“Changing old routines that are associated with our addiction is an important tool for staying sober.”
Tools of Recovery, page 13
Once I begin to act out, I’m in the reptilian part of my brain—the selfish part that only wants what it wants. It’s impossible to stop. Before I start, however, I still have a chance. In that moment, I need to acknowledge the lie that acting out will give me what I want. The truth is that I won’t enjoy the act, or I’ll deeply regret it later, or both.
When first sober, I practiced remembering how bad acting out made me feel. Usually, the first thing I’d do before acting out was to close the Venetian blinds, so I practiced doing that while I thought about the negative effects of my addiction. Eventually pairing those two activities paid off. As soon as I’d think about closing the blinds, I’d recall the effects of my acting out.
It’s not a cure, but it’s a tool. It buys a precious moment of clarity before a potentially mindless and dangerous move. The desire to act out may show up for the rest of my life. I don’t have control over the thoughts that pop up into my brain, but I have a choice as to whether or not I believe or entertain those thoughts.
Today I no longer believe the addict’s voice in my head. Instead I turn to my Higher Power, my friends in the program, and my own wisdom.