Will My Addiction Follow Me By Moving My Life Elsewhere?

I have known many people who truly believe they’ll be able to remain sober by moving their life somewhere new, usually far away from where they’ve been acting out in their addiction. This is something that the 12 Step rooms of recovery refer to as a geographical cure.

Recently, one person I know who has chronically succumbed to alcohol and drug addiction in their hometown opted to move their life to a very remote place on the west coast in the middle of nowhere basically. And they’ve made it very well known that their life there is far more stable and addiction free.

While I am definitely happy for anyone who finds a reprieve from their addiction, the reality of geographical cures, like a remote move to the middle of nowhere, is that they don’t fix anything in the long run and the addiction always returns at some point.

How do I know that? From experience.

I’ve moved about 7 times in my life to brand new areas, brand new states, brand new everything, truly believing I’d left my addictions behind and guess what? I hadn’t. Why? Because addiction isn’t based upon a city or town or state or any location whatsoever. It’s based upon something within us. And wherever we move, our addiction and our addiction tendencies go with us.

While they may not rear their ugly heads initially somewhere else and while sobriety may even last for a period somewhere new, circumstances always seem to arise that eventually cause one’s addiction to surface again.

The only solution I’ve ever found to preventing addiction from rearing its ugly head, is to go deeper, to look within me at all those broken places, character defects, resentments, fears, etc. It’s those things that consistently have always become my driving force for each one of the addictions and addiction behaviors I’ve ever resorted to.

I used to think that it would be great to head off to Nepal into the mountains and spend time in some sort of Buddhist monastery where I wouldn’t be tempted to do any of my former addictions. But after spending time in enough places in this country and around the globe, I saw how many times I kept bringing myself wherever I went and how I kept falling back into addictions. I eventually realized through one failed move after another that even at a mountainous Buddhist monastery, addiction would somehow find me. It was then I saw how geographical cures were all about running from oneself and avoidance of all those inner demons. Geographical cures are great to the ego and the addict mentality because they’re simply just another way to avoid looking at oneself by allowing the newness of somewhere else to take higher precedence over looking within.

Currently, my ego has been begging me to do a geographical cure again after many years of staying put. It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with my life here in Toledo, Ohio over the past few years and I know it’s 100% connected to all my health issues and this constant feeling of being alone and empty within. I often find my ego talking about how Tampa, Florida is calling my name and things would be better there. But frankly, thanks to the strength of my recovery program, I know my health issues, and feeling alone and empty would only follow me there after the newness of the warmer climate, the change of recovery meetings, the proximity to the ocean, and whatever else there was different wore off.

The fact is, true joy and peace don’t come from where one lives, it comes from within. Yet, a geographical move often convinces the addict’s brain that it will bring a cure to their disease. The reality is that it doesn’t and never will, because the true path to sobriety comes from remaining still. It comes from taking a hard look in the mirror in that stillness, it comes from walking through one’s deep-seated fears and resentment in that stillness, and it comes from finding a Higher Power to guide one through it all in that stillness.

Nevertheless, I wish the very best to anyone who makes a drastic move to somewhere new in the hopes to find sobriety from their addiction, as maybe there, they’ll eventually be forced to face the truth that their disease is still within them, waiting for the right circumstances to arise once more.

That’s why my best advice to anyone considering a move in the hopes it will eradicate their addiction is to remain exactly where they are and start working a recovery program instead. Work it until you find peace and joy and sobriety, as then your Spirit will be the one making the decision as to whether you’re actually meant to move somewhere new or not, rather than your ego. Letting your ego make the decision though is only going to bring your addiction and its chaos wherever you choose to go…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Getting Caught Up In The Heat Of The Moment…AGAIN!

Ugh, I did it again! I lost my temper in the heat of the moment just recently and ended up yelling, screaming, and lecturing my partner like he was a little boy, all because he had lost his set of our house keys. I obviously am seeing this repeating pattern and you know what the sad thing is. My love for my partner is far more important than any lost set of house keys.

Looking back on that night when it happened, I had been having a very challenging day on a number of levels. As they would say in most 12 Step recovery programs, I had been feeling extremely restless, irritable, and discontent with my life that day. So, as I stared at my computer at an error message that made absolutely no sense to me, I suddenly heard my partner yell from the kitchen that he couldn’t find his house keys.

I shrugged it off at first while he continued looking, until I heard him finally give up. After I had no success in finding them either, panic set in. Why I panicked over a lost set of house keys was 100% due to being so restless, irritable, and discontent. That’s when I began to get caught up in the heat of the moment and started shouting at my partner. I even went so low as to call him an idiot, which I have much regret and shame over. Frankly, I was afraid that the keys, which included not only our house keys, but also one of the remotes for our home security system, had been stolen at his job, as he works with recovering addicts.

I know, I know, that seems quite a leap from simply losing a set of house keys, but given how my life has had more downs than ups and more mishaps than achievements in recent months, I quickly assumed the worst. Essentially, I let my fear get the best of me, which caused me to get caught up in the heat of the moment to where I treated my partner unfairly and then some.

I really try to be a good soul on this planet, a selfless one at that, one who does more to help others than himself, even in light of my current unforeseen circumstances with my health, but I’m not perfect and never claim to be. I have my fair share of imperfections to still work through, that’s for sure, and this is definitely one of them, especially seeing I’ve reacted this way several times as of late.

