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[ Personal Narratives ]

Play The Tape Out

Probably one of the best pieces of advice, in my recovery journey, was given to me about 24 hours in.

I had just come to the conclusion that my drinking *might* be a problem, had attended a 12 step meeting {intoxicated} and was driving to a mandatory staff meeting {read: dinner & drinks} for a NEW job I had just taken.

I pulled out of my driveway and my temporary sponsor/friend phoned me.  He told me he REALLY didn’t think that it was a good idea for me to be going and to NOT call him if I had decided to take a drink. And then he said: 

“If you are feeling like having a drink, just take a quick moment to *play the tape out*. Remember that you don’t just have *one* drink.  Remember that you like to drink and then get in your car.  Remember how cold the jail floor was.  Remember the financial problems that you are in.  Remember the unexplained injuries that you are still recovering from. Remember that you DON’T remember.  Remember the decision and commitment that you have made to yourself… and then after all of that if you decide to drink… don’t call me.”

This sage advice has stayed with me during my 7+ years of long term sobriety.  It not only serves me with regards to booze but with money and yelling at my child and spouse and wanting to quit or run from people, places and things.  It helps me when I am in emotional distress and want to take a drive to Dunkin’ Donuts or the grocery store to unload the entire candy bar aisle.  It is helping me, at the moment, as I grieve the passing of my sweet dog, Luna.  

“Play the tape out, Jen.  All the way.  What’s it going to look like if you eat poorly and ingest enough sugar and caffeine to kill a few lab rats?  What’s it going to look and feel like, at Christmas, when Lucas doesn’t get presents because you bought NINE pair of yoga pants and another FOUR black tops?  How is this ALL going to feel once the dust settles?”

So, I step away from the car keys, take a breath, call a friend, read a book and pet the dogs that are at my feet and missing Luna, too.  I show up and am present when I teach my yoga class.  I do something for someone else and take my son so he can participate in the same lesson. 

I feel the feels. I honor the sadness and the stillness in the house.  I let the tears come, as they represent joy and heart ache. I light a candle, turn on my favorite Spotify playlist, start the diffuser and just sit.

I *play the tape out* over and over and over again.

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