It’s easy for an addict to say something like, ‘I’m an addict’ or ‘I’m addicted to…‘ whatever. They may say it, but it’s only lip service and not enough to produce change. They don’t really accept it down in their soul. They don’t accept it wholeheartedly, and so somewhere down the road there will be doubt, a moment when they think ‘I can do just one hit’ or ‘I can have just one drink.’ The problem is, they never really accepted that they can’t do just one. They don’t make the connection that it just leads them to the same place they were before. Just because you’re a drug addict doesn’t mean you can drink, and vice versa. If you substitute your drug of choice for another, all you are really doing is formulating a new strategy to practice old behaviors which is the opposite of real change.
The key is to accept who you are, and what your limits are. Look at how you use and compare it to “normal” people you will notice a difference. Be honest with yourself too. The goal is to change, to be sober and clean, while living a happy and productive life, but that can’t happen until you can be honest with yourself. That leads right into the next step, and that is to believe.
Be honest, look at your life while using, something is lacking, right? It could your job, relationships, or happiness in general. You need to have the genuine belief that life can and will get better, that you can change, or else it will never happen. It’s less of a religious idea and more of a spiritual one. Believing in a power greater than one’s self, and knowing things can get better.
The number one argument for this step is “if I can’t see it, how can I know it’s real?” Well, you may not be able to physically see it, but you can see the change. Just like the wind, you can’t see it blowing but you can see the trees move when it does. Think about the times when you were using, when things were out of your control. Think about how someone can overdose once and die and others can overdose multiple times and live. There is a higher power or a power greater than one’s self.
Every level of addiction eventually gets worse. You might be at the top, with a family, a good job, and a successful life. You could also be at the bottom with nothing, or anywhere in between. It’s not until people lose something that they realize they have a problem. You need to believe that there is a better way to live.
Once you accept your problem and believe that there is a better way to live, the final step is to make the necessary change to obtain that better life. This is by far the hardest to accomplish. We are creatures of habit, and that’s the case even more so for addicts. Changing is not only a lot of work, it is also a trip into the unknown. Sometimes it’s just the fear of the unknown that keeps addicts using.
Opening to new things is scary, but it’s needed to really heal and change. Once you go out and do the new things though, they aren’t new anymore and it becomes easier. Doing new things can be uncomfortable because they are new. In recovery they basically take away your best friend, your drug. Now you have to find something else to fill the void inside you. Once you accomplish this you have a chance to become who you want to be. When you are in a good place, your life becomes far more than your next drink or drug.