Problems in the Inner Circle

Trust for a recovering addict is one of those hurdles they must overcome if they are to remain sober. We don’t have to trust everyone. Doing that, based on my own experience, is a detriment to yourself; I learned doing so only hurt myself. However, there are three people I know who will help when I’m having a roller coaster of a day in sobriety. I was shaken to my core, didn’t know what to do, took the tools I was given and used them.

I trust the two other guys I live with and we’ve developed a good relationship with each other. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for better roommates. Here it comes . . . BUT! When someone crosses the line or breaks that trust, it can get ugly if you let it.

One roommate has people coming in and out of our apartment. While I respect it, there are times when it does get annoying, especially some who just don’t bother to knock, walk right in straight to his room. However, that issue was settled so we lock our front door.

The other day a friend of my roommate made a visit. This person we all know from the recovery community also knowing they struggle with their sobriety, half the time not being sober at all. To make a long story short, they were visiting my roommate, produced a bottle of alcohol and were immediately asked to leave. On the way out they slammed our door. We all agreed this person or any other who is under the influence is no longer allowed.

Not my circus, not my monkeys - Polish Proverb
Polish Proverb

This same roommate burn incense in the bathroom. Honestly, three guys living together, we all have our “blow up” moments. I get it. However, my experience also tells me something isn’t right. Is he trying to mask something else, like marijuana? I put that thought on the back burner. Trust. However, the other day, I went to take a shower. The fan is running, incense burning and I’m floored with the smell of marijuana. Really? Seriously?

As I’m taking a shower my head is racing at a hundred miles per hour. Do I confront him? Do I just “let is slide”? Do I tell staff? I consumed by anger, frustration, fear, worry, etc. I simply didn’t know what to do. Addicts are reactionary; addicts tend to react to situations instead of thinking them through. I sent a text to the roommate basically saying, “Hey, I know what you did/are doing!” Before I did anything other drastic, I called my Sponsor.

We, who live in a residential recovery program live by a double edged sword. On one hand, everyone is ideally (never happens) suppose to be sober/clean. On the other hand, we have rules telling us if we suspect use of illicit drugs we are responsible for inform staff, otherwise we may suffer consequences. It’s a situation all of us struggle with and debate with staff all the time.

My Sponsor gives me suggestions. Still allowing this thing to have room in my head, I decided to take a walk. There is meeting in an hour, so I can eventually get to it. As I’m walking I’m in connection with my Higher Power asking for guidance. Suddenly I realize I am literally lost! I had made a turn here and there, walked across the main road and walked into unknown territory. It was 11:50 a.m., this even started at 11:00 a.m., there was a meeting at 12:00 p.m. I had to view Google Map on my phone to figure my way to the meeting.

People rarely can tell my state of mind. Usually I get the, “Mike, why do you look so mad?” In reality, I”m happy as a clam. It’s facial expressions I haven’t been able to change since my disturbing childhood of neglect. People won’t know how I’m really feeling unless I specifically tell them.

An hour meeting, I sat in silence. Part of me wanted to shout what was going on but we all know, “..what is heard here….stays here” doesn’t always stay true in the rooms. Especially when half or more of us live in such close proximity of each other. I half paid attention to what was said, trying to hear a message. The other half was muddling what I was going to do about this situation. For a good twenty minutes or more, I felt like my body just wanted to get up and RUN. I was uncomfortable and I didn’t like it.

After the meeting, my other roommate and a friend walked to the store, so I tagged along. At one point my roommate asked, “How’s Mikey doing?” I responded, “I’ll talk to you later. I’m not good!” The part I left out is this roommate had no idea yet what I was going through because I wasn’t entirely sure to tell him because of things he is currently going through (depression and he was a “pot head”). He then recognized something was wrong, tried to use humor to brighten my mood but it didn’t work to well.

On the way back from the store I got to talk to my other roommate. He suspected the same thing. I asked him what we should do. We agreed in time, if our roommate is actually doing something, he will get caught and he’ll have to deal with the consequences. Once I got everything out in the open, I felt much better.

There was a lot I learned out of this situation. I will continue to learn as long as I’m “honest, open-minded and willing”. There are three people I have completely trust: 1) my Higher Power, 2) my Sponsor and 3) the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (talking to another alcoholic/addict). We’re given tools in this program to use to help better our lives. I choose to use them!

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