“If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.”
– Alcoholics Anonymous. Page 58
Whether you attend AA meetings or not, the key thing to take away from this quote is “willing to go to any length to get it.” Get what exactly?
Sobriety. A better life. Happiness.
The alcoholics and addicts who are not willing to go to any length are the ones who inevitably don’t succeed in staying sober. Lots of people who suffer from addiction have hit bottom and that bottom may give them the willingness to go to any length to change.
But if they also believe they can find an “easier, softer way,” they’re not truly willing to go any length. When they resist the methods that have worked for others, or they stubbornly cling to remnants of their former selves, they’re showing that they have a limit on what they’re willing to do. If they have a limit, how badly do they really want it?
What Kind Of Willingness Does It Take??
When I first got sober, a man came and spoke in my treatment. I was still very new and a lot of what these people were telling me seemed very strange.
The topic of willingness came up.
I was having trouble with it because in my mind, of course I was willing. I was in rehab wasn’t I? I didn’t really comprehend at that time the lifelong battle that stood in front of me.
One of the counselors came in and explained to me what willingness in sobriety really meant.
Let us imagine…
You are in active addiction. You are really running hard. However, you are all out of drugs. Your dealer is out of town and you have no way to pick up for at least the next month. By this time, you are kicking really hard. The withdrawals are tough. You are sick. You are desperate. What are you going to do?
A friend calls you and tells you about a free bag of drugs. It is a big bag. It’s a MAGICAL bag, one that never stops supplying. This is amazing news. Your whole life problem is solved. All you have to do is get to this bag and you will have all you need to last you a lifetime! But there is a problem.
The problem is that you have to find a way to get it.
The bag is 1000 miles away. You have no car. It is pouring rain. It is freezing cold. Somehow you have to find a way to get to this bag.
Imagine, what would you be willing to do in this moment?
Putting That Willingness In The Right Place
If it were me. I would find a way.
I would walk. I would hitchhike. I would ride a bicycle if I had to. I would find a way to get to that endless supply. There is no doubt in my mind that I would be willing to do whatever it took.
We know that this scenario is completely made up. It is imaginary. But when I think about it, I can think of really difficult challenges I needed to solve in order to get high. I could find ways across the city. I could turn $5 into $50. I would beg and borrow and work for hours just to get that one little high.
Now imagine for one second what would happen if you dedicated that kind of willingness towards your recovery. Imagine how quickly your life would improve if you put all of that energy into something positive. The change would be dramatic.
Not to mention, you are using this willingness towards things that are positive. You are actively participating in making your life better.
Doing Whatever It Takes When The Going Gets Tough
It is easy to have willingness when life is running smoothly.
If the bills are paid and the relationships are healthy, then getting out of bed in the morning seems to be enjoyable. You are able to greet each day with confidence and gratitude.
Inevitably, life will throw challenges at you. This is where your willingness really counts.
Are you willing to work through your pain without picking up? Are you willing to do whatever it takes? Only you can answer this question for yourself. Regardless of what you tell yourself, your willingness is proven by your actions. You can only prove your willingness through taking the action to do what needs to be done.
No matter how bad life hurts you, you mustn’t let it defeat you. You must continue to get up, dress up and show up – even when you don’t want to.
That’s what it is about. Pushing through pain is the ultimate test of willingness. Everyone is willing when things are going well. It’s when things aren’t going well that you will find out how much you really want to stay sober. When things aren’t going well is when you find out what you are really made out of.
You Can Do This
I know you can!
If you are in pain, if you are living in your addiction I believe that you can get out of it. I believe that you have everything you need. The first step is asking for help.
When things aren’t going well for me I tell myself that it might not be easy, but it is going to be worth it. Continue to fight. Continue to help other people. Continue to share yourself with the people who care about you and let other people know what is going on in your life.
If you can do this and if you continue to do this on a regular basis then you can and will stay sober.
Simple… not always easy.
You must be willing to do whatever it takes. Your dedication will pay off. I promise.
Just keep moving forward, one day at a time. Keep doing the next right thing. Keep getting out of bed and show up when you say you will. If you do this, you will stay sober and you will live a happy peaceful life.
What more could you ask for?