I tend to think that I have a really good memory and in most aspects of my life I    do (except for remembering people’s names!) – I can remember things from        when I was a kid that truly amazes my mother. All that being said, I have the  ability to forget on a regular basis how bad it was when I was out there actively  drinking. Thankfully I have good friends in recovery who will remind me that it’s  not necessarily that I’ve forgotten, it’s that my disease wants me to forget – so  that it can get me back out there. It took me a long time to get used to the idea  that part of the disease of alcoholism is centered in the mind.

  You see, I don’t think like a normal person – I have a ‘broken thinker’ and a very    selective memory. Because when it comes to remembering the name of my next  door neighbor’s dog when I was nine – I’m all over it, but ask me to remember the  nine times I went to detox to dry out and it’s a bit fuzzy. I can quite easily recall  the time my teacher gave me detention for talking in class but ask me to talk about the times I skipped class to get drunk and I tend to forget. As a child I remember missing my family when I went on a sleepover but ask me about the three months I spent away from my own son when I was in a Salvation Army Rehab Centre and it’s difficult to imagine that I was actually there.

There are so many things that I take for granted now that I have a little bit of sobriety behind me. But in early recovery the memory was still fresh in my mind because I felt completely hopeless even though I had put the drink down. But as the days passed and I went further away physically from my last drink, it seemed that I was also doing so mentally. I knew that I needed to stay grounded or like I had done in the past when I attempted recovery, I would soon forget the insanity of my drinking and my disease would convince me that I should try it again. This is just one of the reasons that I go to recovery meetings; it reminds me on a daily basis how far I have come. Obviously there are many other reasons that I go, but for me, in the past when I stopped going to meetings, it wasn’t long before I started questioning if I had a problem with alcohol. Coincidentally enough, not long after I started questioning my disease, I decided that just one drink wouldn’t hurt.

It’s true that I shouldn’t stay in the past but I also need to acknowledge the path I came along to get me where I am today. When I acknowledged that I had this disease, I also made a commitment that I would treat it. My treatment consists of going to recovery meetings, working with newcomers, working with my sponsor, volunteering to do service work and developing a relationship with my Higher Power. When I do these things, my ‘broken thinker’ is otherwise engaged and I am given a daily reprieve from my disease and ultimately my next drink.

50 Things Every Alcoholic and Addict in Early Recovery Should Know


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