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How do I get started?

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The journey of a thousand miles

must begin with a single step.

- Lao Tzu

You don't ever have to use again

I had reached a point where I could not go on using.  It was either quit or die and I knew it.  The good news, they told me I didn’t ever have to use again!

Denial and Stinking Thinking

The first obstacle to overcome was my own thinking.  “Your ego is killing you,” they said.  I had used denial to hide from my drinking and drugging and that same denial was working hard to keep me from accepting the fact that I had trouble.

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems >>

If I don’t know what’s wrong, I can’t fix it.  I had to recognize that I did truly have a problem with my using.  I had to accept the idea that I had crossed a line and could never go back, that I could never pick up a drug or a drink again.  But more that realization and acceptance, I had to embrace my own brokenness, hold the idea to myself that I was an addict, that I had a fatal and lifelong disease, but it could be treated successfully, IF I applied myself.

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I don't have to wear a mask

Only in a meeting can I be totally myself.  I don’t have to wear a mask any more.  And I need a guide to help me make my way through all this recovery stuff, because, to be honest, a lot of it didn’t make much sense yet. 


That’s where finding a Sponsor comes in.  “When the student is ready,” they say, “the teacher will appear.”

Honest, Open, and Willing

I accepted the fact that my brain needed a thorough cleaning out, “a psychic change,” they said, but how to begin undoing years of broken thoughts?  Honesty first!  Without an honest look at myself, I can’t know what to work on.  Without a foundation built on honesty, everything which follows will collapse under its own weight. 

I must be open to new ideas

My old ideas had become so fixed in my mind that I clung onto them ferociously.  I had to become open to new ideas.  “Yes, but” was no longer an acceptable answer.

I needed willingness

At the start, part of me was not willing to give up my wine and cocaine, not willing to toss out all my old ideas.  I was afraid I would never have any fun again.  If I couldn’t be totally willing, they said, it would be enough if I were simply “willing to be willing.”

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Prayer and Meditation

It is never too soon to begin developing a prayer life.  As forbidding as it sounds, it is actually pretty easy. 

Like most, I had totally given up on the idea of God.  If he did exist, he had certainly given up on me.  But they kept saying that I needed a power greater than myself to get me clean and sober.  (No, a doorknob will not do!) 


At this point I would  normally have gotten up and left the room, but then they said I could pick the “God of my understanding.”  I started with the idea of unconditional love, and life got a lot simpler.