Floss every night.

Additional Information

There is a common motif in alchemy which applies here:

 That which you most need to find will be found where you least want to look.


Rule 11, upon first glance, appears to have the least relevance to a structured program of recovery.   However, when we consider what is required to successfully recover from a substance addiction, much of it is very uncomfortable.  And a lot of it consists of doing things that we do not want to do.  


One of the challenges in recovery is that it is often very difficult for an individual to monitor his own progress, and often by the time the individual realizes how destabilized his life has become, it is too late. 


So we wanted to come up with a simple behavior or action that might act as a quick representative, or barometer, of the stability of one's recovery in real-time. The consideration here was to find something of practical significance, minimally time consuming or expensive, that can be completed every day. We settled on flossing :-)


The short and long-term benefits from flossing are uncontroversial; there is even a good amount of research today about the cardio-protective effects from its daily use. Therefore, there is no one we can think of who would not, to some extent, benefit from regular daily flossing.  How long does it take? Maybe one minute.  There is some discomfort associated with the process, but it is relatively minimal. 


Therefore, what better small scale representation of recovery? It is a task that despite some momentary discomfort will certainly help us in the future. This has become the eleventh rule for recovery. Commit to flossing every day.   Not because you're interested in periodontal health (although this is a nice benefit!) but because you are substituting this as your once daily check for recovery commitment and willingness. You can think of it as a daily fuel gauge. If you are unwilling to commit to this rule, which typically takes about one minute, it may suggest that you are moving away from the path of healthy recovery, however slight that move may be on that given day. If you suddenly find yourself unwilling to floss, consider it an early warning sign then go back and look at which rules you have been neglecting.  Happy flossing!

image13