After 26 years of sobriety, working the 12 Steps several times, attending thousands of 12 Step meetings, sponsoring so many individuals, doing countless 12 Step speaking engagements, and volunteering my time in a multitude of other ways as well in the recovery world from addiction, the last thing you’ll hear ever coming from my mouth ever again is the line “I’ve got this!”
“I’ve got this!” is a line frequently spoken from far too many addicts of all varieties. It tends to emanate from their mouth once all the hell of their past relapse begins to wane and life starts feeling better again for them. While it may seem harmless to say such a thing, what most addicts fail to fathom is that the precise moment those words are coming from their mouth, is the very moment when their ego is leading them straight back into their next relapse.
So many addicts don’t understand that there is no graduation from addiction and 12 Step recovery. The work we do in our recovery from addiction can never end because this disease is always doing pushups in another room waiting for us to breathe life back into it. I learned that the hard way by saying “I’ve Got This!” back in 2009 once I completed the steps for the first time.
After saying “I’ve Got This!” I began calling my sponsor at the time much less. I began going to meetings much less as well. Ultimately, I slowly stopped being of 12 Step service to the suffering world of addicts. Within a very short period, I fell back into my old selfish and self-centered behaviors, the very behaviors that lead most addicts back into another relapse. For this addict, I became convinced that all the hard work I had put into my recovery from addiction in 2007-2009 was enough to take a break and finally enjoy the benefits of all my 12 Step labor. It was my ego’s way of saying “I deserve a break from all the time put into this 12 Step stuff!” But it was all that 12 Step stuff that was keeping me selfless, sane, and spiritually healthy. And the more I got away from it, the more toxic I became as I surrounded myself with unhealthy things once more. In 2009, I became deeply engaged in several adulterous relationships because of going down this path. They consumed me for almost three years until I attempted suicide in 2011. I came very close to picking alcohol and drugs back up during that time as well, of which I am convinced today that none of this would have ever happened if I had just stuck around the rooms of recovery and gotten honest with myself and those there. Now, every time I do a 12 Step speaking engagement at a detox, I always ask now how many people there have said “I’ve Got This” prior to arriving there. Generally, at least 75 percent or more of the hands present have raised.
Engaging in an addiction always comes from the ego believing it knows better. It doesn’t because it’s the ego that feels a break is needed from all the recovery work when that’s the last thing that should be done. Most never realize that it’s all that recovery work that’s keeping a recovering addict healthy. And as soon as the ego convinces a person a break is needed from 12 Step recovery work, it’s the very moment where one’s addiction starts coming back to life again, where those push-ups being done in another room start manifesting themselves in far worse ways.
While doing all my 12 Step recovery work at times can be frustrating, exhausting, and tedious, it is something I have committed myself to stick to the rest of this life because I know ultimately where it took me the last time I mouthed those words, “I’ve Got This!” and that’s a road I pray I’ll never travel again…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson