Are You White Knuckling?

Are you white knuckling your recovery? This is a very important question to ask yourself if you are going through the trials of early recovery, and a question that you must continue to ask yourself throughout your life as a recovered person.

White knuckling is dangerous territory to be in, as it may mean that there are no proverbial safety nets in place – the kinds of safety nets that working a program provides – to shield you from a potential relapse. This means that you are relying solely on yourself, and the power that you may believe you have over life, to protect you in the event that something cataclysmic takes place.

What is White Knuckling?

The short definition of white knuckling is relying on willpower to stay sober. If you’re white-knuckling, there’s some aspect of addiction that you haven’t healed from. This is a dangerous place to be in.

White knuckling can take many forms, as we are all different, and have different routines, lifestyles and character nuances, but the main thing that characterizes a pattern of white-knuckling is not trusting in your higher power in all areas of your life.

It is a common delusion among drug addicts and alcoholics that we have power over not just drugs and alcohol, but our very lives. If our first step experience has provided us with anything, it is the knowledge that we are completely and utterly powerless, and that, with or without drugs and alcohol, our lives are unmanageable. If you decide during your recovery that you still have sufficient power over these things, and you decide that you can stay sober and not work a program, you are likely white-knuckling.

It can be hard to place trust in your higher power at every given moment of every day, and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that we are not perfect, and that all we can do is strive for our best. It even says in the Big Book that the choice between living a spiritual way of life and dying a horrible death was a hard choice, so it can be tempting, and deceptively easy to fall into a pattern where you are no longer placing trust in your higher power.

How to Know if You Are White Knuckling

An easy way to determine if you are no longer placing trust in your higher power is asking yourself the question of how your prayer and meditation life is. Prayer and meditation provides a direct conduit to communicate with your higher power, and a lack of these areas in your life means that you are no longer seeking the guidance of your higher power in situations that arise in your life.

Another way of telling if you are taking back power is asking yourself if you are continuously trying to humble yourself on a daily basis by being of service. Being of service is the way that we live in God’s will, and maintaining a program of action is a great way to keep from white-knuckling.

What to Do if You Are White Knuckling

Taking back power, and convincing yourself that you have sufficient power to overcome drugs and alcohol without a program is a dangerous road to traverse. If you’re white knuckling, you’re at a greater risk of relapse. Willpower isn’t enough to achieve lifelong recovery.

If this sounds like you, keep reading to find out how you can overcome white knuckling your sobriety.

Think about how you can get yourself back into the mindset that makes recovery a priority. Consider joining some AA meetings or reaching out to your sponsor for support.

It’s important to maintain a connection to your higher power, and continue to humble yourself on a daily basis. Start and end each day with prayer or meditation. Take a few moments each day to practice gratitude and notice the little things in life.

Remember, maintaining sobriety shouldn’t be a struggle every day. You should be able to easily find joy, happiness, and excitement in your recovery. By releasing control, trusting, and connecting with your higher power, you can stop white knuckling and improve your chances at remaining recovered for life.

If you are struggling with white knuckling in recovery, know that help is out there. At Any Length, we have trained recovery specialists standing by, ready to help anyone on their journey toward lifelong recovery. Allow us to help you to keep moving forward on this journey; give us a call today at (512) 746-7036.

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Any Length Retreat is a 5 acre ranch in Austin, TX where addicted men and their families find lifelong recovery through the application of the Twelve Steps. Contact us to tell us your story.

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