Excerpts from A New Leaf
Read some of these excerpts from past issues, or for a free electronic PDF version of the current issue, click here.
When I first came into the program, one of the fallacies I entertained was that once I simply stopped using, everything would automatically be perfect and all my problems would be solved. I soon came to the realization that my issues went well beyond my pot use, and that I had a difficult path ahead.
When I expressed my frustration at meetings about this seemingly never ending process we call recovery, I often heard an old timer or two say, "Look how long it took you to get into the forest, you can only imagine how long it will take you to get out." This forest metaphor helped me learn the spiritual principle of patience, and to accept that I am right where I am supposed to be at any given moment.
When I was a child, I was told that god saw all, was everywhere and knew everything. Since I believed god was an old man in heaven, up in the clouds somewhere, I knew that he couldn't be everywhere at one time. I believed that god looked in on me for a couple of seconds every month or two; there were just too many people for him to be concerned about me. But I had to watch my thoughts and my actions just in case he was looking: God as Super Spy.
When I started smoking pot at age 15, I quit going to church and drifted further and further from any sense of god. I thought pot was spiritual, and I had delusions of meditating on pot.
More energy. The circles under my eyes are gone. I am more likely to be on time. I am more prepared. I have better hygiene.
I stayed sober from September 21, 1997 for about 100 days. I relapsed thinking I could keep using and stay in control. Though my drug use wasn't daily, my feelings were bad. I was lying, especially to my boyfriend who was also in recovery. One night I called him, feeling especially bad. Imagine my surprise and relief when he told me he had been using. I went to a meeting that night and told of my relapse. Again, imagine my surprise when people applauded my return. They were not disappointed or disgusted with me. Instead, they were warm and kind.
Now in my fourth year of sobriety, I'm active as both a sponsor and a sponsee. It helps me stay sober and reminds me that I need to be connected to other people on a regular and ongoing basis.
During my first year I depended on my sponsor for a lot. But I had a couple of different sponsors during the ensuing two years and neither time did the relationship quite gel. Whatever the reasons, I'm glad that I'm back working with a sponsor again. I'm also glad for my program friends who, when I'd sheepishly remark that I'd not talked to my sponsor in months, would say "then you don't have sponsor," or "then you need to get a new one."
Yes, the title of this piece is borrowed from an Elvis movie (remember? Mary Tyler Moore played a perky nun and E.P. played a velvety-voiced doctor [!]), but I assure you, the content is not. It's just that these words best express this addict's 82-day experience in the fellowship of Marijuana Anonymous.
For me to take every action that has been suggested to me since I got here, I have had to change my habits. First of all—meetings. Are you kidding? Me, a die-hard, never join anything, not-even-a-Girl-Scout, rugged individualist, go to organized meetings? Every day, no less? But I do. Because my prideful habit of never being a part of any new group had to be changed.