I finally got sober after about 6 years of being in and out on in 2015. The list of reasons why this time worked against all the others is very extensive, almost everything about me had to change. One of the most important ones was learning how to be accountable. From a young age, before I even touched drugs, my word meant very little. I was king of doing what I want when I want to and vice versa. If I said I would be somewhere or do something for someone it was more likely I was going to contact you beforehand and give a half-hearted excuse as to why I had to cancel. In order for me to really experience the revolutionary change that recovery demands, I first had to make my word mean something and lay aside the stigma that addiction can bring. Actions speak so much louder than words.
Of course, the lack of accountability grew much stronger as I got older. More responsibility was being grown around me and the relationships I had with people with were stronger too. While responsibility grew, I did not. I stayed very stagnant and it became worse by tenfold when I was in the depths of my addiction. Why though? Why couldn’t I just do what I said I would do? I was a powerful example of an isolator, the comfort and twisted joy I got from being absolutely alone for most days was very unhealthy and contributed a lot to my lack of integrity. In my mid 20’s it became paramount to find a way around any commitment I may have so that I could just sit in my own sorrow and get high. Clearly, this had to be changed when I decided I truly wanted to finally get sober.
Early recovery demands doing a lot of new, uncomfortable things potentially with people you don’t know very well. It’s probably why I struggled for years before getting sober. Go to a meeting and introduce myself to new people? Meet someone I barely know at Starbucks to tell him about my life? Make a phone call to these new people every day!? It was an awful lot of new stuff for me to wrap my head around and usually I just made up excuses for so I didn’t have to do any of it. I was always told to make a relapse prevention plan and I scoffed at the idea. The result was obvious, I never stayed sober. Like I mentioned, this attempt at inpatient treatment in 2015 was different, I knew I couldn’t get away with dodging the things I was asked to do, I knew I had to walk through that uncomfortability because I saw others doing it and they in turn obtained great results, even in something as simple as calling a sponsor seemed rewarding to them.
Thank god I grew some major desperation around this time and had seen enough of what my best thinking got me, because I just did whatever I was told, my thinking had no say in it. The best realization I had in early recovery was that most of the things I feared and thought would be terrible (finding a sponsor, going to a meeting and introducing myself, making a phone call) were all so much easier than what my mind always made them up to be. Not only that but I actually felt good afterward! Imagine that! Taking steps like those are some of the most important in recovery, we need to feel some benefits of what walking through fear and uncomfortable feelings is like and once we do, we want more. Once I saw I slept better at night and felt overall better when I just did what I was supposed to do in recovery, it had a snowball effect.
I remember getting my first sober job and being terrified because my track record had been so poor in my past jobs. I was so worried I just was not built to be a reliable employee and that I would inevitably mess it up and turn back to drugs. I relayed the message to my sponsor, we talked about it for about 15 minutes and when I hung up the phone, I felt so much more ready to start that job. It’s simple things like that, things we think won’t make a difference so we just don’t do them in the first place, that made me successful this time. I was soon one of the most reliable employees there and got great satisfaction from it. When I told friends I would be somewhere or do something, I was there no matter how much my mind threw excuses at me. I dodged everyone and just got things done. Do you know what also happened? I began to be proud of myself, love myself, get excited about life. With accountability, I began step-work, got a home group, a commitment at the homegroup. Everything I was told to do for so long, I finally did, and the results were incredible.