Cleaning up your life in early recovery

Recovery requires cleaning out the dump. We get rid of old garbage and learn to refuse other people’s garbage.

Hauling it to the Curb: Cleaning up your life in early recovery by Ken Montrose

Cleaning up your life in early recoveryThis 160 page workbook helps newcomers explore their denial, deal with early recovery, and work the first five steps of AA/NA. In addition to practical advice and thought-provoking exercises, this book tells the story of Matt and Rachel, a young couple in early recovery.

Some of us are born into a dump. Our parents have filled our homes with loads of emotional garbage. Every room holds memories of screaming arguments, or worse yet, stony silences. Every day we pretend we live in a normal home, and every day more garbage arrives. The stench of denial is stifling. We leave as soon as we can to turn our new homes into dumps, taking with us as much garbage as we can carry.

Some of us create our own dumps from scratch. We grow up in loving homes where getting drunk or stoned does not excuse immature behavior. We order loads of garbage until our parents accept living in a dump or force us to leave.

In either case, many of us suddenly realize we live in a dump. Be it a mansion or a mission, it is a dump. Every day the dumptrucks pull up, driven by bitter children, ex-spouses, angry bosses, police officers, and unsympathetic judges.
We cannot understand why they keep “dumping” on us. It takes some of us a long time to remember we ordered this garbage. It takes us even longer to realize we can refuse delivery on other people’s trash.

Not using alcohol and other drugs (AAOD), slows the pace of delivery. Loads still arrive, but most often they are loads ordered before we got clean and sober. The alcoholic who stops drinking still lives in a dump, but with luck most of the garbage will rot away. He may have to deal with other people’s loads.

Recovery requires cleaning out the dump. We get rid of old garbage and learn to refuse other people’s garbage. In recovery we get out from under loads we don’t remember ordering that arrive after we get clean and sober.

If you seem to have misplaced your mansion under the mounds of garbage, read on. It is time to start digging out.

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