Why I Work My Program

Even Though I Think It Is Exhausting Sometimes

Recovery is hard work. Going to meetings, putting up with really irritating people, apologizing for mistakes I may or may not have made, praying, keeping my commitments, and being of service can be downright exhausting.

There are times, like yesterday, when I feel like screaming: “Heck, why can’t I take it easy for a day, and for once in my life, not be recovered and not do the right thing?”

There are times when I do shout those words aloud. I skip my Twelve Step meetings, and I stop praying because I don’t feel like recovery. But eventually I find myself missing my meetings, missing recovery, and feeling uncomfortable about being so insensitive, dissatisfied and cranky.

I liken recovery to being on house arrest, only without the ankle bracelet and the probation officer. Even though I don’t have a prison record myself, and I’ve never been on house arrest, I imagine it would be a bummer to be stuck in one location all day long. Also I’d prefer not to have my lunch delivered to me on a tray through a trap door– hey, I’ve seen every episode of Oz. If I don’t make recovery a priority, and I start thinking that anything other than my Higher Power comes first, I’m in trouble. I’ll start slipping back to my old controlling, selfish, judgmental ways; most of which won’t necessarily lead to jail time. But the end result is the feeling of being imprisoned; solitary confinement, sleeping on cement floors without sheets or blankets, and showering from a fire hose.

“Recovery is a lot of work,” my sponsor tells me. “But what else are you gonna do?”

My sponsor is right. Recovery may be hard, but un-recovery is even harder. Not keeping my commitments, wasting time trying to change others or alternately, hiding under the covers because I’m overwhelmed may feel like relief, but it seldom results in long-term happiness.

Ultimately, I would rather be doing things that lead to serenity and peace, and a stronger connection with others and my Higher Power. Things that do not lead to house arrests or probation officers.

In spite of myself: recovery rarely leads to ankle bracelets.

Misti B. headshotMisti B., is the author of
If You Leave Me, Can I Come with You: Daily Meditations for Codependents and Al-Anons with a Sense of Humor. She writes humorous books about life in recovery, mainly because no one else is writing them–at least from a witty point of view. Misti’s had a successful career in the entertainment industry, having written and directed for stage and live events. She wrote and directed a film called, Exposed, which you’ve probably not seen, but she highly recommends because it “has an excellent cast!” All of these experiences–from which she is still recovering–combined with her highly dysfunctional upbringing, provide fodder for her gritty, but inspiring stories. She likes to quote Mel Brooks, whom she thinks said, “The only difference between comedy and tragedy is time...”
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