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Maintaining Awareness of Negative Past Behaviors

A period of time in active addiction causes us to change the ways that we behave and react to situations. These habits can be difficult to break. Addiction causes us to act selfishly because our only motivation is to drink or use drugs. In sobriety, we have an entire psychic change that causes a shift in our thoughts and behaviors. However, we can easily fall back into the negative patterns of thought and behavior that controlled our actions in addiction. To ensure that we are living by the principles of recovery, we must continuously take personal moral inventory of ourselves.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains that our sobriety is contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition, but “it is easy to let up on a spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels.” In effort to combat the possibility of letting up on our spiritual growth and slipping back into negative thought patterns and behaviors, we continuously examine ourselves. The Big Book explains, “This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.” These feelings will inevitably occur throughout the day. Fortunately, there are simple and effective instructions to manage them.

When selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear crop up in our lives, we follow four simple instructions to overcome them. First, “we ask God at once to remove them.” This allows us to take a moment to reestablish our connection with a Higher Power of our own understanding and pray. Second, we “discuss them with someone immediately.” Our sponsor or a trusted friend in recovery will be able to give us an objective view of the situation and see what part we have played in developing these feeling. We will be surprised to find that we are usually at least partially responsible for the negative emotions that we are feeling. Third, we “make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone.” Without apologizing to someone whom we have harmed, we may continue to feel resentful. The Big Book explains, “But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth or a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings, we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.” Finally, “we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.” We turn the negative experience into a positive one. By turning our attention to helping others, we are able to get out of our own negativity and safeguard against feelings of drinking or using. The Big Book states: “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.”

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists, holistic experts, and spiritual guides to help clients develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431