the more it itches.” -Patrick Carne’s
As a person with Bipolar Disorder, two primary addictions, and a history of addictive behavior, I have learned these truths the hard way. Consequently, I practice a daily regimen to stay clean and sober.
And while some part of me would be willing to return to the prison of my addictions just to experience the short, intense bursts of dopamine again, there is a much larger part of me that never wants to pay the price of pain, shame, and bondage again.
By God’s grace. One day at a time.