I spent about five years of my life trying to get sober. What does trying mean? It meant I wanted to, I wanted the pain to stop, I wanted to stop hurting others and I wanted to build a life. There was one problem however, I was not willing to do whatever it takes to get and stay sober. It is often said that it’s not the people who need it or want it that get sober, it’s the ones that take action that get sober. For so long I would go to treatment, and have this vision and idea of me taking charge of my life and it felt great, a few weeks later however and I would be high and a total mess all over again. How though? Wasn’t I having these great visions of being and staying sober on my way out of treatment. Let’s talk more about willingness.
I have been to inpatient rehab a handful of times, and as I said in my opening statement, I always had the mindset that I was done with drugs once and for all. That’s most people’s sentiment while in treatment, that drugs have ruined their life and they are hereby swearing them off because their life was a nightmare. If it were that easy to get sober then everyone would be sober who wanted to, unfortunately that is not the case and relapse rates are very high to this day. So what happens?
Discharging from treatment is honestly some of the most important moments of your life and the decisions you make at that time can and will have an impact on your life forever. My attitude for a long time was that I wanted to stop, but when I was given recommendations that were anything different then what my own ideas were of what I should do when I get out, I would shut them down immediately and do things my way. It took me a long time to realize my way, whatever it may have been, always led me back to a drug. That goes for a lot of people I have met who enter recovery and then quickly leave without a trace.
This is where willingness comes in, I was always asked “Are you willing to go to any lengths to get sober” and I would say yes partially to keep people from jumping down my throat if I said no and I also just interpreted it as, “Do you really want to get sober?” which I did. Going to any lengths means so much more than just wanting to get sober. Going to any lengths means surrendering and allowing others to guide you in your journey, completely. For a lot of people that means not going back home, ending a relationship, getting a new job you aren’t fond of and many other things that are uncomfortable. Those are things I always avoided and I did my way and it always went wrong.
Willingness is the ability to shut down your own ideas and thoughts on what your life should be and listening to someone else’s ideas. Of course that someone should be an individual who has been where you are in early recovery and successfully made it out. Find that person who has what you want and simply ask them “What do I need to do?”. It really is that simple. My willingness has given me a beautiful life at over 4 years sober when I thought for years I would never get it together, turns out I just needed to get out of my own way.
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