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Pie Chart Analogy As It Relates To Recovery

Posts: 2928
Joined: March 9, 2004

Posted: June 17, 2007, 11:44 AM
Last February, I wrote these words to "gentlepeace". I'm going to alter this message a little bit and add some graphics, because when I was in rehab, I remember the profound impact this made on me.

My sponsor suggested to me early in recovery that whatever I do, I don't use and to surround myself, every aspect of my life, with recovery. Go to as many meetings as I could - continue working the steps, get involved with others who were seeking the same spiritual growth that I was. She promised me that if I did this, soon I would see that the highs and lows would become a little less frequent and they wouldn't last as long as they had been. She promised me that I would begin to experience some level of balance in time with the action I needed to take.

You may have seen me write this before, but indulge me, as I would like to share it again. I like to think of my life in terms of a pie chart. The ultimate goal is to have equal slices of pie that make up the whole. Each slice represents an area of my life - family - work - recovery - relationships - finances - play or leisure time - religion - spirituality - etc. for quite some time the major portion of that pie was my addiction and the behavior that surrounded it.

If you can picture a pie chart, probably 7/8's of that pie was taken up with drugs and the behavior that surrounded my drug abuse. The other areas of my life - the family, HP, work, finances, relationships etc. were crammed into one teeney tiny sliver of that pie.

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When I made the decision to stop all drugs I was left with this tremendous void - a huge hole that needed to be filled or I was going to go right back to using as a means to cope with this painful vacumn.

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I replaced that hole with recovery.

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Did what my sponsor suggested and did a little more, like seek the help of a counselor and an addiction support group. pretty soon I found that those other areas of my life began to slowly widen and some balance was being restored. To me, this is the promises coming true that we read about in the big book.

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There is much to be said about surrender. Sometimes we have to surrender the fight to win the battle. How uplifting and empowering it is to read messages from people who ARE doing this thing called recovery and please know it's the journey that counts, not the destination. To those still suffering and held in the grips of of addiction, please know that there is a solution out of this insanity. I'm living proof of this along with countless others. All it takes is a little willingness and a whole lot of action.

Time is something I spend everyday, but it cannot be bought at any price. I spend time on everything: recovery, HP, prayer, myself, loved ones, family, friends, work and co-workers, restoring finances, leisure, etc. The time in my life is priceless. And I ask myself frequently, what determines what I spend my time on?

Guided by Spirit, I use time wisely.

My prayer for all is simply this:

Higher Power,

There are many things vying for my time and attention; my family, job, self-care, prayer and meditation, recovery, each take time and effort.

I seek balance and the best use of the time I have. I accept Your direction for each moment of my lives.

Thank You for speaking to me in ways I understand. May Your will be my will and Your thoughts my thoughts.

So it is.


The longer I stay in the light of recovery and continue to do the next right thing, more is revealed. And as for that pie chart, it looks more like this today, with recovery still being my number one priority, I'm finding that balance that once eluded me.

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Thanks for letting me share.

Namaste' ~


Posts: 4698
Joined: March 19, 2006

Posted: June 17, 2007, 2:42 PM
sammy ..................i really like this chart............

very interesting to me........
i never seen this before......

thanks for posting it............

loving you sammy..............


Posts: 7453
Joined: September 28, 2004

Posted: June 18, 2007, 1:11 PM
Nice share, Sammy.
I'd like to say that my life has progressed to that final chart but it's not quite there yet, lol.
It's much, much closer than it used to be, though.
What I'd really love is for the leisure section to be a little bigger, lol.


God determines who walks into your life; it's up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.

user posted imageuser posted imageuser posted imageuser posted imageuser posted image

Posts: 1678
Joined: July 1, 2004

Posted: June 18, 2007, 5:16 PM
All that pie Sammy.........Now you made me hungry for either some peach or blueberry :) On a serious note, what a great visual and it really makes so much sense.......Thanks for sharing that with ya, Rus

The joy we seek lies less in something new happening and more in our opening our hearts more fully to the love in our lives already. Only love can make us happy, and only we ourselves can determine its presence or absence inside our hearts. To acknowledge love is to increase its capacity to heal us; to ignore love is to let it slip away.

- Marianne Williamson,
�Illuminated Prayers"

www.Transformations.comuser posted image

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Posted: June 18, 2007, 10:18 PM
user posted image

Posts: 2928
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Posted: March 9, 2008, 8:12 PM
Bumpin' for MrJer.

Rollercoaster is a good description of the gamut of high and low emotions we feel in early recovery. I like to use the analogy of thinking as our heads as the engine of a train and the rest of our body are the ensuing train cars.

Our head/engine makes the decision to put on the brakes (take away the drugs) but some how the rest of the cars (our emotions) don't get message.

What happens?

As the engine comes to a stop, the cars are still traveling at full momentum and come crashing into the engine. Hence, a messy derailment, which mirrors the unmanageability of our emotions we find in our lives as a result of our addiction.

I suspect you are right where you are supposed to be, Jer. At least when I was in your present position, I was. And it isn't a peaceful place to make the decision to shift your perception. I found that if I didn't use, and kept "trudging the road to happy destiny" (in other words - doing the next right thing where recovery was concerned) the derailment began to get cleaned up, or in your scenario, the roller coaster ride began to even out. I chose to shift my perception from looking at all this mess as something negative to a positive, in that I was given a solution out of it. And that's where the miracles take place - when we make the decision to shift our perception from a negative to a positive. My greatest spiritual awakenings are always preceded by what I perceive as my darkest moments.

Below is a message I posted a few 24 hours ago with a pie chart I created. It shows you graphically what happens in early recovery when we make that decision to stop using.

