Strikes Without Warning; If You Forget to Prepare

By | April 15, 2020

Snakes in tall grasses are hard to see. They strike at legs moving through their field. It’s not personal, it’s business. You are near my nest; I feel threatened; and I am annoyed: Snap. Bitten. Depending on the snake, you may survive, or you may find yourself, dying. Preparation for facing snakes when going into the wild is prevention as well as protection.

You can prevent direct issues with poisonous reptiles. However, you cannot prevent all accidental encounters from happening.

Preparation is essential.

Addiction, much like a snake in the grass, is every ready to snap back into action. The tall grass of the synapses in our brain hid the little snakes which hatched unknowingly overnight.

Addiction prevention is daily work, often minute-by-minute.

The brain’s patterns are to create neuronal pathways much like trails in the woods and fields; the more they are used, the faster the information is sent along the synapse into the right receptors. Presto, you have a magnificent system, ready to get going in an instant.

Changing the patterns we are used to falling back on is like building a wall of protection after the grass has grown over and the tangled weeds are impossible to take down without a struggle, a weed wacker, and a lot of time. Once the initial work is completed, you can keep up maintaining the efforts of sobriety. The work is made easier with help.

Prevention, much like a weed wacker, takes down all the potential weed trails from starting up again. It means, reducing overgrowth, removing root systems, and spraying for seed control.

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Addiction prevention, is much like trail prevention.

Reducing the connectivity to others who use means removing the root causes and places of familiarity to use, keeping the mind filtering for seed planting, and finding a support group who rallies around you when a seed sprouts.

The brain does what it does and loves shortcuts. It is into continuing to fulfill the needs of the body. When the body is used to a substance, no matter how bad it is for the brain, it sends out signals, “I want, I want, I need, I need! Gimme Gimme Gimme,” just like Bob shares in the movie, What about Bob?

Seeds are those little chants begging for attention.

Ever think you have reduced all the dandelions in your yard, only to find one blooming super close to the ground? You almost missed it.

Somehow, one little root, sprouted up and is now signaling the sunshine to send its rays onto it, so it can germinate faster. Soon, little white puffs of seeds are flying through the yard. Within a short period, you have ten new little plants starting. Daily upkeep on the yard would prevent them, however, you got busy. Life started to weigh on you, work became hectic, people started depending on you, and you stopped working out, stopped eating better, as a matter of fact, you skipped a few meals the past few days. By the time you see the yellow smiling dandelions sunning themselves, you realize you are overwhelmed.

Snap. A choice is made to add fertilizer to the weed. Its an automatic thought process. It happens when you forget the training and the capturing of triggers. The fertilizer is compared to calling a past friend who you used with, an accidental run-in, or a potential buyer for a product, and you are right back in temptation alley.

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Roots are setting deeper.

Prevention is like having a sponsor you call the moment you see the leaves of the tiny yellow plant. The sponsor comes over and brings their trowel and spray.

On their knees, the sponsor digs the plant out, tossing it, yellow sparkly happiness to the side, dig a little deeper, upending a few worms and other weeds, they dig the root out and then spray into the hole. You kneel next to them, helping them move the earth, and then sweep up the mess, put it into the trash. You and the sponsor stand back and gaze at the yard. The bare patch is there to remind you of the attempted threat to your sobriety.

You almost were bitten.

Prevention is part of the idea behind reducing relapses. Addiction is more than substances one uses to cope with life: to check out or to reduce pain. Anything can become an addiction, the intent is where the problem begins.

Knowing yourself, knowing your intent, knowing your weaknesses, and then knowing the end result you want makes prevention so much easier to obtain.

Develop a healthy support system, find places to go where you will be encouraged to focus on recovery. Finding a person (sponsor) who helps you move from dependence on a substance or activity, sustains the longevity of sobriety.

…One day at a time, moment by moment, moving through sobriety with hope.

~Just a thought by Pamela

As a side note:

Sharing the article, I realized I have walked through different forms of addiction such as an eating disorder, alcohol, sugar, and negative attitudes. Some of these might seem silly, however, if you stop and think about it, anything used to stop feeling sad, bad, fearful, or pain is a tool to cope with. It does not make it an addiction until you cannot live without it. Thankfully, each of the addictions I mentioned have been in remission for a long time. The one, I fight daily is attitudes. I take it one day at a time and fight the snakes when they show up. Triggers and all the rest of the stress in life can swipe us into a dark place. The story above, helped me ‘re-purpose’ the ideas and fears I deal with daily. I hope they help someone else on the journey to wholeness and awareness.

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Previously published on Medium.com.

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Photo credit: By Divide By Zero on Unsplash

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