What exactly does this slogan mean? However, we could better start our discussion with what it doesn’t mean. It could be a paraphrase of “do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
Addicts are known for procrastination when it comes to performing common tasks or carrying out responsibilities. It has been said in recovery groups that if an addict put as much energy into achieving and maintaining sobriety, that they put into their active addiction they would be quite sober. Seeking out one’s drug of choice becomes the main focus of an addict’s life. Everything else is eventually left to fall to the wayside.
Upon achieving sobriety issues such as vocational difficulties, financial fall out, relational difficulties, physical issues and mental health issues may all need attention. Realizing all of the wreckage that the addiction has caused can overwhelm the addict. It can take months or years to clean up all of the situations caused by the actions or inactions taken in active addiction. Some situations may require attention but are unable to be restored to a manageable state. The Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference,” may be very helpful in these types of situations.
Easy does it can help to break down these tasks into attainable chunks. By patiently listing what needs to be done and, then prioritizing tasks, one is not so overwhelmed as to be unable to start picking up the pieces of their life. One’s life did not end up in a shamble overnight. It is quite possible that it took many years for all of this wreckage to accumulate. Even if the devastation occurred quite quickly, it may take some time for it to be straightened out. There may be court proceedings to contend with, periods of unemployment, divorce or child custody issues to be sorted out. Let’s not forget the addict’s physical health, as a good physician may be needed to address health concerns. Usually, these types of situations do not resolve themselves overnight. The addict must remain sober while learning to live with unresolved issues. This may be a very difficult thing for the addict to learn how to do. Easy does it is a slogan that can be brought to mind when one begins to feel inundated by a multitude of situations which require attention.
Easy does it is not an excuse to sit in our easy chair and watch the parade go by. Progress in cleaning up the wreckage of the past is to be a top priority. As my first sponsor taught me, “surrender and show up.” This was said when I was complaining about having to go to court. I was not accustomed to viewing surrender with taking action. This was a big lesson I had to learn. The lesson has served me well and I still use it to this day. I had equated surrender with losing and had to learn what the 12 Step version of surrender was. This new version was actually winning as I was now able to address issues as need be and as they cropped up. I no longer have mountains of wreckage to deal with. I now try and resolve issues as they occur and, before they get out of hand and turn into a backlog of unresolved problems.
By keeping the issues that crop up in my life in check, and applying easy does it, I am able to have a clear mind most of the time. This enables me to enjoy life and sobriety as it unfolds before me. I no longer fear the bill collector or the police. Application to one’s life appears to be a key factor when using 12 Step slogans. The important part to easy does it appears to be to just do it. And don’t forget the Serenity Prayer.