Congratulations on your 40 days, Jer. What a huge accomplishment this is. And as for that kiss from your wife - there's a quote I like that I don't know who to attribute it to, but goes like this:

“Life, the gift of nature. Love, the gift of life. A kiss, the gift of Love”

Namaste' ~


Posts: 602
Joined: November 20, 2006

Posted: March 9, 2008, 9:06 PM
Thanks Sammy!!!!

I'm tryin'. My life truly was like that first pie......mostly addiction. Like I wrote, it's not ALL's just all over the place.

Thanks again!!!!!

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Joined: October 20, 2006

Posted: March 10, 2008, 2:40 AM
what an absolute gift you are!!! so intelligent, so wise, so much wisdom!!! have you ever thought of being an addictions counselor??? you have that gift of making people feel good, it is all about love!!!!
just wanted to let you know how much i respect you!!

user posted image

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Posted: September 4, 2009, 6:49 PM
Bumping this thread up for Todd.

You are a miracle, my friend and God sure is crazy about you!

Hugs all around ~


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Joined: July 3, 2009

Posted: September 4, 2009, 9:18 PM
Ha! Sammy.
I sat there reading, thinking wow, this would really apply to me... Pie chart, comments, etc. Answers to many of my questions.
I didn't notice the older dates.
Then the note it was for me! How kind of you! I thought I made you mad.

I went to one AA and two NA mtgs. yesterday.
As I read the thread, I was thinking "Am I surrounding myself in recovery?"
I answered yes. I felt a little guilty for not speaking to my higher power enough. I have a nagging suspicion that until I give up the reins completely, I won't get the benefit of the program completely. I could be wrong. I've been wrong before.

I love the train analogy. That would explain my mood swings and emotional state. (it's still unsettling - I've never been an emotional guy particularly) I was scared I was losing my mind...
You know, I want this newly recognized "addict" thing to just go away. But it won't ever go away. That alone can be hard to swallow.

One day at a time. Or even one evening at a time.
At least I've come to one inescapable conclusion: There is no doubt in my mind anymore, I am an addict.

And I need help.


Pain is inevitable in life; suffering is optional.

Some people change when they see the light, others when they feel the heat.

Posts: 2606
Joined: August 18, 2005

Posted: September 5, 2009, 8:25 AM
Pie chart was reveling- - nice job. Thanks for the time and effort & the interesting data it revealed

much respect

"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."
— Hunter S. Thompson[COLOR=blue]

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Joined: March 9, 2004

Posted: May 7, 2010, 6:11 PM
Bumping this up for Santee. You are love and you are loved, Santee. Don't you ever forget this.

Hugs ~


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Joined: December 4, 2009

Posted: May 7, 2010, 10:40 PM
Thank you so much Sammy! Very powerful visual. I want my chart to look like that last one!

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Joined: October 17, 2004

Posted: May 9, 2010, 5:03 PM
Hi Sammy, Kind of like u brought the ol pie in the sky in the bye & bye to earth for today. Hope all is well, u always are an encouragement.

I remember a while back someone asked u (it might have been me even) about a truely satisfactory & happy life ---if it was really available from the inside, without drugs.

You gave a really inspiring answer about the things your life has become & said it in a non-fantasy down to earth way that seemed real, and gradually achievable. I think it dealt with the true and real satisfaction and joy and reality that your life now is. It was an inspiration to me ( a big part had to do with the credible source, you)

It was pretty long, but if u get the time and feel like re-writing it( or know how to find the original & repost) I think it would be beneficial to a lot of people. I wish I had printed it our- it was that good & helpful.

No matter what right you did or what wrong you didn't do: When you're the black sheep, all blame belongs to you

Posts: 2928
Joined: March 9, 2004

Posted: May 15, 2010, 12:42 PM
Oh my...Not sure what message you are referring to, old dawg. However, I'm happy to read it helped. Likewise, you've brought much inspiration to me. And that's how it addict helping another. This recovery stuff...

'tis a gift!

Hugs to you ~


Posts: 1
Joined: June 20, 2010

Posted: June 20, 2010, 4:24 AM

Incredibly powerful and so simple. I am 40 years drinking and trying to stop. Hope is in short and diminishing supply. My liver readings are way up. I will try and keep that chart replacing void with recovery at the centre of my mind today and not drink. It is 9.23 am here in England.

Take care all. I wish you all well.

Posts: 2606
Joined: August 18, 2005

Posted: June 20, 2010, 8:26 AM

just hadda tell ya- -helluva job with the charts * **


"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."
— Hunter S. Thompson[COLOR=blue]

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Joined: March 29, 2005

Posted: June 20, 2010, 8:43 PM
yep.our little sammy back.hope you well sweety.poopie..keep yourself well.

just remember we are here to hold your hand..

Posts: 10
Joined: October 23, 2010

Posted: October 23, 2010, 10:38 PM
Hi all.

Well here I am. Newly joined and hoping to make a success of my recovery.
I also learned about the use of a pie chart at rehab. Problem is, I didn't take rehab seriously at all. One thing that I have picked up in this post is that I am going to have to work it to make a success of it. I remember someone sharing at a NA meeting about working it as well.

Currently my only transport is my bicycle. Guess I'll just have to get fit in the process of going to meetings every day of the week. And I'll be making a note of that thing you call "Doing the next right thing".

Please pray for me. I am on the point of falling over the edge and hitting rock bottom. I can hear God telling me he has better and greater things in mind for me. And I want to answer that call.


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Joined: October 24, 2012

Posted: October 29, 2012, 12:30 PM
I know this was years ago but super cool to see. Thanks!!!
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