Only Those Who Are Truly Desperate…

It is said that only those who are truly desperate will ever end up doing the entire 12 Step recovery process from beginning to end. Desperate for what you may ask? Desperate for a new way of life.

I asked my best friend a few weeks ago, how many sponsees of his have fully completed the entire 12 Step recovery process in his almost 28 years of sobriety. He guessed somewhere between 20 to 30, which is out of what I’d say is well over 500 people by now that he’s ever sponsored. Personally, I’ve sponsored well over 100 individuals now myself in the years I’ve been doing this 12 Step recovery process, and can count on two hands the number of people who’ve actually completed the work.

I provide these unsettling statistics because most really aren’t desperate enough to finish the 12 Step recovery process after a few months of sobriety and stability get under their belt. The sad reality is that most individuals when they first make their way into the rooms of recovery are only desperate until whatever drove them into the rooms gets resolved or calms down enough for them to start focusing their energy elsewhere.

Quite recently, I had to let a sponsee go for this reason. They started out in total desperation with a desire to do this 12 Step recovery process and for the first three to four months, they proved that week in and week. At some point though, their work, relationship, family, a new home, and more began to take higher precedence, all of which ironically were in dire jeopardy of being lost when they started out with me. But, once those things no longer seemed to be in serious jeopardy and once their life began to feel far more stable, I watched as they slowly pushed the step work aside more and more. After several months went by with no real progress being made on their step work and constant promises that they’ll eventually get it done, I realized I could no longer be held hostage when so many others were still out there desperate for a solution.

When I first came to 12 Step recovery, I was 100% desperate for a solution. When a woman saw that fire in my eyes, she took me under her wing and brought me through the 12 Step recovery process. And even when my life started to get calmer and more stable, I clearly remembered how desperate my life was before the work, so I stuck with it and that desperation is precisely what powered me through to the end of the work.

I’ve learned in all the years since, that being desperate truly is the key to doing the 12 Step recovery work and sticking with it till the end. That’s why I had to cut my sponsee loose because they no longer were desperate enough to be driven to do this work and instead, were making excuses to getting it done.

The fact is, it’s desperation that drives a person to do just about anything. But when life provides a person the things they desire, like a good job with good pay, a great partner, a wonderful family, a beautiful home, etc., there begins to not be the need for the 12 Step recovery process, because it’s then that feeling of desperation starts to go away. I know this oh so well because I spent the first twelve years of my sobriety having everything I wanted in life and thus never feeling desperate enough to do the 12 Step recovery process. It was only after I lost a seven-year relationship, a business, my mental and emotional health, and my home, that I became desperate enough for this work. And when life started to get better again for me, because it eventually did, I didn’t lose that feeling of desperation, because I forced myself to constantly remember all the pain I had gone through prior. For those who aren’t desperate enough to complete the 12 Step recovery process though, the tragic reality is that they tend to relapse. Why? Because they start believing their life is more important than their recovery, which is the very thing that leads them away from this work. But, my door always remains open for those who are desperate.

What does desperation look like? Well, sometimes, it looks like a person knocking on my front door at 11:30pm on a weeknight, where I welcome a person into my kitchen with a fresh cup of coffee and a shoulder to lean on while they cry. I only wish when that type of desperation comes, that I could bottle it up, so it could be returned when things get better for them, to help remind the person how bad it once was.

Nevertheless, the 12 Step recovery process is ultimately only for those who are totally desperate, desperate for a new way of life, and desperate enough to stick around, even when life begins to get better. Because it always does, and when it does, it’s those who hold onto that desperation that tend to make it through, and I thank God for each of them, for I wouldn’t be here doing what I do today, even right here in this blog, if it wasn’t for them…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A soldier was stationed abroad and received a “Dear John” letter from his girlfriend back home. It read: “Dear Dave, I can no longer continue our relationship. The distance between us is just too great. I must admit that I have cheated twice, since you’ve been gone, and it’s not fair to either of us. I’m sorry. Please return the picture of me that I sent you. Love, Kim.” The soldier, with hurt feelings, asked his fellow soldiers for any snapshots they could spare of their girlfriends, sisters, ex-girlfriends, aunts, cousins, etc. In addition to the picture of Kim, Dave included all the other pictures of pretty girls he had collected from his buddies. There were 43 photos in the envelope along with a note that read: “Dear Kim, I’m so sorry but I can’t remember who you are. Please take your picture from the pile, and send the rest back to me. Take care, Dave.”

Silly Joke #2

A couple return from their honeymoon and it’s obvious to everyone that they are not talking to each other. The groom’s best man takes him aside and asks what is wrong. “Well,” replied the man, “when we had finished making love on the first night, as I got up to go to the bathroom I put a $50 bill on the pillow without thinking.” “Oh, you shouldn’t worry about that too much,” said his friend, “I’m sure your wife will get over it soon enough – she can’t expect you to have been saving yourself all these years!” The groom nodded gently and said, “I don’t know if I can get over it though, she gave me $20 change.”

Silly Joke #3

The manager of a large office noticed a new man one day and told him to come into his office. “What’s your name?” he asked the new guy. “John,” the new guy replied. The manager scowled, “Look… I don’t know what kind of a namby-pamby place you worked before, but I don’t call anyone by their first name. It breeds familiarity and that leads to a breakdown in authority. I refer to my employees by their last name only … Smith, Jones, Baker … That’s all. I am to be referred to only as Mr. Robertson. Now that we got that straight, what is your last name?” The new guy sighed, “Darling. My name is John Darling.” “Okay John, the next thing I want to tell you is . . . ”

Bonus Silly Joke

A father and his son go into the grocery store when they happen upon the condom aisle. The son asks his father why there are so many different boxes of condoms. The father replies, ”Well, you see that 3-pack? That’s for when you’re in high school. You have 2 for Friday night and 1 for Saturday night.” The son then asks his father, ”What’s the 6-pack for?” The father replies, ”Well, that’s for when you’re in college. You have 2 for Friday night, 2 for Saturday night, and 2 for Sunday morning.” Then the son asks his father what the 12-pack is for. The father replies, ”Well, that’s for when you’re married. You have one for January, one for February, one for March, one for…..”

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Alcoholism is an incurable disease. You will have it for life once you suffer from it. Just like one can turn a pickle back into a cucumber, you can’t turn an alcoholic back into a normal drinker…ever. You can only put their disease into remission.” (Anonymous)

Quote #2

“It always seemed to me that everybody drinks alcohol, but once I stopped, I realized that lots of other people weren’t drinking either.” (Anonymous)

Quote #3

“Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness.” (Anonymous)


Bonus Quote

“Drinking alcohol in moderation equates to one or two alcoholic drinks per day for men and one for women.” (American Heart Association)

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson