When I began my life in sobriety, I was ashamed and worried about what the people around me would think. Eventually, I became comfortable with my sobriety, and in turn I became more open about the fact that I was in recovery. I found that most, if not all, the people that I knew were supportive of my journey, and some were intrigued. Those that were intrigued began to ask questions, either for their own struggles, or for the struggles of a “friend”. People would ask about my drug of choice, when or why I decided to seek help, and how did I actually come out of the abyss that is addiction. I am very open, maybe sometimes too open, about what it was like and what it is like now, and that I recovered in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.
When I tell a person that thinks that they may be struggling with addiction or alcoholism how I got sober, they always seem to be surprised that it was through a 12-step program, rather than by some miracle of science. I tell of going through detox and then in-patient rehabilitation for months, all the while seeing counselors and case managers and therapists, and of course, going to meetings, obtaining a sponsor, and working the 12 steps. Some people literally scoff. “I’ve tried that, it’s not for me.” “I don’t think my problem is that bad.” “I just need to figure out how to control it.” “Isn’t that a cult?” “I don’t believe in God, that program shoves God down your throat.”
What is baffling to me about these reactions, is the fact that I’m in recovery, and living life as a happy, productive member of society, and the person on the other side of the conversation is actively using or drinking enough to think that they may need help, but they are unwilling to take certain steps to recover. Initially these responses are hard for me to take, and my first reaction is to say “Then why are you asking?”. I have to remember that at one point in time, I too was unwilling to take direction.
When I went into rehab in August of 2013, I had no idea what was in store for me. All I knew at the time was that I was in desperate need of a life change, and my drinking and using were out of control. Had I been told I was going to have to put forth an immense amount of work not just to get sober, but to stay sober, I probably wouldn’t have made the most important step of my life. Even after detox and rehab, I was still unwilling to let go of certain ideas, and 15 months after I worked so hard to kick all my habits, I relapsed.
Unfortunately, taking the path of least resistance is no longer suitable for me. As far back as I can remember, I did the bare minimum to get by in life. I did not want to work, and somehow I felt entitled, like the world owed me something. It was extremely hard, and it took a long time, years actually, for me to finally realize that my way does not work, and it may be time for me to take suggestion from others that have been more successful in their sobriety than I have been in my own.
Taking suggestion is hard. I know for me, I just want to do what I want to do, and I could be content in my own bubble, running on self-will. When I finally started listening instead of just hearing, my mind opened to many new ideas. I have to practice contrary action every day, other wise I’ll walk down the wrong path again and again. It’s a hard pill to swallow, realizing your way is the wrong way, but once you accept the fact that you don’t know best, life becomes so simple
Being of service and helping others is one of the primary purposes of the program in which I found salvation. Helping those that are struggling in a way that I was struggling a very short time ago keeps me sober today. I still have problems with control, and just want those that ask for help to do exactly what I suggest they do, and that is a defect of my character that I will have to work on for a long time to come. If you are struggling with addiction or alcoholism, reach out and ask for help. No one can tell you what will work for you, but the key to success is just being willing to be willing.
If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction visit www.abetterliferecovery.com