Becoming sober is no easy task. It would take a crazy amount of time, dedication and discipline. One should expect that it’s a long and hard road to get the results needed. On this episode of I Love Being Sober, host Tim Westbrook continues his talk about how to avoid a relapse. On this episode, he talks about Mistake Number 2: Expecting Instantaneous Results. Tune in on this episode to find out more!
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
How To Avoid A Relapse: Mistake #2 Expecting Instantaneous Results
My team and I, over the course of many years, have helped thousands of people stop their suffering and continue on their path to recovery. Let’s get clear on one thing. We believe that a relapse or a slip is not a part of recovery. That’s exactly why this show is dedicated to you or any loved one you know in their first year of striving to live a clean and sober life. The purpose of this show is to come clean with all of the misinformation out there about recovery, addiction treatment, mental illness, and the strategies to stay sober in general. If you believe you are in the right place or if you know someone who is struggling with addiction, it’s my privilege to share this show with you.
I have no idea if you and I have ever met, but what I do know is that AA saved my life. I also know that to find long-term recovery and to live happily, joyous and free, it is not just about stopping your drinking, drugging, gambling, sexual indiscretions or any other addition you may have struggled with or suffered from. At Camelback Recovery, we believe that sobriety can and should be fun. Any recovery process is not easy. It is challenging. It can sometimes be annoying. For most of us, it is often difficult to stay on the path.
Here’s the good news. The self-awareness you will gain from this show, especially if you are in your first year of recovery, will help you make better choices which will ultimately lead you to live a kickass sober life. Visit CamelbackRecovery.com to learn more about our treatment strategies for alcoholism, drug addiction or mental illness. We even offer recovery coaching so you can enjoy the freedom and happiness you’ve always searched for. Welcome to the 79th episode of the show. The show that’s devoted to people in their first year of sobriety.
Although your first year in sobriety is central to our discussions, you and I will also explore other fascinating and important topics such as health and fitness, self-care, food nutrition, breathwork, medication, and bio-hacking, just to name a few. All of these things are your gateway to living a kickass sober life which is our mantra at Camelback Recovery.
In this episode, you’ll learn about the second mistake that leads to relapse along with how to avoid it. This is mistake number two. You’ll discover that expecting instantaneous results is one of the mistakes people make that lead to relapse, along with why it is so important to avoid this mistake if you want to avoid a slip. I will share with you how you can avoid this mistake. I’m going to give you my story and my experience with this mistake.
Based on what you hear, you will be able to figure out how it works for you. Lean in and read carefully because this episode could have a significant impact on how you can make it to a year and much closer to living a kick-ass sober life. Also, this show is like an AA, CA or NA meeting in that everyone here is either clean and sober, struggling, about to relapse, thinking about getting clean and sober or whatever it may be.[bctt tweet=”God is in control. Everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to. Don’t worry about how things play out. Just worry about doing the next right thing. ” via=”no”]
If you learn anything or if you hear anything that resonates with you throughout this episode, please let us know in the comment section of YouTube or Apple Podcasts or wherever you’re tuning in. What you share might resonate with someone else and possibly save them from a relapse or maybe even save their life. Every review and every comment gets us that much closer to helping one more person or one more family. Don’t be shy and be sure to share what resonates with you in the comment section.
The second mistake you must be aware of if you want to avoid a slip is expecting instantaneous results. Initially, you will see positive results. You will start feeling better. You will start sleeping better. You won’t be hungover. You will start thinking more clearly. Many people will be supportive of your decision to start living a new life. However, it is going to take you some time to mend broken relationships, make your amends, get your health back, and clear away the wreckage of your past.
Do not think everyone is going to forgive you and be ready to get back to the old relationship you once had, especially if this is not your first time attempting to get clean and sober. You must keep doing the next right thing and keeping your side of the street clean. If you stay clean and sober, and you continue doing the work as they say, your life will improve in all areas. You must continue doing the work. If you don’t continue doing the work, that means you’re a dry drunk. You must continue doing the work and if you continue doing the work, your life will improve spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally. It’s not all going to happen at the same time.
Some people think, “I’m sober and I’ve made my amends. I don’t understand why people are still pissed.” I remember early in sobriety, my mind used to spin. I would stay up at night thinking about things. Anytime a curve ball was thrown at me, my mind would spin. I would stay up thinking about how I could manipulate the situation or manipulate the person. I would justify or rationalize things in my mind. I’m up at night and thinking about things. It doesn’t happen as often to me now. Maybe it happens once or twice a year.
