People in recovery are often careful about the choices they make. They know firsthand how a single bad decision can affect their lives. We often hear words like “vigilance” in our banter.
Some people have drawn clear lines. Things are very black and white to them. Others enjoy a little more gray and the lines are case-by-case.
Sometimes I get questions like, “There’s a great job opportunity in Fells Point — should I take it?” “Should I date so-and-so?” “There’s a happy hour networking event after work — should I go?” These are all questions that have to do with a line that isn’t always clear. They have to do with a sense of potential risk to their recovery.
Decisions in Recovery
Usually these questions involve the three things we’re often told to be wary of: People, places, and things. Potential triggers.
Since people need to draw their own lines and make their own decisions, the way I usually answer these questions is with another question:
Is it a wing or a weight? For you. Is it a wing or a weight?
Will this move help me fly or drag me down? That’s a question only you can answer. I can’t answer it for you. You may ask a sponsor or a recovery coach but at the end of the day, the choice rests with you. If you have the indispensable value of truth to self, you’ll know what’s best for you.
I know a pro skater in recovery. He decided that he can still skate for Van’s Warped Tour. He knows the kind of environment it is. But he feels he’s comfortable enough in his recovery to be an influencer in that environment, and for him it’s not an active threat to his recovery. I also know others who had to leave certain environments all together because they didn’t feel it would be conducive to their recovery. Everyone’s different.
So the question we have to ask ourselves is, Is it a wing or a weight? Now apply that question to the three categories I mentioned: People, places, and things.
People. There are some people that just aren’t good for my recovery. They would weigh me down. So I choose to either limit exposure to them or in some cases, disassociate altogether. Yet there are those who are crucial to my life. They help me fly. I fly with them. Or maybe there’s a hottie that wants to date you. Is he a wing or a weight? That’s a tough one for a lot of people.
Places. For some people, certain places bring a flood of feelings and triggers that drag them down. If not into relapse, these places may simply depress them. Sounds like a weight to me. Other places fire me up. They instill confidence and feelings of happiness. It’s a wing. It’s a win.
Things. Like material things or money or songs or certain opportunities. Job opportunities is a big question that seems to constantly reach my ears. Again: Is it a wing or a weight?
One of the things that I love about recovery community is that we have a network of people who will stand with us no matter what path we take. There is dignity in that. No judgment and always help if we fall.
Is it a wing or a weight? I hope you fly well today!