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The Rule of Thirds

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by lisby1

Article by Robert Pardon

I had a college professor in one of my psychology classes present to me, what he called, “the rule of thirds”. He said, of those addicted, no matter what one does, one third will get worse, one third will stay the same and one third will get better. If that is true, then 66 percent of those addicted will never know recovery, as many of us understand it.

The other day I was reflecting on the early days of victory in my journey of recovery. For the most part my memories were pleasant and happy. I remembered all the times I spent in my home group meeting and the countless hours I spent with my sponsor, Jack F. I remembered the many days of being with my 2 daughters, who had never known their dad to be sober. I remembered my father giving me my 1-year chip at my 6 am meeting.

Some of my thoughts were filled with sadness as I remembered those who were still caught up in the addiction of the disease and would likely die if something did not change. I remembered those I spent hours with on a 12 step call and some I even escorted into treatment. Many times I would stay long after a meeting was over with someone who was talking about “going back out”.

My sponsor, Jack F, was sober 12 years at that time and he was quite involved with AA and service to others, and he would always tell me “we can’t save them all”. He would often tell me “we are called to do everything we can to help others, but at the end of the day we can’t save them all”. Jack taught me that our responsibility was to become as well as we can and to “clean our own house” the best we can to be in a sober and recovered condition to help others when called upon.

I, like many of you reading this, have loved ones that are suffering from the disease of alcohol and drug addiction. We, who have recovered, would love nothing more than to see them discover and live the truth of recovery as we have. The reality for them is the same as it was for us. The reality is “it takes what it takes”. Just as it did for those who came before us it is true for those who will come after us. It takes what it takes.

What does that mean? Does that that mean we give up on others? Does that mean we try to determine who might benefit and who won’t. Or does that mean that we continue to do the best we can for ourselves that we are best equipped to help someone else when the opportunity is given? If you are a true person of recovery then the answer is obvious. Just as Bill W. discovered many years ago even he couldn’t “save them all”, but somewhere in the trying he was saved.

About the Author

Robert Pardon is founder of becomingwellnow.com, a website that offers recovery information and solutions for alcohol and drug addiction.

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