in or outA great way of maintaining sobriety and building serenity is to consider as you live your life,  Am I in my addiction in this moment? Are the thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes of this moment “in my addiction” or “out of my addiction?”

In the Waterfall metaphor, there is a safe line in the river that if we can maintain ourselves above that line, we will not act out.  If we cross over the line we begin, often ever so slightly, to be pulled towards the falls of acting out.  The waters around the line can be deceptively subtle.  We have difficulty recognizing the changes that will ultimately  result in our action out.

It might help to be aware of some things that are present when we are “out of our addiction”.  Peace, calm, serenity and the feeling of the spirit are present when we are completely out of our addiction.  When we are “in our addiction” we might feel or experience resentment, contention, anger, entitlement, jealousy, fear, anxiety, depression, justification, or superiority.

A client once was able to identify that he maintained a feeling of entitlement that contributed mightily to his addiction and acting out.  But he struggled greatly to see how his entitlement issue manifested in his life.  One evening his wife kept him waiting beyond their agreed upon meeting time.  As the moments past his anger grew.  Feeling angry had always been an acting out trigger for him.  The next day, feeling very disappointed in himself for being so angry towards his wife, he began to see the manifestation of entitlement; it made him susceptible to seeking the comfort of his addiction.

AA groups have long taught that whenever HALTS is present we are more susceptible to acting out.  When we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, or Sick we are much more likely to turn to our addictive behaviors for comfort.  If they are present, take evasive actions!

Managing our addiction at the “line” is preferable to trying to manage it at the waterfalls when we are at the point of acting out.  Our addiction has too much power for us when we are near the falls.  At the safe line, we are the most powerful we will be against our addiction.  There we can successfully dispute, discredit, and ignore our addictive thoughts and urges.  Down stream as the falls comes closer, they will be much stronger and much more difficult to fight off.

Find your safe line.  Learn to know “automatically” when you are “in” and “out.”