Addiction is a lifelong battle that people must fight on a daily basis. A person who has battled addiction in the past and has begun his road to recovery sometimes forgets what he used to be like when he decided to make a change, and he can start to take things for granted. Taking sobriety for granted is something a former addict must try to avoid at all costs. If not, it can be very dangerous.
As time goes by, memories of what life without recovery was like becomes more and more distant. A person can begin to view that former way of life as a former life. Those memories can begin to seem like watching a movie about someone else. A lot of those behaviors and attitudes may be dormant, but there is still the possibility that they can be resurrected.
Most of the time, a person in recovery battled with the idea that he could do it on his own until he had failed numerous times and was finally convinced he could not. “The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.” (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 30) The fact that a person once went through this type of battle shouldn’t make him feel ashamed, but it should make him that much more grateful for the gift of sobriety. If a person tried on his own to stop or control his addiction and could not, then something else had to have happened.
“We, in our turn, sought the same escape with all the desperations of drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God. A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, ‘a design for living’ that really works.” (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 28) The part that should be emphasized is that the new way of life was GIVEN, not EARNED.
With that said, I encourage anyone with time in sobriety to remember his past and be grateful for the gift that took him off that destructive road of addiction. One of the ways a person walking down the path of recovery can make those distant memories seem a little more fresh is by attending a recovery-related meeting. In these meetings, a person is almost certain to find someone new in sobriety who is struggling with issues the recovery veteran might not currently be struggling with, but was at one time. Hearing the recovery rookie’s current battles can spark the recovery veteran’s memory. It can help him realize what a blessing his new way of life is, how much better off he is now that he has been given that new way of life, and what took place to get him from that former state to the current state. This is just one of the numerous ways a person can keep from taking his recovery for granted. What has worked for you?