In order to enter recovery successfully and really live a sober life, you need to be ready for a few things. One is, you need to absolutely let go of any control of your life at the moment. It has likely been chaotic at least recently and if you could of fixed it yourself you would have. It’s time to let other people, ones who have your best interest in mind, and whatever forces are in the universe to guide you in life. We call this surrender in recovery and it is the most vital part of getting sober. At the same time, it is also the hardest thing to do when getting sober.
In active addiction we are so locked into what our mind tells us to do that we will do things we never imagined possible. The slow down spiral of addiction (or fast sometimes) makes us slaves to the minds and the mind is exactly where our disease of addiction lies. When we promise others and ourselves that we are going to stop, because its getting out of control, our mind is the voice that tells us its okay to get high just one more time and then stop tomorrow. If you have ever dealt with or are currently dealing with addiction you know exactlywhat I am talking about.
So how do we counteract our sick minds from dominating us? We remove it from the equation. The main reason I personally have been able to stay sober for a few years is because in the beginning, I completely stopped listening to my own ideas about everything. I had relapsed too many times on my own ideas and I was so sick and tired of thinking that I knew what to do and that I was right. I went to treatment, did exactly as I was told, met some great people in an alumni program that was there, and when I left treatment I kept listening to others who had been where I had been before. My first year sober was so incredible because I had given up my will and fully accepted guidance in my life. Any other time I tried myself was such a failure compared to that.
It is also important to find someone in recovery who simply has what you want. Usually we spot this not by words but by actions and how someone carries themselves. After we have surrendered completely, we put it into the hands of whatever is out there to show us someone to now be our teacher. I know, it sounded crazy to me too. To let something out there people were calling ‘god’ or a ‘higher power’, something that I couldn’t see, and to trust it to introduce me to someone who can help save my life. Like I said I was all out of options at that time though, I had nothing to lose, so I trusted whatever is out there will introduce me to someone I need to meet and that’s exactly what happened not more than a day later.
Moments like that are what hooks us into recovery. The hardest part is first putting in the necessary work to get us to that first ‘aha!’ moment. Many people never get to it, go back out to addiction and don’t survive. If you are reading this and are just entering recovery, I beg you, leave the thinking up to somebody else for the time being and see how it goes. Worst case it doesn’t work and you can go back to whatever lifestyle you want. My first year sober was the best year of my life, finally living an honest and meaningful life is the greatest feeling you will ever experience. The hard part is getting there, let someone get you there.
Daniel W is a writer in recovery from New Jersey who likes to share his experience with others to show that absolutely anyone can get sober provided they are ready to take action