Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

Aw, C’mon, One More?

Last week, I sat in another funeral home thinking of the power we give to the desire for just one more.

When I was young, I begged for one more hour to play outside, stay up late, or talk on the phone. I asked my dad for one more push on the swing, one more toss in the air, or one more story. Although I didn’t know at the time, when I was denied these things, my parents helped me when I couldn’t help myself. They knew what I needed regardless of what I wanted.

When I got older, I pleaded for friends to stay for one more drink, one less meal, or one more minute to grab that gorgeous guy’s attention. The next morning, I silently thanked my friends for their strong suggestion none of that would work well for me in the long run. They pushed me from the very things I wanted but did not need. Once again, I was helped when I couldn’t help myself.

Then came the day when one more led me to the desire for no more. Had that not happened, I could have ended up just like my friend we came to mourn last week. Her one more led her to the last decision she’d ever make.

disappearing clock

Addiction is not a game or a passing phase. Many forget that. I told myself thousands of silent times that the water rushing into that hole in my life’s boat was problematic, but there was always that one more piece of duct tape to cover what I refused to believe could happen. I thought my short-term solutions would take care of what was fast becoming a long-term problem.

Not a day goes by without some reminder of this insidious disease. I listen to story after story from people who taught themselves to believe that after some period of time in recovery, one glass of wine at a dinner party or one skipped meal during a busy day would certainly not become a cause for concern. Then, in no time, one more turned into many more and for some, the option to seek recovery isn’t theirs to make.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. We’ve got one shot at this thing. I’m grateful that simple idea called for my attention before the God I pray to called me home.

What lays heavy on my heart is that my now deceased friend really wanted the kind of life many in recovery suggested she might have. I know this because we shared many late night conversations about this very subject. That’s what is so heartbreaking. The words I heard of commitment and desire led me to believe something her actions did not.

As I drove home from the memorial service I cried. At first the tears fell for my friend’s family, in particular, her sister because losing a sibling is not a club I wish to welcome anyone into.

Then, in that moment of connection, I smiled knowing there will always be one more chance for me to offer one more person, one more message of hope.

A Moment to Breathe

Have you ever told yourself doing something unhealthy one more time wouldn’t be all that bad? Or, what about the last time you said hurtful words one more time to prove a point? Take a moment to breathe and consider whether those situations ever worked out as you hoped they would. Did you suffer any consequences—emotional or physical? Instead of regretting one more time, why not take one more breath before you do.

I’d love for you to share thoughts about what I’ve written. Please leave a message below or as a comment when you post this piece via your favorite social media spot.   

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6 thoughts on “Aw, C’mon, One More?

  1. Marlene on said:

    Thanks Alison for bringing this to my attention again. I’m struggling with the food addiction at this time. Not taking care of me is not taking care of me no matter how I look at it. Time for me to do some very serious soul searching. Thanks.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Marlene. I’m glad you resonate with what I wrote. Regardless of the unhealthy short-term solution we’re convinced will heal our long-term emotional needs, the efforts to change are equally challenging. The good news is that within every minute of every day we have a chance to do so.

  2. Nice, Alison! I’m reminded daily of my disease. However, I’ve grown quite thankful for it, surprisingly. Without addiction, I wouldn’t have the Twelve Steps. I wouldn’t have a new life. I wouldn’t have met you!

    • So true, Dan.

      A man whose recovery I admire always says he’s grateful for being an alcoholic because that’s what got him to the contented life he has today. This post is, for me, a grounding reminder that there are no guarantees. Life doesn’t work that way. All I have is today and I’m damn grateful for that. I’m alive, healthy, and able to take those slow, deep breaths to keep me from doing what I might soon regret.

  3. Claudia Donohue on said:

    Alison, so beautiful, thoughtful and true. A great reminder of what could happen to any of us if insane thinking wins out. Thank you.

  4. Beautiful post. You know, when I quit drinking, one of my major motivators was that I started to scare myself so badly that I thought I might not have “one more chance” left…I’ve never heard this articulated quite so well until I read your post and it hit home. Thank you!

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