One of the oldest sayings an individual often hears in any 12 Step program says that a person must be willing to go to any length to get recovery from their addiction. Unfortunately, that frequently ends up not being the case for far too many of the people who hear it. Instead, what generally happens to them is that they’re only willing to go to convenient lengths to get it.
Before I provide some examples of what those convenient lengths look like in recovery, it’s probably best to explain something first. When a person such as myself is actively addicted to anything, there’s no obstacle that ever gets in my way to acquiring it. I can remember countless blizzards and other treacherous weather conditions where I went out looking for alcohol and drug fixes. I also can remember going into the wee hours of many mornings on my computer ignoring my need for sleep, while looking at one pornographic image or video after another. And I can even remember those times when my bills were piling up and yet I was spending dollar after dollar gambling, shopping, or going on vacations.
For whatever the reason, many don’t follow the same drive once they find recovery. Instead, they cut corners like I once did. Here are some examples of what that looks like:
1. People told me to pray on my knees and get humble every morning and night in recovery. I always started out that way until I began making excuses to myself as to why I didn’t have to do that. I’d tell myself that it wasn’t written anywhere requiring me to do that. I’d say I was too tired, or too much in pain, or I’d find some other trivial excuse. Eventually, all of those excuses led me to forgetting to pray or just choosing to not pray at all.
2. People told me to get to recovery meetings as often as I could. I always started out attending at least one each day. But as time moved forward, attending seven of those a week became more like one a week. That’s only because I began making those same excuses to myself saying I was too tired, too much in pain, or of all things, even blaming the weather or some other lame excuse that would never have stopped me in the past from acquiring some addiction fix.
3. People told me to keep my phone off during recovery meetings and pay attention. I always started out that way until I began making everything else more important in my life than to who was actually speaking at each of those meetings. I became more concerned with texting someone I felt I had to text or e-mailing a person I felt I had to e-mail. Eventually that led to me using meeting times to surf the web on my phone.
4. People told me to call my sponsor in recovery each and every day to check in, even if it was just for a minute or two. Early on I did that until I allowed my life to start consuming me. It’s then that I became too busy or too involved with things and quickly placed those phone check-ins as an optional task in life. Being too tired or feeling sick were common excuses here too. Eventually I would stop calling my sponsor pretty much altogether.
I could go on and on and on with the amount of things that were suggested of me in all of my recovery programs that I continuously let slide to the wayside. In every case, it was always due to the same thing. I was only willing to go to convenient lengths in my recovery, unlike how I was in my quest to get that addiction fix of any sort.
If you want those promises to come true that are read in just about ever type of recovery meeting for any addiction, then you really need to know just one thing. You MUST be willing to go to ANY length to get full recovery. Convenient lengths will get you only a convenient recovery. And that convenient recovery will last for only so long before you’re back out seeking your addiction again. I should know as it took me close to sixteen years of time in sobriety to figure that out.
So take it from a guy like me who banged my head against the wall more times than I can count. Being only willing to go to convenient lengths and making those excuses to avoid those simple suggestions did nothing more for me than lead me back down a dead-end addiction-prone path. The only way I ever found full recovery from all addictions and a strong relationship to my Higher Power (God), was to become willing to go to any lengths to get it. Hopefully now, you’ll be more willing to go to ANY length to get it for yourself…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson