There are many reasons and causes that lead someone finally into a recovery program for addiction or alcoholism.  It may be legal issues, health crises, a family intervention, depression, impending relationship breakup, a personal epiphany that ‘something’ needs to change in one’s life – all of these are quite familiar to any of us that have started the first stages of recovery.  To gloss over the intense pain that proceeds this distinct moment in one’s life would be a real injustice. There is so much damage and hurt that occurs before an individual begins to abstain from their substance of choice – personal suffering and, equally as important, the suffering of those around us as well as innocent people who may have been physically injured as a result of ‘our’ addiction.  Remember, there are real, justified reasons why the police want to get drunk or impaired drivers off the road.  In fact, consider yourself lucky if you do indeed get arrested before harming others or yourself.

Directly prior to beginning recovery, there are multiple facets of our life which are squeezed into a powerful vortex of experience that cannot and will not be forgotten.  And, as we enter recovery and start doing the hourly and daily work of trying to physically, mentally and spiritually change our lives one day at a time we initially face immense struggles.  There is intense withdrawal and cravings, there is powerful guilt and remorse, we awaken gradually to the harm we have caused, we may be in economic peril.  This list is extensive, to say the least - but, not insurmountable. 

I do want ‘outsiders’ – people who have never experienced addiction or alcoholism, even perhaps in their own families – to at least be aware of this trying period for those in recovery.  I am not asking for anyone to just forgive people for what they have done, but there is still so much ignorance and prejudice when it comes to this issue of addiction.  Let’s face this one fact of reality folks, in the world today addiction and alcoholism are highly prevalent and there are reasons for it, personal and universal. Alcoholism and addiction crosses all boundaries – it isn’t just the poor, haggard person we see walking down a back street carrying a brown paper bag. This individual is just as important and vital as are the highly successful people in the world today that suffer from the throes of addiction. All of these people are human beings, a creation of God, and they need help.

We are fortunate in this day and age, however, that there are excellent programs, counselors, therapists, prescribed, safe medications and individuals that are there to help us.  We have grown a lot as a society since the remarkable Big Book was introduced to the public.  A person can find and receive help – today, this day, this hour, even this very minute.  Tremendous assistance can be a simple phone call away and it is vital to know this.  Help is there, right now for anyone that has the courage to change their life.

But, despite all the facilities and support at one’s disposal to get away from the harmful effects of drugs or alcohol, somewhere within, there must be that inner decision to quit and begin recovery.  I would very much like to see in the near future a world in which a person finds and receives help long before the point of real hell ensues.  One does not have to hit ‘rock bottom’ in order to begin recovery. With greater societal acceptance and awareness of the extent of alcohol and drug addiction in our world today, hopefully, more people will receive the treatment they desperately need – sooner rather than later.

However, unfortunately, there is one important obstacle to get over – ourselves.  The treacherous and deceiving aspects of addiction wants us to hide and do one thing – preserve our obsessive use of drugs and/or alcohol.  There are so many people I have witnessed over the years that do not think that they even have a problem.  Denial is another powerful and sinister force inherent in these substances.  So, if somehow, someway, a person finds their way into a recovery program, congratulations.  You have been given a chance to completely change your life.  I think back at how the very thought of going a day without a drink seemed impossible.  This very thought created deep anxiety – again, the addiction speaks loud and clear at this perilous beginning stage when the real work begins. 

And now, I cannot imagine desiring to ever drink again, not this moment, not tomorrow.  My blog is about Unconditional Recovery and one of the key premises I will continually address is that not only is someone giving up their substance of choice and the perils their use entailed, but that they can open a new door and discover and gain a new life, a considerably better, happier, healthier and fulfilling life.  But, to get to this point, one must do the hard, daily, sometimes hourly, work. I practice an entire lifestyle I call healthy sobriety and I attend meetings, assist others in their recovery, practice the 12 Steps, and do my deep breathing, exercise, yoga, etc. every day -- and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. It has become a wonderful way to live.

Now, let me make this very clear and to the point.  There is one important and vital factor for successful recovery – it is you.  You must ultimately decide to change your life. This inner resolve must become firmly established within your mind, body and soul. No other person, group or system can do this for you.  It must come from you and it takes courage and determination.  No one is fated to live under the tyranny of addiction and alcoholism.  So many people have turned their lives around and the fellowship and love that is discovered when one enters onto the path of recovery is simply remarkable. Decide today to free yourself.  Determine today to continue unconditionally on the path of recovery. Despite anything you have done during your addiction, give this gift to yourself. The gift of recovery can be bestowed at any moment. You may be waking up at home, on the side of the street, in a hospital or a jail cell, but you have the freedom and the ability to choose Unconditional Recovery. It's a human choice, it's a loving choice, it's the right choice. 




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