Telling On Yourself

 

When you’re triggered or have a craving to use, one of the best things you can do to counteract it is to “tell on yourself.” That means talk about it with someone—give them the gory details of your flashback, craving or fantasy. You’ll be amazed at how confessing a craving will lessen its power over you. For your sobriety, it’s crucial that you find a best friend – several if you can – with whom you can be completely honest.

If you are working a CMA, NA or AA program, this person will most likely be your sponsor. But even though you tell your sponsor everything regarding your addiction, I think it’s very important to have other sober friendswith whom you can come completely clean too. I’ve got a handful. The more sober friends you have who understand, the better. When we keep our urges to use secret, we’re far more likely to relapse.

Early in my recovery, out of nowhere, the thought crossed my mind that on my next trip into Los Angeles, I could have a one-night party. (After all, I’d been sober over six months at that point, didn’t I deserve a little reward?) So within ten seconds, I planned what lie I would tell my friends in Palm Springs, the lies I’d tell to my L.A. friends who thought I was coming to visit, planned exactly where I’d stay to party, from whom I’d buy the drugs (online) and exactly how much I would pay for an eight ball. Really. In a matter of seconds. My monkey mind ran with it, planned the whole thing out.

In maybe ten more seconds, I was floored by guilt. Immediately, I extended the thought to include how awful the end of the party would be, how I’d feel when I crashed the day after—then I realized: Who was I kidding? I’d never partied for just one night in my life. My usual run was 3 to 5 days, always 5 toward the end. No, if I used, I’d party for days then crash briefly and rationalize that, since I’ve lost my sobriety already, I might as well party for a while longer. And so the cycle begins all over again. I might go on another year-long run, or worse. When my mind played thorough this possibility I was relieved because the urge to use, the sudden fantasy, had been busted. Still, I knew what I had to do.

The next morning, I took two sober friends aside and confessed the whole thing to take away any power that it might hold if I kept it secret. I eventually shared about it at a group level later in the week, disempowering the fantasy even more. Having a friend, or several, you can share everything with is crucial to sobriety. Because we have to learn not to shame ourselveswhen our disease rears its ugly head. It’s not a weakness of character to be triggered or get lost in a using fantasy. It’s what the malfunctioning brain of an addict does—craves more drugs.

How we treat that craving is the key.Don’t keep it secret. Take away your disease’s power over you by “telling on yourself.”

You CAN quit crystal meth. Learning strategies to better maximize the possibility of truly quitting is what this blog is about. I hope it’s helped. Peace.