I love my fellowship as a group and I love each person in the group. When one person is going through difficulty we are all affected, and we all suffer when the disease takes one person out. This is a “cunning, baffling and powerful” disease and we must each remain vigilant to avoid the being drawn back into its grasp. I met a man the other day who doesn’t have a group and I felt concerned for him.
Life is not always rosy and we (I) have to be in a habit of being with recovery friends in order to have that practice in place when life turns dark or grey. There is some wise advice out there to prevent relapse– and much of it has to do with the power of the group.
1. Stay close to your peeps! The “L” of HALT is a warning sign; when isolation looks preferable to community, when alienation feels more comfortable than inclusion, beware! This is a dangerous time, one in which you may be tempted to backslide; to use, to drink, to call a dangerous person, eat, take up cards or any of the many behaviors we are working so hard to over come. Get to a meeting and be with your sangha, your group. Just sit with them in community, quietly. No need to be the center of activity, just BE – in safety.
2. Be in service. That’s right – give away what you may, today, not believe you have. You do have experience, strength and hope even if it was the e,s and p of yesterday. Sometimes being in need is being of service. Allowing another person to lift you up gives them strength. We share in this seesaw of mutual dance of giving and receiving support. But you have to show up, to be there to participate in the dance.
3. Listen to/for the solution. We are not all crazy (or blue) on the same day. Coming to meetings will affirm the good and remind you of the not so swell. We “tell on” ourselves and we share our difficulties and our strengths. In compassion and understanding you can see yourself; the good and the struggling. Go to a meeting and hear someone else tell your story. Listen with your whole heart.
4. Pick up the phone. I know – this can be archaic – not a text, a tweet, an email or a social posting. Call. Why? You have no idea what is going to come out of your mouth! The truth pops out and you had no idea you “felt like that”. The typing and the possible social posturing may in fact obscure your true feelings, and this person to person contact is critical (see #1 above).
5. Finally (and foremost) stay close to your higher power – you no longer have to be an “army of one”. You are part of it ALL, humanity, the universe and everything! Check in with your higher power frequently. Be close to your HP, practice this communications when you are feeling fine so that the link is there when things are not so fine. Alone, we are in danger. Reach out. Stay in the tribe, the pack, the sangha, the kula, the posse. Stay with your peeps and keep the addiction at bay. When they are not available, in the dawn of day or the gloom of night, pray. With your higher power, you are not alone.
ps – There are many other tools to prevent relapse which include getting to know yourself, your feelings, be in good health, and knowing your danger / trigger points. What are some of these for you and what do you do to stay strong?