There can sometimes be a huge misconception about sobriety that many newly recovering addicts and alcoholics may be bummed to learn about. Interested? The saying that “you will live a life beyond your wildest dreams” doesn’t happen overnight, and it isn’t referring to being rich and famous. While the saying does eventually play out, it only does so with constant work and effort of the 12 steps. Life shows up for all of us, and the only way to keep your cool is to do the work.
Sobriety is Easy for Us
It’s easy for us, in the beginning, to think that simply because we stop getting high or drinking for 3 days or 3 months that the world should owe us something. We tend to think that a job should now fall into our lap and our families should be eager to talk to us again as if the years and years of pain we caused are washed away because we stopped using for a period of time. We want our jobs to forgive us or our significant other to take us back. The courts should let us off easy for the home invasion we committed and consistent drug possession charges.
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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the world we imagine in our minds doesn’t fall into our laps once we decide to get sober. Getting sober is simply the start. Real life is going to show up, and first, we must learn how to live without drugs and alcohol.
I personally made several efforts to get sober and something that kept taking me back out was running into normal, everyday life problems. Not getting the job or pay that I thought I deserved, the object of my desires still wasn’t responding to my texts, my family still wouldn’t answer my phone calls, etc. So off I went, taking my will back, proclaiming that the world is horrible and out to get me, and eventually, I would use again.
Every relapse I faced, I dug myself into still deeper holes. The real issue was that I wasn’t putting in any work to achieve the things I wanted. I wasn’t working on myself. I wasn’t helping others. When I got sober this time around (the longest I’ve ever had) the relationship I was in with “the person of my dreams” ended in my first week of sobriety. My family wouldn’t answer my calls, I worked a job making less than $200 a week, and lived in a notoriously horrible halfway house because it was all I could afford.
I wouldn’t say I was living a life beyond my wildest dreams, but getting high wasn’t going to make any of those things change. Being a good little addict and alcoholic that I was, the first thing I wanted to do when life wasn’t going my way, was to go back to what I knew was comfortable.
My Keys for Sobriety
The key for me to stay sober was to listen to the people who had gone through the same trials and tribulations before me. Instead of trying to run my own life, I listened for once. I got serious and started doing step work with another alcoholic. I had no expectations other than knowing that I wanted my life to improve and I believed that what other people were telling me was true. I did constant footwork day in and day out to maintain my sobriety.
As the people before me had promised, in sobriety my life began to improve. Within a matter of months, I was able to get an apartment and work a job I enjoyed. Many months later, I was even able to get a dog and take care of it. But the world still didn’t always work out the way I had planned it in my head. There will always be troubles in your work area, relationships, with your family, finances, and even within yourself. At a point in my sobriety, with almost a year sober, I was in the process of moving, and the apartment I was supposed to move into went belly up. At a year sober, I found myself homeless with nowhere to live. At this point, I could have cursed the people who said things would improve in my life and I could have stopped doing the things I had been doing for so long that had kept me sober. But my thinking went in a different direction. Instead of writing off the program of recovery and the 12 steps, I helped other alcoholics even more. I was able to share my story with others about how I got clean and sober, and life still shows up. In the meantime, I was able to crash on couches of sober supports, the fellowship kept me safe.
Listen, bad things still happen, but we can and will get through anything that comes our way because of the 12 steps. See, one thing you do almost immediately in the 12 steps is to give up your will to a power greater than yourself (Step 3). The way my life had been working out on my own will was leading me nowhere. I was always a firm believer that things happen for a reason and my higher power has a bigger plan for me. Sometimes I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m not sure where the road may be taking me, but I trust that wherever it may be going, it’s right.
Step 11 says “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” We as alcoholics must constantly be trying to grow closer to our higher power. We must always remain in contact with Him and let Him pave our path. Not only did I have a higher power to trust in and pray to in rough times, I also had real friends within the program that cared about my well-being. Friends that I could go to for help and they would answer the phone at all hours. Within the steps, we learn to not let our fears control our lives.
We embrace change – Embrace the uncomfortability of the unknown.
We live in the present and let our higher power run the show.
Life shows up. Friends pass away. Relationships end. Financial hardships happen. Things will always and forever be subject to change. In my time in the program, I have come to understand what people meant when they say “life beyond your wildest dreams.” It’s not a house on the beach or having a brand new Maserati. It’s nothing material at all. My understanding of life beyond my wildest dreams was the peace and serenity I received from my program. The ability to “deal with life on life’s terms.” Life shows up and times can get tough. Now we are just armed with the tools we need in order to face it.
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Freedom From Addiction
If you have found yourself suffering in addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. We give you the jump start to recovery as well as teach relapse prevention including learning healthy outlets in sobriety . Our program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-877-959-7271 today.