View all:  Voices of Recovery

April 21

“For too long most of us found it familiar, almost comfortable to remain in the cycle of acting out, feeling demoralized, swearing off, and then acting out again.”

“Three Circles”

I had established my circles before sobriety and found that I spent far more time in my middle circle than my inner circle. If I could just stay in my middle circle, I thought, I might not feel so demoralized. At least my sobriety date would be intact. But the middle circle heads in one direction.

A favorite acting-out place was thirty miles from home. I often headed there around eleven o’clock at night. I would feel physical changes from anticipation. My car had a mind of its own, and I was just along for the ride.

I told myself I would stay only until a certain time, but before I knew it, it would be six o’clock in the morning and I would rush home and back to work with another sleepless night. I would tell myself never again, yet, after a few hours’ rest that evening, I was back in the cycle.

Awareness of my circles had an effect, however, and I began going home earlier. Then one night, driving to act out, in a flash of clarity, I said, “I don’t really want to do this.” I turned around and headed home. My car and my fledgling recovery had both reached a turning point. A well-defined middle circle helped me spot the cycle, and eventually steer clear of my inner circle.

When I use them, these tools work wonders. What circle am I in right now?