HOW do I get started?

Yes, I have a problem

“… acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. 

 

"When I am disturbed, it is because some person, place, thing or situation—some fact of my life—is unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

 

  Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. 

 

Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. 

 

I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.”

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.

Everything you think you know about living is wrong >>

I was unaware that my thinking had become so terribly twisted and distorted.  Certainly all my moral values and spirituality had been cast aside. They said “Everything you think you know about living is wrong.”  If I was going to get anywhere, I had to shut up and listen.  I had to take the cotton out of my ears and put it in my mouth.

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.

 

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.”

Go to meetings and find a Sponsor

At the beginning I needed constant support and encouragement to make it from one day to the next.  The ONLY place I can find this “spiritual” support is in an AA or NA meeting.  And this support is only good for one day at a time.  So, I needed at least “90 in 90.” 

 

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.”

 

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.

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The Problem is Addiction

The Answer is Recovery

Text and original photos copyright 2017-2018 by Linville M. Meadows