There’s something thrown at me that throws me for a loop. I have a story that I’m going to share about that but first, I remember what my sponsor told me to do. If I was up at night and my mind was spinning, recite the first line of the Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” I would repeat the first line of the Serenity Prayer over and over. My mind would start spinning and then I would realize my mind was spinning a bit again. I would bring it back, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” It helped me go to sleep.
The next thing you know, I wake up in the morning. That was a good exercise. If your mind is spinning, that’s something you can try out. I have a story about one of my landlords. I’m going to call her Amy. She has been one of our landlords at one of our recovery homes. This is a home that we took over in 2018, and there was another sober living operator that was there before me. His name was Joey. I remember talking to Joey because she kicked Joey out of the house. I talked to Joey about it and he was like, “She’s crazy. She’s effing nuts. Good luck.” I was like, “Okay.”
It was a great house. It was a great sober living house. I went into the situation knowing that and she did a couple of things that helped me realize that she’s nuts, in my opinion and my experience. That was Joey’s experience as well. She was nuts. I remember a couple of years ago we had a situation with the air conditioner at the house. The air conditioner was broken. It didn’t work. She has a home warranty and she wanted to go through the home warranty. It’s August. It’s in the middle of the summer in Arizona. It’s 112 degrees outside. It was record-breaking heat 28 days in a row.
The AC stopped working once. The home warranty fixed it. It stopped working again. I went out and purchased five portable air conditioning units. We offered to move all of our clients to another home. They all said, “No, we want to stay here.” I picked up portable AC units. That was sufficient to keep the bedrooms cooled off enough, but we didn’t have an AC in the kitchen. It was over 100 degrees in the kitchen. It was crazy.
She refused to pay for the portable AC units. She refused to give us any compensation or anything. She refused to give us any sort of help because of what we had to go through. It was crazy but I know that I signed up for this. I knew who I was dealing with. I could have taken her to court. I could give her a ten-day notice which the ten-day notice caused her to go out. I think she ended up paying a little bit more to get the job done more quickly.
The first time she got it done, she didn’t get it done sufficiently because she wanted to cut corners. The AC contractor is also a friend of Bill’s. He said, “I want to let you know. What she wants us to do isn’t going to do the job. You need another AC unit. That’s what she ended up doing. She ended up paying for one in the house. She had added it to the home. The home was 4,000 square feet. She had one air conditioning unit, which barely cooled off the house.
They didn’t have that same air conditioning unit available. The contractor was recommending that we go with two air conditioning units as opposed to one. She didn’t want to pay for two so she paid for one. It wasn’t sufficient. The contractor had to come back out and add another unit. It was a huge shit show. This is where this thing spun me out. This caused me to stay up at night thinking about it and thinking about her. She was a pretty tall blonde. She would come into the house with little skimpy clothes. I’ve got people in recovery at this house. The way that she would dress and the way that she would come to the home was so not appropriate.
I remember sitting there at night and thinking about it. I’m dreaming about accidentally spilling hot coffee on her. I remember thinking that I wanted to give everybody water guns and shoot bleach all over her shirt. I remember thinking, “God, this is not good.” Spiritually, I am not in a good place if this is what I’m thinking and where my mind is taking me. Thankfully, I was able to talk with a couple of my friends in recovery. I was able to share my story, share my thoughts, and talk to my sponsor about it. Nothing ever came of it. I got over it, but that’s an example of my crazy mind and what happens.[bctt tweet=”If you stay clean and sober and you continue doing the work, your life will improve in all areas. ” via=”no”]
My mind normally doesn’t spin out at all. It’s not because things don’t happen to me because trust me, I have a lot that happens in my life. I get curve balls thrown at me all the time. The reason why I’m not up at night thinking about things is because I’m more spiritually fit. I’m more emotionally fit. I’m able to handle situations that used to baffle me. I believe that life happens for me, not to me. I am responsible. I’m not a victim. I’m never a victim. I make choices that put me in the situations that I’m in. That belief, being responsible, and not being a victim is how I stay grounded. It’s how I stay sober. It’s how I stay on the right path.
One of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is to not take things personally. I’ve learned to not take things personally. People do things and it doesn’t have anything to do with me. The only thing that I can control is my actions. It took me some time before I learned to truly not take things personally. The Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Prayer, meditation, doing the next right thing, keeping my conscious clean, staying sober, being of service to others, and being other-centered as opposed to self-centered. These are all the things that keep me grounded, keep me centered, and keep me on the path.
