Honesty, Open Mindedness, and Willingness. Willingness opens the door to possibility. If I'm not willing to try something different then I will continue to get what I've always gotten with my current knowledge and experience. I'm sure we've all heard one definition of insanity as "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". This is where the willingness to change comes in. I was told by a treatment counselor in 2001 that if I wasn't willing to get out of my current patterns of thought and actions, then, I was stuck on stupid and locked on dumb! I had to be open to new thought. And with new thought and belief comes new action. My old belief system was like an old, comfortable (but worn out) pair of shoes. I forgo buying new shoes as long as possible because my belief is that my old shoes are sufficient and adequate enough for my current situation. My thoughts tell me new shoes are awkward and take a long time to brake in. So, why be uncomfortable when I can still get some use out of my old friendly footwear? It was that same type of thinking that helped keep me stay stuck in my addiction for so long. I may have been miserable and suicidal in the depths of my addiction but I had been at it for such a long time that it had become second nature. At least I new what to expect everyday. I wanted the misery to stop but I was afraid to get sober. I was afraid of the unknown. For one thing, I didn't know how to get sober and for another, I didn't think I could stay sober. I was more secure staying in the known (no matter how despairing) than to be willing to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. An open window of opportunity arose only when the likelihood of freedom from addiction ever so slightly outweighed my tolerance of the mental and physical suffering I was enduring. In other words, the pain of staying the same got too great for just a moment in time. I listened to other recovering alcoholics and addicts tell their stories of redemption and witnessed their sobriety in action. They told stories of getting their families back, the respect of their children and a serenity that they hadn't experienced since childhood. I wanted ALL of that! So that one thought came "If they can do it, why can't I?" At that point, I became willing to get clean and sober.
Fortunately, I learned to get sober for me and not for anyone else. I'm so grateful to have learned this because I didn't get my family back like some of the other guys but I have found a piece of mind that I never had in active addiction. Don't get me wrong. Not everyday is peachy but not every day is desolate and depressing either. I know today that moods change. I either adjust to them or become a victim to them. I no longer have the option of altering my mood with chemicals to make myself "feel good" all the time. In life there is discomfort. I no longer run from it. I've learned to deal with it. And it all started with the willingness to change.
Peace, Love and Guidance...