A lasting marriage, losing weight, earning a degree, saving money…it all requires commitment.
Every individual who wants a change, or something big to happen in their lives, must be committed. Without this commitment, the glue that keeps it together when things get rough, your goals will unravel and fall apart. Commitment to a goal forces us to keep heading in the direction we want to achieve the things we desire. The stronger your commitment glue is the easier it is to make choices and decisions that bring you closer to our dreams. And if your dream is sobriety and getting your life back, you first need commitment.
As a toddler, falling when we attempt to walk is the ultimate teacher because it guides us almost instinctively to make adjustments to our approach while picking us back up with new information. This new information provides us the motivation to try again. This cycle repeats itself until we take that first series of steps and then guess what, we fall again. We remain committed to getting around own our own two unsteady feet until walking becomes second nature.
Successful recovery demands the same glue, the same commitment. There are countless people who are in long term recovery that never received assistance. Their commitment to sobriety has forced them to make adjustments to their lives so that they no longer place themselves in danger.
Others have received treatment but are not receiving the benefits. They have repeated the same behaviors over and over again only to question why relapse continues to happen. Many of the things I hear from clients coming back to treatment after a relapse include, “While I was in treatment I followed my treatment plan” or “I still take medications“ or “Why do I keep relapsing?”.
Commitment to recovery is as important outside of treatment as it is inside. Recovery is not passive and cannot just happen even with the very best treatment. From a very young age we are taught to seek help from professionals whenever we have a medical problem that can’t be solved by something that comes over the counter. We then depend on a doctor to treat us and wait with anticipation for our condition to improve. Treatment for the disease of addiction can only be successful if it complements your commitment to the lessons learned in the treatment setting.
Treatment is the venue where new information can be learned and just as when we were learning to walk, this new found knowledge can give us the confidence and motivation to try again. New information is only helpful when it is applied, both inside and outside of treatment.
Commitment comes in the form of daily practice which become routine over time. Daily practices may include:
- Honesty, in letting people get to know you as a recovering addict
- A refusal to use even when the urge to do so happens (and it will)
- Attending multiple daily/weekly meetings
- Forming a connection with a sponsor
- Working steps with a sponsor
- Continuing outpatient individual and group therapy
- Working in a non-stressful, positive environment
- Living in a drug free environment with other successful recovering addicts
Daily practices also include efforts to avoid the very things that trigger cravings which decrease the chances of picking up a drink or drug. Many newly recovering addicts find it hard to even be around the beer and wine aisle at their local grocery store. Familiar neighborhoods where the recovering addict used may cause overwhelming temptation as the addict knows exactly where drugs are accessible. Many treatment programs require clients to erase the contacts on their phones as many of the people the newly recovering addict associated with were using alongside of them recently.
Simply put, commitment is the glue, the determination and desire to avoid relapse by adding the things in your your life that increase the chances of staying clean while removing the things in your life that place you in danger.
I once asked a wise young man that is a recovering addict how he was able to envision the rest of his life not having a drink or a drug. His reply to me was “I don’t know if I’ll use next year, next month, or tomorrow but I know for certain, I will not use today.” He knew the value of taking it one day at a time and breaking up the overwhelming thoughts of the future into the manageable daily reprieve, “one day at a time.” Building routines and managing self-discipline is a difficult but achievable for those who wish to change their lives for the better. But that takes commitment.
If you are ready to commit to drug or alcohol recovery visit AddictionTreatmentNetwork.com or call 1-800-601-0759