Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sometimes I'm too "old school"

When I came into the rooms for the first time in 1983, old-timers didn't sugar coat the program for us. They told us to "take the cotton out of our ears and put it in our mouths." And that was one of the nicer things they said to us. Today, we seem to need to sugar coat the message so we don't offend anyone. Sometimes I fail at that.

A newcomer called me the other day who's been in and out of the rooms for years. This time, she came back after a near-fatal overdose and about a month in intensive care. Although today I make it a rule not to sponsor newcomers because I'm simply to busy to handhold them (and I don't believe if you are newly clean you need a sponsor with decades, you need someone who can relate to the current insanity in your life), I did offer to try to help her along.

She's been calling almost every day with various issues with her group home and dental problems. She went to the dentist, had a tooth pulled, which was a big decision, and her dentist gave her a narcotic. The group home manager took it away.

When she called me, she was in high drama. I calmly told her if she was looking for a co-sign to take a narcotic even short term for a tooth pull, she was barking up the wrong tree. I told her I went through a liver transplant with aspirin post ICU. My advice was to suck it up and take aspirin.

Was I wrong? She didn't call me for a few days, then called and left a message on my phone thanking me for the tough love. I wish I could have been more sympathetic, but I've seen far too many people die from taking pain medication over the long haul. With her history, why tempt fate for a tooth pull?

Today I am extremely busy. I work full-time, help my husband with his business, and travel a lot. I don't have time to sugar coat things. What's worked for me for 31 years may not work for you. But I have learned a few things along the way and the main thing I learned is that pain medication takes out the best of us.

Perhaps I sound harsh. I don't mean to. I know my own sponsor would have handled it a lot more lovingly than I did. That's why she's my sponsor--I want to be more loving. But the gal got through the problem and is still clean, or at least she was yesterday.

If you're new in recovery and you think your sponsor is harsh, know that it's because she is speaking the truth. Often the truth comes out unvarnished.

Have a great day!


Mike L. said...

I understand you! I heard someone say at a meeting that sometimes we can be so kind that we love people to death. Literally.

But, that said, I think the harshness of the past is no longer the "norm" because it could lead to someone leaving the room in a huff and miss the opportunity of hearing something that will help them stay sober.

Take care!

Mike L.

Alan Boyd said...

Hi, I enjoy reading your blog. May I ask, what is the best tip you can share about starting my own recovery blog?



An Irish Friend of Bill said...

yes i know that feeling.. ol school lol.. new people now seem to be more challenging to sponsor. they just want to say they have done the steps but dont really understand that it is a different way of life.. then they get stroppy when you dont rush through them. i see it it as a big failure in step one. no humility. think they can charge through the steps and all will be well. quite hard work. I have 2 that swing from demanding to sour grapes on and off :)

twodogsblogging said...

Alan, the best tip I can share is do it one day at a time. And join the "No Matter What" club, where you don't pick up despite what happens to you.