I truly believe that my recovery must always come first if I’m going to continue remaining sober from all the addictions I once suffered from and sometimes maintaining that principle requires me to sacrifice attending something I really want to attend.
To be more specific, I was invited recently to attend an opening night showing of the Avengers Infinity War movie with a few others from recovery. As much as I’ve been anxiously waiting with glee for this movie to arrive in theaters for a good number of years now, I respectfully declined, because the showtime was going to conflict with me attending the sex and love addicts meeting I helped to start and continue to faithfully support each week.
I must admit though, I initially got angry at the recovery friends of mine who were going, because they too attend this meeting. Because of that, I tried to get them to change the showtime, so that they and I could attend both. I even went so far as to ask that they didn’t plan any outings like this in the future that might end up conflicting with this meeting. Regrettably, I resorted to an old character defect of mine by using guilt trips to try to get my way and convince them they were in the wrong. It didn’t work and I ended up feeling a lot worse because of it. Thankfully though, I have a healthy enough program these days to realize I was in the wrong and made amends.
Yet, in the process, I realized my anger wasn’t truly about them at all, as it was more about how my ego wasn’t happy with the sacrifice it knew I needed to make for myself that night. Given this sex and love addicts meeting in the only one in our area and given we’re still in the early stages of trying to maintain enough attendance to keep it going, I had to weigh what was more important, going to the opening night of a movie or attending my recovery meeting.
In the past, I’d always allow my ego to rule my recovery life and made decisions on a regular basis that included going to movies on opening nights instead of attending the 12 Step meetings I’d regularly attend. The result of which was me cultivating more and more selfishness and self-centeredness within, two things that were always at the core of every one of my relapses and addictions I ever suffered from.
Thus, in light of that, I made the hard choice (and against my ego’s wishes) by going to my meeting rather than the movie. Could I have sacrificed the meeting and found someone to cover for me? I’m sure I could have, and while that meeting would most likely still have gone on successfully that night, it was more about me and what I know I need to do to keep myself healthy and focused both in recovery and on God’s will and purpose for me.
The bottom line is that I know that going to the movies are a luxury, and so are dinners out, or any other event that might fall at the same time as one of my 12 Step meetings. That’s why, unless I have someone visiting me from out of town who’s not in recovery or an emergency, I never skip any of the meetings I regularly attend. Because as soon as I start doing that, it’s sets forth a path where my ego becomes more in charge of my life than my Spirit. And as soon as that happens, it becomes extremely easy to start dabbling in old behaviors that eventually turn into me engaging in old addictions.
Nevertheless, I’m happy to report I’m no longer angry with my recovery friends who attended the Avengers movie that night, instead of the meeting, because none of this was ever about them. The reality is that for me, recovery MUST ALWAYS COME FIRST, no matter what, even if my ego gets angry about it and even if the coolest movie ever is about to open. Because ultimately, I know I can always see any movie at another time, but if I don’t have my recovery, I may never make it to a movie again, no matter what time it’s showing…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson