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Recovery: Where The Real Work Begins
The First Few Things; Set Yourself Up
The first thing that has to be done is to make a serious decision to take action. Sounds pretty easy doesn't it? What's even easier is procrastinating. " I'll do it tomorrow." If you do procrastinate, tomorrow will never come. Do it now, when you are hurting the most; when you don't have time to talk yourself out of it. Addiction doesn't want resistance, so catch it when it isn't looking. The problem is, you don't know where to go, who to talk to. There are a lot more places to turn than you think. I will probably refer to Alcoholics Anonymous quite a bit because that is what I am most familiar with and am a member of. That is what has worked best for me. But I'm not so arrogant as to think it is the only way to achieve sobriety. You have to explore and find what fits best for you. Remember, you're not doing this to please anyone else. You are doing this for you. At first, I know, that sounds selfish. It has to be. Trying to recover is a monumental task and you are the one with the problem. In all actuality, all others will benefit from a sober you and in most cases, that's all they want. Here comes the fun!
Oh. I forgot. Actually, the first thing is to stop drinking. ( The easy part.) This isn't something you can ween off of, unless you are experiencing sickness, cramps hallucinations and other signs of withdrawal. If so, you need to report to a detox center as soon as possible because this can kill you. If you think you need a drink to get you through until you can get the proper attention, by all means, have one. Don't be a martyr. And the detox centers can be a wealth of referrals to fit your needs. If not, your Yellow Pages has all kinds of listings for rehab facilities, counselors and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous and many others that address particular addictions. There are hotlines for referral. Use them. That's why they are there.
But, mainly, drop the ego. Drop the idea that you can do this by yourself. Or depend on willpower. These are no match. Realize that you have lost control and only something outside of yourself and you together can ever regain any kind of normality.
Next, you have to be willing to follow directions. Most times, the person you will be talking to has been right where you are at, at this very minute. They have experienced what you are going through and will be more than happy to share with you, what worked for them. If they can do it, so can you. You have to be honest and find humility. If not, you are only cheating yourself. The person you are speaking to is going to stay sober whether you do or not. The biggie is this. You have to be willing to change. You have to change your way of thinking about everything. We say in AA, " this isn't a drinking disease, it's a thinking disease," They aren't kidding. You have to realize that you are no longer in control of people, places and things. You never were. You just thought you were. You have to be open-minded. Let things in that you never did before. See, we never did that because it threatened our addiction that we either denied or defended until the bitter end. You may have to follow suggestions that may seem silly or a hassle. But afterwards, you'll understand the importance of them.
As you have read this, you may notice that most of this preparation is in your own head. This goes back to my prior article that addresses surrender. This is the total willingness to do whatever it takes to overcome this addiction. I'm not into all the cliches we here, but " One Day at a Time" is the best advice. Just worry about staying sober TODAY. If that doesn't happen today, tomorrow doesn't matter. You can worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.
This is a huge undertaking, but not a painful one.This is an undertaking of results, not consequences. This is a two part disease. One is of obsession. Our minds tell us we want a drink; need a drink; crave a drink. More times than not, we give in to this uncontrollable urge. Then there is what I call the allergy. This is when we put one drink in us, we no longer control when we stop and can no longer predict what will happen when we do. Our task is to get sober. The hardest part is staying sober. You can get sober for a time on your own, maybe. But staying sober is virtually impossible to do on your own. You will learn that relapse happens long before the drink. You need people to recognize backslides that you may not be aware of. You need to replace drinking buddies with sober friends that will be there through bad and good times. You don't believe me? Quit drinking for awhile and see how many of those so called friends call, just to see how you are doing. You will have to stay away from places you have associated drinking with. If you like to shoot pool, there are plenty places to shoot pool. You may learn that shooting pool was only an excuse to go to the bar. We have a saying. " If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got." It's true.
Trying to do this on your own is like one man trying to build the new World Trade Center by himself. An unbelievable task if not impossible. You need a blueprint, a plan. You need materials, which is your meetings, sessions or whatever you need. You need tools, which are the things you learn and apply toward your staying sober. And most of all, you need a crew. This is your support group. They will guide you based on their experience. Teach you, listen to you. Grow with you. I'm sorry, writers here in Hubpages or anywhere else. Telling someone they can do this totally on their own is snake oil. That's blowing smoke up someone's a--. When you are desperate and don't know what to do, you can only reach out like a person drowning in a pool. If no one is there because you are on your own, you will drown.
I do this to reach out and hopefully give direction to someone that has none. I don't care how many followers I get nor do I do this for money. If I would get just one comment someday that you took these first few steps and it seems to be making your life better, That's reward enough. See, reaching out to help another alcoholic helps me to stay sober. And it's far more rewarding than a suspended licence, a failed marriage or a lost job. I also have more friends and things to do than I know what to do with. I welcome those problems and I welcome you to what I have found. We can't regain the time we have lost, but we can make the most out of the time we have left.
You'll hear from me again soon. God Bless!