Going back to expecting instantaneous results, I had an issue with my dad and with my step-mom. This was many years ago. It caused a huge falling out between me and my entire family. The only person in my family that would talk to me was my mom. Neither of my sisters wouldn’t talk to me and their spouses. Nobody would talk to me. I was completely cut off from the entire family. This was a very difficult time for me and there was no way that I would have been able to make it through if I didn’t have AA, if I didn’t have the fellowship, if I didn’t have my friends in recovery, if I didn’t have my sponsor, my therapist, all of my routines, and all of the things that I do.
My dad wasn’t even willing to talk to me. He didn’t talk to me for a year. His requirements were to stay sober, see a therapist for a year, and come up with a plan to make it right. It ended up being financial amends and it was big financial amends. My older sister and her family wouldn’t talk to me either. They wouldn’t talk to me for a couple of months. They finally got to a place where they were willing to talk to me. It’s like, “We’re family.” I was able to reconcile with my older sister and her family. My little sister wouldn’t talk to me for about two years.
In 2022, I’m still not allowed at their house because her husband still has not let the issue go. It has been eight years, and it didn’t even have anything to do with him. It had nothing to do with his family. I don’t take things personally because it doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’m not in control of her husband. I can only control my actions. I have zero energy against him. He’s on his own path. When he is ready or if he is ever ready, we can hopefully reconcile. I got no energy. I got nothing but love. I’m sending lots of love. I love my sister. I love her kids. I love her family. It sucks that I’m not allowed to be at their house, but life happens for me, not to me. It’s part of life.
The only thing I can look at is what’s my part? If my conscious is clean and I’m living according to my values, then I’m good. I’ve got nothing to worry about. It doesn’t matter. My step-mom wouldn’t talk to me for five years. I needed to complete the financial amends, which I did. It took me about five years. What that meant was my step-mom wouldn’t talk to me. It meant that I wasn’t invited to family gatherings for about five years. No Christmas, no birthdays, no holidays for about five years. It was difficult, but guess what? Everything happens exactly the way that it’s supposed to. God is in control. Tim is not in control. I’m only in control of doing the next right thing. I’m only in control of myself.
Now, everything is great. My dad and I have an amazing relationship. I have an amazing relationship with my step-mom. Both of my sisters, we had to go through what we went through. I’m just grateful that we made it out the other side. If I was taking things personally, maybe I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. If I was expecting instantaneous results and I was expecting everybody to forgive me and everybody to love me and everybody to not be pissed off at me, then maybe I would be in a different place. Maybe I would have relapsed. I don’t know, but I didn’t relapse.
I continued on my path to recovery. I continued living my life and doing the next right thing. I believe that my higher power, which is God, is in control. Everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to and I don’t need to worry about how things play out. I just need to worry about doing the next right thing. Here I am, I’m over eleven years clean and sober at the time of this recording. I’m still actively working on a program of recovery. The relationships I have in my life are better than they have ever been.
They say that time heals all wounds. I would add to that. Sober and living an honest life heals all wounds, and also living according to your values continues to heal wounds. Figure out your values and live according to your values. After you make your amends, never revert back to your old behavior. Don’t get discouraged. Stay on your path.
Here’s a quick review of the insights you and I both rediscovered in this 79th episode of the show. The second mistake people make that leads to relapse is expecting instantaneous results, along with why avoiding this mistake is imperative if you want to avoid a relapse. I also shared with you an example of how I was able to avoid this mistake, and how it has strengthened my sobriety and my relationships.
Based on what you have heard in this episode, you can figure out how it works for you. Remember, these insights will only work for you if you work them. Please be sure you apply what you’ve learned in this episode because if you do, you will be on your way to living a kick-ass sober life. I think you’ll agree that that’s exciting to think about.
Speaking of reviews, before we end this episode, I want you to go to the review section on iTunes or YouTube or leave a comment on YouTube, and type in one thing that resonated with you in this episode. Every comment counts and what you share could resonate with someone else that is struggling and potentially save their life.
You will also be asked to rate this episode and I hope I’ve earned five stars from you. Go ahead and share the one thing that resonated with you in the review section of iTunes or the comment section of YouTube. It’ll take three minutes out of your day, but what you share could not only save you but could also save someone’s life. That does it for this week.
I hope that our paths cross again in the next episode of I Love Being Sober, the show devoted to people in their first year of sobriety. Do whatever it takes to join me for episode number 80 because we’re going to dig into mistake number three, which is not finishing the steps. I will share my experience with this mistake along with how to avoid it. I encourage you to invite a friend, a loved one or a sponsee to the show. I can’t wait to connect with you then. It will be an insightful episode. I want you to join us with your loved ones.
- The Four Agreements
- iTunes – I Love Being Sober
- YouTube – Camelback Recovery