The Flag Pole – A Safe Place to Run to When the Fire Hits.

Here is imporant entry on another important piece of how to beat an addiction originally written by my student L.R. and edited by me.

“You know where to go! Get there quickly with no diversions!” The teacher commands, as the students laugh and giggle. The constant blare of the Fire Alarm seems like it would make the students nervous or afraid, but they aren’t. It’s just a fire drill, and they know it, and just like they do a handful of times every school year they march out of their classrooms to the sound of the sirens; everyone knows where he must go, they’ve drilled this so many times: the flag pole.

These drills are important because when a real fire comes, the students will know exactly what to do: run to the flag pole. They don’t have to think during the emergency, just do what has already been planned and practiced.

This principle is key for overcoming addictions. In the time of emergency is not the time to think, in fact, if you try to, you will end up dying in the fire. The key is to have drilled and drilled before the fire comes exactly what you’re going to do.

Every recovering addict should have a “flag pole” to run to when the danger alarms go off in his head. This should be an actual physical location where they have to move to get to.

One recovering addict ran out to his basketball court in the back yard and had to make a pre-designated number of shots before he went back inside. Another slept with in his running clothes with his shoes by the bed. If he was attacked in the middle of the night, without thinking he would lace up his shoes and try to break his record for racing around the block. Another would run out to the stop sign and give it a high five. For another, his flag pole was his mail-box, when tempted, he would go out, stand by his mail box and just talk.

You can see that everyone has a different way of applying the flag pole, it’s not as important what you do, but that you have something planned and drilled at least once a day that gets you up and out and doing something, especially physically exerting.

Passion projects (things you love to do that are good) can also become flagpoles. Take out the drawing pad, go to the piano, or the wood shop. Use some warrior chemistry to clear your head and go out and get something done. Builing and working and serving can be great flag-poles, but you have to think it out and practice it before the attack comes.

Remember, if you try to think during the fire, you will get burned!


About Maurice W. Harker, LPC

Director of Life Changing Services, Director of Sons of Helaman, Facilitator of the WORTH group, Consultant for the Daughters of Light program.