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 Post subject: Clean Time
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:37 am 
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I didn’t write the following commentary myself, but I identified with it so strongly I felt it was worth sharing. I found it in the comments section of the online magazine “The Fix”, under an article entitled “Why I Don’t Have a Sobriety Date”.


“As a person who has been in/around the field for many years, and one who has ceased the use of drugs; my personal experience and feelings associated with sobriety/clean time countdowns and anniversaries was terror. The NA conventions had the giant countdown that would send shockwaves of panic through my bones, no matter my "date" was. I always felt the pain for that brand new person who was the last person standing, while 100 of the group elders cheered on, with staring eyes.

I have found that along with drug of choice, sobriety date is another means for clients/peers to feel less than/greater than, and it's used as a weapon or bizarre ranking system. When I was an embryo in NA, I dreaded standing up to get my key chain because I didn't want the attention (and was urged to do it for the newcomer, which is manipulation and discredits my own anxiety), and ended up using just before my big date to avoid the unpleasant feelings, and discomfort with success or personal achievement. I was good at failing, success was foreign and scary; therefore I sabotaged it in the way I knew best.

If the aim is REALLY to promote people moving on with their lives, doing well, and succeeding, then why do we care so much if this lady gets her 23 cent plastic chip? Why do we care more about her "date" than she does? The 12 step dictators will have many recycled quotes about this subject, and the standard rebuttal will always be "its for the newcomer." If our true aim is to ataboy everybody who is doing well, why do we seem to find so many ways to shame people doing well? If drugs, meetings, and 12 step people are the central focus of your every day life, your life is vastly out-of-balance. Yes-
the AA/NA lords will send me to hell for that. The point we seem to forget is that recovery isn't about doing well only in hard chairs of a church basement... the entire aim is to get to an enhanced level of functioning, and awaken those lost dreams. Rebuttal: "HEY! Anything you put in front of your recovery you will lose!" Usually stated by someone unemployed, who hits the noon meeting, the 5pm, and the 10pm meeting. How about not obsessively thinking about our past mistakes and failures, (further shaming ourselves, and now being obsessed with recovery), and thinking about achieving real goals. And to use a quote back at the quoters- "You can't drive a car looking only in the rear view mirror." We can be mindful of the past, but not make it a focus of our entire existence. Just for today, mind yo business :)

I kinda wonder if someone from this forum wrote that :)


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 Post subject: Re: Clean Time
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:20 pm 
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I love that! And I agree with everything this person said! I definitely don't want to think about my past mistakes over and over. I relate a whole lot to this person.... whoever it is :)


Thank you Lilly! For all that u do here also!

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 Post subject: Re: Clean Time
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:31 pm 
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Good post Lilly. Being an AA old timer so to speak, I agree completely with your opinion of the "Sobriety Date". Back when I was in my first few years, speaker meeting secretaries would ask me to be the speaker of one of their meetings. One of the things I always talked about was the emphasis on the success of the old timers. They were the worst offenders, being caught up in what we only call it as Seniority. Too much credit given to those with years and years of sobriety vs the "One Day at a Time" philosophy.

At the end of my talk I usually ended with saying that I hope the day never comes that I end up back out there using and not being able to come back in due to losing so much time. In every group there was always a few who got it. They'd state that the person with one day is equal with anyone else's sobriety date. That was my thinking. Ego gets in the way once you've built up some time and you start to think you're important.

Even when I went back to meetings several years ago, once I told them I hadn't had a drink in 30 years they refused to help me with my opiate addiction, thinking I knew it all. So very wrong of them. I felt alone and discarded. Sure didn't feel like an Old Timer. If I go back it won't be to NA. It will be one of the other non 12 step programs where I can talk freely about my addict brain behavior and thinking.

Thanks for posting this. It got me thinking again of the problems AA/NA has with the 12 traditions and not following the Big Book. The BB even says we know very little but the old timers seems to skip over that part.

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 Post subject: Re: Clean Time
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:23 pm 
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Good post Lilly, I believe TJ has written for The Fix in the past.
This is a slide from SMART Recovery. Rather busy but the point is that there is a termination phase when a person leaves and lives there life. If a lapse or relapse occurs they can reenter at any phase but generally they know they have a problem and come in at the action phase.
Sober time is rarely discussed except to instill hope.
The terms are from motivational interviewing. Used in many areas by other disciplines as well.
I have heard the shame many times, people can't go back to 'their' meeting because of a relapse or new addiction.

https://racheldoesntdrinkhereanymore.fi ... iction.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Clean Time
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:32 pm 
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I love reading The Fix, great postings and opinions. Thanks for posting this Lilly. Id read this yday and it
really stuck my heart. Won't bore everyone with my experiences in NA tonight but I agree with Lilly s ture opinion here.
I just believe that "Clean Time" mostly does harm .
All you have to do is read the comment section to get a good idea how MAT is seen there. ..maybe one day it ll change but that would take a rewritting of the Basic Text in NA. .


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 Post subject: Re: Clean Time
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:10 pm 
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Thanks for sharing that. I'm another one who has been there, (NA) tried that, and I really did try hard. Thank goodness for Suboxone is all I have to say. Sincerely, Angie


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