Whenever it happens, I always completely lose sight of my spiritual program, my Higher Power, and everything I’ve worked for in my recovery. I don’t take a breath, or count to five seconds, or do anything to calm myself down either. Instead, I just unleash an unholy hell onto the one I love, all because of how restless, irritable, and discontent it seems I’ve become these days.

Regardless, my partner didn’t find his set of keys after retracing his steps the next day, but he promptly got a locksmith over to our house, where every lock was re-keyed. I had our home security company stop by as well to remove the missing remote and reset the entire system with new programming. When all was said and done and the keys being lost became irrelevant, the shame fully set in of how bad this character defect has become for me.

I once had someone advise me that when I start getting caught up in the heat of the moment with anyone I love, to picture them in a casket while taking a deep breath in. Sadly, I haven’t been successful in doing that as of yet, but imagining it now brings me great despair. Nothing I’ve said in the heat of the moment has ever been out of love or compassion. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.

Although I immediately asked for forgiveness from my other half as soon as I saw him the next night, the damage was done from my tongue of fire. It’s absolutely a character flaw of mine and one that seems to have reared its ugly head far too many times over the past year as my frustrations with my health continue to mount. But having chronic pain and serious health issues still doesn’t excuse how I occasionally unleash on my partner. Ultimately, I know how I want to be handling it. I know I want to remain calm, rather than get angry, when I feel that heat starting to rise, and I know I want to provide reassurance that we’ll work through whatever the situation is together, rather than resorting to shame or lecturing.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment, when fear or anger gets the best of you, especially when life feels like it’s not going your way. But it’s never right to take any of that out of someone you love, even when they make a mistake, which I see OH-SO-CLEARLY each time I succumb to this low vibrational behavior.

I obviously have a lot more work to do on myself when it comes to this character defect and pray that God will help rid me of a behavior that helps no one and instead only hurts those I’m doing my best to love, including myself.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

When You Truly Know You’re No Longer Drinking The Poison Of Anger And Resentment…

Have you ever heard about things an ex did during your relationship, long after the relationship actually ended? How did you handle it? Were you angry and resentful or were you at peace with it?

When I recently discovered a number of things about my former partner, I was surprised how I actually reacted after hearing them. While these things would normally have greatly disturbed me if I had known about them going on while we were still tied together, I ironically found myself not feeling angry or resentful whatsoever. Frankly, I didn’t get upset at all. Truthfully, the only reaction I had was acceptance and relief.

I can’t say I would have reacted in the same way back in the beginning part of this decade though. As back then, I was so angry and resentful at this ex that I regularly wished the worst upon him. It consumed me so greatly that I allowed it to be the driving force to overly engage in a number of terrible addictions.

It’s often said in the rooms of 12 Step recovery that remaining angry and resentful towards anyone or anything is like drinking poison, but expecting the other person to die from it. Yup, that was me when it came to this ex back then, that is until I found total forgiveness.

Some of those who have known me for years can’t understand how I was able to forgive a guy who played such a major role in the loss of my business and financial failure. It’s quite simple really. The 12 Step work helped me to see how I played a huge part in it as well and even in the failure of that relationship itself.

Did my ex play a part too? Of course he did, but 12 step recovery work isn’t about making someone else own up to the part they played. It’s not about showing them their side of the street either. And it’s definitely not about getting them to say they’re sorry on any level. It’s only about us looking at our part, owning up to it, and letting their part go, if they even played a part for that matter.

In this case, my ex definitely had a part, one that I held onto with such hatred, that I refused to ever look at my own side of the street. And believe me when I say that my side of the street with him was most certainly messy, cluttered, and laden with plenty of guilt and shame. Once I took a hard look in the mirror and truly saw that for the first time, I wept. Oh, did I weep! During which is precisely the moment I asked God to forgive me for all the parts I played in that entire mess that relationship ended in.  And once I did, I felt the tide move within my heart to forgive my ex, entirely. Once I did, it was so very freeing.

From that day forward, I stopped holding onto any anger and hatred in regards to him. Instead, I began praying for nothing but peace and healing for him and hoped one day he may find forgiveness with me as well. But sadly, from the sounds of it, he still hasn’t and I feel sorrow for him because of it.

So, after hearing about past infidelities, shady former business practices, and shifty financial handlings, I didn’t react with anger, rage, negativity, or anything of the sort. Rather, I was thankful I had moved well beyond all of that and instead found healing. Healing from the poison I once drank on a daily basis. Poison that almost ruined my life. And poison that from the sounds of it, my ex may still be drinking, hoping I’ll suffer from it somehow.

I hope one day he stops drinking that poison if he still is, because I’m sure he’ll at least find a slice of peace in his life like I found years ago once I asked for forgiveness and forgave him from my heart. I no longer look upon that part of my life with disdain and if you can believe it, I actually hope to hear from this individual one day before I die. Because before all that mess that happened between us, was a deep love and friendship that was most certainly being blessed by God.

It took the 12 Steps to help me remember that and to finally throw away that bottle of poison I gripped so tightly when it came to him, poison that only led to my inevitable suffering. Suffering that absolutely comes from remaining angry and resentful and something that only forgiveness is the elixir that can truly let it go…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson