One of the most important elements of recovery is learning how to properly use a telephone. When we were in our addiction, we had the drug dealer on speed dial. We had no problem calling him any time of the day or night to get our fix and we weren’t prideful about begging him to front us some junk until payday. If liquor was our drug of choice, we became quite chatty with strangers at the bars and talked of politics, religion, sex or any other ole thing that came to mind and we weren’t shy when it came to asking for their phone number. Now, we are living a recovery lifestyle and all of a sudden we become petrified of using the phone.
Many sponsors expect their sponsee to call and check in every day. Many ask them to call other recovering people every day also, even if it is just to say hello or leave a voice-mail message. There is a very good reason for this –anyone with long-term recovery knows the phone, when used properly, can save your life and your sobriety. If you are accustomed to calling recovery friends in the course of your everyday life, you will be more apt to use it if you run into trouble.
Fighting the disease of addiction or alcoholism is a battle that cannot be fought alone. The ultimate weapon for recovery is the recovering addict or alcoholic, which means you must learn to reach out to people if you want to stay sober and ask for help when you need it. This means you must master the phone.
A Phone Call Can Save Your Life
If you feel like getting loaded, you pick up the phone, tell someone about it and ask them to help you get through it until the feeling passes. If you’re feeling crazy and out of control, you pick up the phone, tell someone about it and ask them to help you get through it until the feeling passes. If you’re feeling sad and depressed, you pick up the phone, tell someone about and ask them to help you through it until the feeling passes. You get the point.
Sounds simple enough, right? Yet so many people in recovery relate that the phone often feels as though it weighs a hundred pounds and they just can’t pick it up. What if they think I’m a loser for calling them? What if I bother them? What if I sound weak and pathetic? These are usually the thoughts that accompany the dilemma that comes with calling someone and reaching out for help. The answer to all of these questions, however, is –THEY WON’T!! And, even if they did…if calling them keeps you from a relapse, isn’t that a small price to pay?
People in recovery don’t make fun of other addicts/alcoholics who are looking to stay in recovery. They help them. They help them because they remember all the people who took their late night phone calls so they could get through the night without going off the deep end. They are happy to repay the favor.
Today, we have it so easy. We have cell phones, Skype, instant messages, social media and many other fantastic ways to stay in touch with the world. When we need to reach out for the help of another recovering person, we don’t have to walk to a payphone or leave a message on an answering machine and wait for our sponsor to get home from work to call back. We have a huge selection of options that provide us instant access to help and support when we need it.
Your Not Alone, Others are Scared Too
If you’re afraid of picking up that phone, make the decision to overcome your fear. Just for today, call one addict or alcoholic in your group that you’ve never called on the phone before. Be honest and say something like, “Hi. This may sound silly, but I’m practicing my phone skills today because I need to learn how to reach out to others. How’s your day going?” You’ll see that it’s not so difficult after all and chances are, the person on the other end of the line will tell you what a difficult time they have with calling others. And, when you hang up that phone, you can feel good about yourself knowing you have officially learned to use one properly.