What Keeps A Person Sober From An Addiction?

If you were to ask someone in recovery from an addiction, what keeps them sober, you’d probably get a wide range of answers.

Some might say it’s by going to a lot of meetings.

Others might say it’s in keeping to regular contact with their sponsor.

I’m quite positive that some would say it’s in sponsoring people as well.

And there’s even those who would say it’s in staying around sober individuals and fellowshipping with them on a regular basis that does it.

For me though, it’s none of those answers. For I’ve learned over the years that there is NO person, place, or thing that will ever be able to keep me sober.

I’ve sponsored many people who went to meetings every single day and still relapsed. I’ve known others who reached out to their sponsor daily as well and still relapsed too. The same holds true for people who were sponsoring individuals and still fell back into their addiction. And sadly, many of my friends who did their best to only spend time with others remaining sober, found their way back into their addiction anyway.

Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, once said that there is only one reason and one reason only why anyone would ever fall back into their addiction and it’s because they failed to enlarge their spiritual life, of which I wholeheartedly agree.

Given what I’ve bene going through these past bunch of years with my health, it hasn’t been the recovery meetings, or my sponsor, or my sponsees, or the fellowship times with others that has kept me sober. What’s kept me sober is my constantly seeking the Light of God through prayer, meditation, reading devotionals, and spending time alone in reflection. And through those things, my Higher Power has led me to attend many meetings, has helped me find a sponsor, has guided me to sponsor others, and has steered me towards sober individuals to hang out with, all of which only added to my remaining sober.

Overall though, if there is one thing I know in recovery, it’s that God is the One who actually keeps me sober and so long as I keep seeking God and remaining open to expanding my relationship with Him, that I will remain sober for the rest of my life, one day at a time of course…

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

The Importance Of Recovery While On A Vacation

People go on vacations for a multitude of reasons and they usually all boil down to one thing, getting rest and relaxation. For a recovering addict like me though, I find there’s also something else that’s just as important to experience while on a vacation, and that’s to remain active in my recovery work no matter where I am in the world.

While a common thought in recovery from any addiction is that it’s ok to take a break from the recovery work when on a vacation, doing so for me has only ever breathed life back into my ego and my disease. That’s why I don’t take a break from recovery anymore…EVER. Not during my normal day to day week when at home and not on a vacation.

Recently, during my vacation to Massachusetts, while my partner was looking forward the most to doing a whale watch, I was more excited about going to a few meetings and doing a 12 Step commitment at a detox if possible.

It’s strange how my perspective has changed in recent years when it comes to my recovery life, as there was a time when I’d go on vacations where the last thing I’d ever do was attend any type of 12 Step meeting or volunteer to do any 12 Step work for even a small amount of time.

That’s because I was so selfish and self-centered and felt vacations were only meant to be about me getting my rest and relaxation. And on some level, maybe a vacation is precisely that for the average person. But for me, who lived with far more ego in life than Spirit, the last thing I ever want to do is anything that will breathe life back into that old, selfish, addiction-riddled self.

You see, that selfish part of me still exists and sometimes finds subtle ways to rear its ugly head, but I find that remaining active in my recovery, even when I’m on vacation, keeps that at bay, which is definitely a good thing.

I’ve travelled quite a bit in my recovery life and have always made sure to include participation in at least a few recovery meetings no matter where I’ve been. I’ve done that on cruises, in England, in the Grand Caymans, in Mexico, in Canada, and pretty much every place I’ve visited in the United States as well. And sometimes, I have even been able to volunteer at a detox or do a 12 Step call with a suffering individual while on a trip away, which ironically provides me more rest and relaxation than sitting on a beach might.

I’ve met far too many individuals who feel that taking a week off from attending meetings while on a trip away is totally safe and for them, maybe it actually is. But for me, it never has been, because those vacations from recovery don’t seem to stop when I return home. They continue on and on and on, until I find myself back in relapse mode and far away from the best place I could be in life, that being sober and in recovery.

So, that’s why I always make sure to build my vacations around my recovery these days just like I build my normal day-to-day life around it too. Because in doing so, I continue to stay healthy, spiritually-focused, and selfless-driven while on them, rather than become sick, unspiritual, and selfish, which are three traits I don’t ever wish to return to. Three traits that I know have a very strong potential to return by taking even a small break from recovery when on a vacation…

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

A Recovering Sex And Love Addict’s Trip Down Memory Lane…

Being back in the Boston area this week, after four years of absence since moving to Toledo, has definitely been interesting. While I have plenty of good memories here, mostly from the 12-step recovery realm, I, unfortunately, also have plenty of bad memories too, all of which stem from the sex and love addict behaviors I used to regularly engage in here.

During five of the seven years I lived in this area, I addictively chased after three specific individuals, each who were married or in a relationship already with someone else. I lost sight of myself in the process and along the way, I also lost sight of all of the good morals I learned in my recovery work, including honesty and integrity, each of which totally went out the window.

Driving around here these past few days has definitely reminded me of this. Constantly seeing restaurants, parks, golf courses, movie theaters, and various other places of interests where I hung out with these individuals and was only focused on one thing, has caused me to reflect on just how much precious time I lost from this sick addiction.

This area has a lot of God-made nature beauty within it and many magnificent things to see and partake in as well, and yet, I spent most of my time here focused, obsessed really, on the people I was addicted to, rather than on any of that splendor.

And another sad truth is I don’t remember much of the social activities I did here either, as much as I remember the far too many attempts I made to sleep with these three individuals. This is without a doubt the very reason why it’s taken me four years to return here, as I tend to be reminded here more of these bad memories than the good.

In all honestly, I lost myself for most of the time I lived in this Boston area. And to be more accurate, I lost myself in these three specific individuals. I also lost sight of God because of it and I lost sight of me and the beautiful soul God gave me too. Instead, most of my sight was geared towards engaging in the sex and love addiction and that part of me remained mostly in control, leading me to regularly doing so many things that I used to be very ashamed to admit.

I’m so thankful I’m six years removed from any of those behaviors today and I’m so thankful I’m sober from this addiction now too. Because at least during this week-long trip, I’m now able to create new memories, ones that aren’t deeply enmeshed anymore in an addiction that used to taint my mind, body, and soul on a regular basis, and ones that will forever be remembered on a much more positive level…

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