CrossTalk is based on the premise that recovery life is polytely: frequently, complex problem-solving situations characterized by the presence of not one, but several, endings. This writing represents decades of recovery and its application to life and how to get over it, into it or through it with spunk, levity and a good dose of reality. What? You want more than happy, joyous and free? Get over it. Just sayin’. – Mollé
Hey, Mollé: I have recently been offered a free trip to the UK with a new boyfriend. I am seven months sober and the older people in my home group are giving me grief about it. They think I am too new in recovery to come back clean. My sponsor also thinks it’s pretty risky. What do you think? — Flying Nowhere Fast
First, slow down. We in the rooms are not there to judge or scare you. Second, don’t pit me against your sponsor. “Oh, Ms. Mollé said I should go!” That does not fly with me. However, if you are asking me for my opinion, well, sit back and listen.
We can do anything we want to do … as long as we’re willing to pay the price. Problem is, we don’t always know what the price is until it is too late to get out of the hole we just dug ourselves into. Then we try to blame the outcome on something/someone else rather than own the responsibility of having made the decision ourselves. No one can make you fly; no one can stop you from flying. This is your decision.
The smart approach is to make an informed decision. That means taking counsel and being completely honest with no more than three people who have solid recovery and whom you trust. Then take the information and imagine every step of the process from getting your passport, packing and being on the plane romantic-eye-glazing at each other. Does he drink/use? Does he know that you are in recovery? Have you checked out where you are going online? Have you written down where the meetings are in the UK? If things get dicey, do you have a plan?
I traveled to Italy when I was four months sober. My sponsor helped me get ready. I had a plan and phone numbers of people who would take my call. I had declared to my two friends (who both drank) that drinking was not in my plan; and if that made them uncomfortable, then I would stay home. Had my traveling buddy been a lover, it would have made the trip a lot more dangerous. Turns out my friends’ drinking nauseated me. I met interesting people every morning at breakfast while they were sleeping it off. I came home sober with stories of a lifetime to tell including the stress of hunting down a meeting in the dark with gun-carrying militia on the streets. Crazy fun, but only because I stayed sober.
Dear Mollé: I have a couple of problems troubling me. I am a man in early recovery. I think I may have been bi-polar my whole life, and I am going crazy in recovery. My sponsor says he can’t sponsor me if I take antidepressants because that would not be real recovery. As a man, I feel really weird asking other people about this because I don’t want them to think poorly of me. What do you think? — Feeling Judged
Okay, here comes a rant about recovery. We are not doctors, and who are any of us to say anything about another person’s mental health? Many people have been tremendously helped by physicians, therapists and clinical providers. Sponsors are not doctors! Unless your sponsor happens to be a doctor; and even if he is, I would recommend you make an appointment with a doctor whom you trust, be totally honest about your physical and mental health concerns and fears, listen to his/her input and only then make your decision.
You are responsible for your mind and body. God will not do for you what you can do for yourself – take the action that is in your best interest, not someone else’s. God will do for you what you cannot do for yourself. That means do your homework, be open-minded and honest, and trust that God will help you in the process. I salute you for admitting your suspicion that you need help. This truly is the First Step. Stay in touch and let me know how it goes.
Mollé: I think I might need addiction treatment. I’ve been in AA for two months now, and I am coming out of my skin. I don’t have any money, but my mom just got insurance coverage and can help me until next year when I’m 26. I think I should go now. Or should I just stick it out in AA? A lot of people never went to treatment. I don’t want to waste the money. — Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Dear Rock (or is it Rockette?),
Treatment isn’t something that someone usually wants to do, but it sounds like you do. I can only guess it is because you are afraid you won’t stay sober if you don’t go to treatment. Money is an important issue; and you are correct, many people have and do get sober without treatment. Many say that the Twelve Steps are a treatment program all by themselves.
There is no one solution. First, seek the counsel of a clinical professional who can help you understand your needs, fears and what treatment can offer you. If needed, he or she can direct you to a program most suited to your needs.
I admire the fact that you are reaching out. You obviously have a great desire to stay in recovery. I know the next right step will show up as soon as you move into action. Let me know what you decide to do.
The viewpoints shared or any implied actions suggested by Mollé, are the opinion and ideas of the author only and do not represent those of In Recovery Magazine. The implied action is offered openly and is never intended to replace the advice of a health care professional. If you’ve got a question for Mollé, use the following form!