I have found that in recovery I am often brought to the “jumping off point.” This is where I either surrender and let go of whatever or whoever I am coveting , or hold on to it and relapse and or bring on intense thoughts of killing myself. This sensation often feels like being in a trap, set by my ism. I love animal analogies and this scenario brings me to one of my favorites, comparing myself to a raccoon.
When I was in elementary school we read “Where the Red Fern Grows”, and in that book they described how to catch a raccoon and how raccoon traps work. They are very simple actually. The hunter places a shiny object in the center of the trap and when the raccoon grabs the shiny object it snaps shut on their hand and traps them. The part I found most interesting is how easy it is for the raccoon to escape. All the Raccoon has to do is let go of the shiny object, and the trap will open. It is remarkable how stubborn and unwilling they are in letting go, even if it means their own capture and death.
That is exactly how I am with many things in life. I have a hard time letting go and accepting things when my ego gets involved. There have been so many times in my sobriety that I have found myself in a lot of pain becauseI am unwilling to let go or accept something or someone. Often times it is being right or needing to prove myself that is the “shiny object” that I cling to until I am in so much pain I either let go of it or relapse and/or try to kill myself. I am like the little raccoon frolicking through the forest of life yearning for fun and freedom and coming across shiny objects that I cannot resist and grabbing them and holding on to them even when it means relapse or death is approaching. My disease is the hunter that is constantly searching for me and hoping that I stay trapped long enough for it to find me and take me.
Thank God for my sponsor and sober buddies. They are the happy forest critters that come by and point out that I am in a trap and need to let go. They help me let go of whatever shiny object I am clinging to, and when I cannot let go, they carry me to a meeting, where even though I am still in the trap of self, I can connect with a power greater than myself and find the strength to let go.
I love being a happy go lucky raccoon running around the forest of life, having lots of adventures with my fellow forest friends, and coming across lots of shiny things. It is in the finding and letting go of the shiny things in life that have brought me the most joy and growth in my life. As I have stayed sober longer and longer, I have gotten better and better at spotting the shiny objects that are traps and letting go of them more quickly.
By: The happy raccoon