On Page 58 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous there is a sentence that is as follows:
“If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to take certain steps…”
It took me five years of drinking and drugging and then twelve more years beyond that of white knuckling this disease with other addictions before I decided I wanted what everyone else had in the recovery rooms. Unfortunately, I wasn’t willing to go to any length to get what they had, so a portion of me continued to have my self-will run riot even as I tried to do the steps. The result was that I didn’t get very far in them nor did I seem to get any better. More often than not, I grew even sicker. Five years later, I became willing to climb Mount Everest if that’s what I needed to do, just to get what everyone else was raving about at every single meeting I attended.
Being willing to go to any length is absolutely, positively, 100% necessary in a person’s recovery, if they wish to get the full benefits from it. What’s funny is that most people who were active in any type of addiction usually were at some point willing to go to whatever length they needed to, just to get their fix, whatever that fix was. In my case, for way too long, I was willing to do what I needed to get drunk, or high, or laid, or gamble, or whatever it was I was always falling prey to. When I found the meeting rooms for different forms of recovery from any of those addictions, I initially balked at the statement of being fully willing to go to any lengths. I wanted my recovery to be handed to me on a silver platter and didn’t really want to stop doing the seeking of those quick fixes and quick highs that I was still doing throughout my life. It took me getting a lot more broken before I became FULLY willing to do whatever it would take to find true recovery from ALL of my addictions.
And when I became FULLY willing, it meant taking drastic measures in my life. I eliminated toxic friendships. I was completely thorough in my written step work. I began attending meetings on most days and developed a much better relationship with my sponsor. I volunteered both in the recovery rooms and outside of them as well. And I started spending more time in meditation and prayer to help me develop a stronger relationship with God. All of this has helped me to make much better decisions than the ones I used to make. It’s even helped me to find energy to do my recovery work during those times when I’m completely exhausted like I was today.
In a nutshell that exhaustion came from being on the highway today for over 13 hours as I drove back from my partner’s home. Most other people after a drive like that, would probably have gone home, eaten a little something, and headed to bed. The old me, the one that acted out in too many addictions, would have probably gone home and eaten some totally unhealthy fast food, looked at some internet porn, and avoided prayer as I went to bed. The new me arrived back in the town I’m living in and met with my sponsee to go through the next chapter we had left off last in our step work together. Upon completion of that, I went home and proceeded to clean up some areas of the house which had been slightly torn apart by my roommate in my absence. My evening is now ending with me making sure I continue to write at least one blog entry per day which is a goal I set for myself when I began this writing endeavor earlier in the year. And finally, I will end my day by writing in my grateful God journal and meditating for 30 minutes before falling asleep.
Some might say that this is going to just too many lengths. Well I can safely say in my case, it’s not because the last thing I desire right now is to act out in any addiction or do anything unhealthy. When I used to not go to these types of lengths, I couldn’t say as much. The bottom line is that I don’t ever want to go back to that addiction based life. If it means me dedicating myself even after an exhausting drive, then so be it. I actually feel pretty spiritually good inside because of all the work I did and thankfully, I’m much better than I was yesterday when I was felt nothing more than doom and gloom. I look forward now to resting my head on my pillow tonight knowing my relationship with God and my recovery is still intact and maybe even a little stronger too. Doesn’t that make it seem like going to any lengths is probably a good thing to do? I’d say so.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson