Welcome to Recovery! A Beginners Guide to Making It (This Time).
If you’ve already grown tired with the incessant self help commercials, the get fit fast diet, the drop weight with our exercise equipment barrage that begins about two minutes before the ball drops on the new year, but you’re nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of knitting grannies on rocking chairs because you’ve finally sworn off alcohol and drugs, fear not. Read on.
If you know someone who’s finally quit and they’re as described above, please send them the link to this post.
Now, with the perfunctory hoo-hah out of the way, let’s get right to the good stuff.
More recovery anniversaries begin on or about the first of the year than any other few weeks of the whole year. It’s an easy place to muster up the will and energy to finally swear off booze (and/or drugs). The problem is what comes next.
Most will last a week, maybe two, on sheer adrenaline and willpower. We grow weak over time, though, without something to help keep us progressing. The pull of the escape from everything we’ve been hiding from over the years wears one’s resolve down with surprising efficiency. If you’ve recently quit, you’ll be dealing with this shortly. And if your next thought after reading that last sentence is, “Not me, not this time. I’m dedicated, motivated and I will not give up”, you need this post even more urgently than most. Your time to test that is coming sooner than everyone else still scared out of their wits to have given up their shield. You’ll see.
I’ve seen hundreds walk back out the door within a week or three of uttering that very sentiment. Sadly, this is not an exaggeration. If you’ve been around long enough. The key is to make it from that point where you have to recover to the point you want it. There is a very large fissure betwixt the two and a skinny suspension bridge to walk on to get to the other side. It’s got handrails, this bridge, but they’re not much more than dental floss. It’s a balancing act, for sure.
Now, there’s an easy way and a hard way to do this. The hard way is go it alone with willpower as your guide. You’ve got a one in a few hundred chance of making it a year like that. You’ll have a one in a thousand chance of making it to five years… and if you make it to five, you’ll have a one in two chance of making it to ten. I know one friend who did this. He’s got more than 37 years. Just one.
Then there’s the middle of the road way. Give a recovery program a try and find religion and skip the program. I know a few who went this way and went on to successful, happy lives. Well, one isn’t entirely happy, but I pray for him that maybe he finds it. He’s close. The key here is that religion gives us something to work on in our lives that can be fixed – us. If you’re hoping other people, things and situations around you will change to facilitate your recovery, skip the drama and go to the nearest bar and do some more testing and experimentation… and come back when you’re really ready to sober up. It just doesn’t work like that.
And that leads us to the easy way. Get involved in the recovery community. Whether Twelve Step or not, get involved. It’s harder to fall off the wagon from the middle than it is sitting on the edge. Go to meetings, work some steps – surround yourself with recovering people. Be a part of. I personally know thousands of people who have made it this way. And by made it, I mean people who lead happy, joyous and free lives and who help others attain what they’ve found.
The trick to making it from needing to recover to wanting to recover is getting involved.
Recover hard, my friends. This $#!+ is worth it.