Getting sober is hard.
It’s a very strange phenomenon. With all the pain, heartbreak, trouble with the law, family turmoil and ill health that goes hand in hand with addiction – in some ways it is easier to continue using drugs.
Getting sober requires action. It requires doing things that you don’t want to do. Most importantly, it requires you to have faith that in some way somehow, it will all pay off.
That’s why they call it a “leap of faith.” To get sober demands blind faith that what you are doing today, is somehow going to pay off in the future. That is very uncomfortable. It is against the nature of a majority of people.
That is why drug addicts often times find comfort in their misery. It is predictable, it is predetermined. If I take this pill, I will feel a certain way, in a certain amount of time… guaranteed.
For many people, the drugs and alcohol are the comfort zone. It’s like laying in a bed of thorns.
Sobriety has been a doorway into a life of freedom that only those who have been shackled by addiction will ever understand. The problem is, you will never know what freedom feels like. Sorry.
Unless, of course, you can get out of your comfort zone. If you can overcome these roadblocks, you will have everything you need to get and stay sober. You can find freedom.
Let’s get started.
1 – You Can’t Get Honest With Yourself
Let’s not sugar coat this. Getting honest with yourself is not easy. It is much easier to live in denial. The problem is, you can not hide from the truth.
I’ve always considered it to be one of those universal truths. No matter what happens, you always know in your heart what the truth is. It’s much like being in love or knowing if you did your best or not. You just know inside your heart and gut what the truth is.
You can not escape it, you can only deny it. You can only hide in the safe bubble wrap of your false reality.
Getting honest with yourself requires you to be exposed and to be vulnerable. It requires that you see yourself for what you really are. If you want to get sober, you are going to admit that there is a problem.
You are going to have to admit your faults, your insecurities, your mistakes, your lies and find out where that void is really coming from. You are going to be exposed.
2 – You Are Unwilling To Do The Work
Sobriety is not free. Recovery from any substance requires work. It requires you taking the time and making the long-term commitment to work on yourself. It sucks…
You have to be willing to do whatever it takes. You have to be willing to go to that meeting when your favorite TV show is on. You have to be willing to say no to that party or to work on your recovery on a Saturday morning.
Nothing in this world is free.
The reason you will never get sober is because you expect these good things to just happen to you. You expect to be sober and happy without making sacrifices. That’s not the way it works. If you want to get sober, you must earn it.
“Sobriety is not for those that want it, or even for those who need it. It’s for those that do it.”
3 – You Refuse To Have An Open Mind
For most addicts, recovery is a completely new way of life. It is alien and strange and confusing. In order to get clean and sober, you must be open minded to new ideas.
If you are stuck in your ways, if you are convinced that you know best, you will never get sober.
Suggestions will be made that you won’t understand. For instance, I remember my sponsor told me that he wanted me to do something that would help someone else, and he didn’t want me to tell anyone about it.
At the time, I thought it was the single dumbest thing I have ever heard. Why wouldn’t I tell someone? Why wouldn’t I want my good deeds recognized or why wouldn’t I want to speak up about someone who needs help? It didn’t make any sense.
I was open minded, and I get it now. I can’t explain it to you. You have to be open-minded to discover these things for yourself.
If you think you know best and if you are closed-minded, you won’t stay sober. You may get sober for a short time, but eventually your own mind will convince you that you were right all along. Off to the races.
4 – You Don’t Have Stamina
Tell me if you have seen this before.
You’re fresh out of rehab. You’re on fire!
You’re participating in your recovery, you’re taking suggestions, you are doing everything you can. You get maybe 9 months of clean time and you say to yourself, “You know… I can probably take it easy now.”
You sprint right out the gate in your recovery, but eventually you die down. Slowly, old thoughts and obsessions start to creep in. You tell yourself you don’t need to go to that therapy appointment, or you know already know everything you need to know.
3 months later, you’re lying on the bathroom floor with a few empty bottles of bottom shelf liquor. Happens all the time.
I would know. It has happened to me.
I have learned that recovery is a life-long process that requires stamina. It requires you to take your life a step at a time and not get stuck in the past or the future. It requires you to be present.
If you don’t have stamina, you may suffer the most unfortunate result of all. That is to spend your entire life being miserable.
5 – You Simply Don’t Want It
I can’t tell you have many times I have seen this happen.
Let’s pretend that you are drunk or high or in withdrawal. You are begging and pleading for help. You’re family members and loved ones are crushed from what they are witnessing. Yet, you keep on drinking.
Why would a person keep doing this to themselves? It’s actually very simple. It’s what they want to do.
I find that people almost always get what they want. If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it. We can all attest to the miraculous achievements addicts have made when they really really wanted to get high. They can turn pennies into dollars, they can find transportation, they can come up with ingenious ways to manipulate. In some ways, active drug addicts are super human. Imagine if they put that energy into their recovery. So then why don’t they?
The simple truth is that if you don’t want to get sober, you never will.
No matter how much your family begs you or how many times you get arrested, you will need to want to stay sober more than you want to drink. It’s really that simple.
It Is All Worth It
I don’t make promises. I never use the words “trust me.” If someone says those words to me, I immediately think they are lying.
But this is the one thing in life I have found to be true with absolute certainty.
If you can be honest about yourself, if you are willing to do the work, if you can be open-minded to concepts you may not understand then you can get sober. Most importantly, if you want it bad enough you can live the life that you have always wanted. It is absolutely possible, and I believe in you.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but I can promise you that anyone who has done the work will tell you that it was all worth it. I do not think anyone who has done the work will tell you that being sober is not worth the sacrifice.
These people know what it is to be completely free.