By Jay Bartels
Rule # 1- Forget Will Power, Your will is what got you where you are!
Our addictions are such a powerful and relentless force that no one person can conquer it on their own. As soon as we accept this fact, and believe me it is a proven fact, then we have given our selves a realistic chance of finding recovery and overcoming the bondage of self will. If we try to kid ourselves into thinking that we can kick our addiction with our own will power then we will remain sick in our disease and continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, never remaining clean for any substantial amount of time. It is essential to realize that it is “our own will” that led us to our addiction and our own will that kept us suffering. Left up to us we will continually search for different ways to use “successfully”, but this is nothing more than an illusion. This is the voice of our disease speaking to our weakness, telling us we don’t have a problem or we need our drugs just to function or “stay level”. Our disease wants to keep us sick; it is far to powerful for us to try to fight it alone. It takes us from our family’s, our friends, and in many cases it is so powerful it even takes us from our children. Who in their right mind would give up the ones they love so very much over drugs, alcohol or any addiction? The answer is simple: nobody in his or her right mind would. When we are sick in our addictions however, we are far from being in our right mind; in fact our mind is no longer controlled by us, but by our addictions. The drugs are calling all the shots; they rule our day, our thoughts, and our every decision. We are not in control of our lives and we are caught up in an endless circle of sickness and despair. Surrender your will and miracles will begin to happen, I can promise you that first hand.
Rule # 2- You don’t have to do this alone. There are people who want to help you!
Our disease wants us to think we are alone, but we are not alone at all in reality, there are millions of addicts just like us and we need each other to beat this horrible existence. Millions of addicts have found recovery and they live wonderfully happy lives today. Don’t dare believe the old cliché, “once an addict, always an addict”. The lie is dead, and I for one am a living example. My life today is full of blessings and true happiness. There is so much help available to us from other addicts who have found recovery and new lives for them selves, and they dedicate their lives to helping addicts who still suffer. That’s one of the major ways that we stay clean, by giving to others what was given so freely to us. There are 12 step meetings everywhere you look, all hours of the day, every day of the week. At these meetings you will find others who once felt hopeless, but now are free. There is a loving code of acceptance to all who seek their help and desire freedom from their addiction. People who understand us and love us unconditionally, without judgment. Who better to help an addict than another addict who has been in his shoes and found the beautiful light at the end of the tunnel known as Recovery? No matter how bad you think your problem is or how low your addiction has taken you, there will always be addicts who were worse off then you, felt more hopeless than you, yet found serenity and sobriety just like you are about to.
Rule # 3- We must chase our recovery as strongly as we chased our next high!
When we needed our drugs we did whatever it took to get them. Now it is time to do whatever it takes to free ourselves from the bondage of our addictions. We must take that same intensity and perseverance and turn the tables on our addiction. Just as nothing stood in the way of our pursuit of our next high, nothing can stand in the way of our recovery and ultimate happiness. We need to change everything. We can no longer associate with the same people who were part of our old addicted lives. If we want to be healthy then we must not spend time with those who choose to stay sick. We can no longer visit the places that were part of our old addicted lives. We must leave them behind if we are to move ahead, no exceptions. And finally, we must change the things that we use to do when we were still sick in our addiction. We have no business being in clubs, bars, or any place that triggered our addiction. Everything changes for the better, but we better change everything from our sick addicted days first. Holding on to reservations is a sure recipe for relapse and even more suffering then before. If we want our lives back bad enough then we are going to have to fight for it. That’s what this is all about, fighting for our lives, our freedom, our loved ones, and our happiness. This is one battle that is worth every bit of the fight! It’s time to live, rather than just exist. I fought this battle and I was victorious, you will find the same wonderful results if you’re truly sick and tired of living your life in chains.
Rule # 4- Work The 12 Steps! – The Secret to Staying Clean
It’s a wonderful feeling when we are clean for awhile and we begin to reap the rewards and blessings from our victory over our addiction, but the journey is just beginning and we must take certain steps to keep our new freedom that we have fought so very hard for. We must understand that even though we have given up the drugs we will always be in recovery. Don’t take this as a bad thing because it is actually an opportunity for us to learn how to truly live our lives to the fullest. It is a continuing education that helps us to grow and leads us down a path to serenity and inner peace. The 12 steps are a guide designed by those who came before us and outlined the steps they took to not online find freedom from active addiction but to ensure that we never have to go back to our old lives. Getting clean was one thing, but staying clean is our ultimate goal. We never have to go back to our old lives of self-destruction and despair again. By working these steps, attending 12 step meetings, and helping other addicts who are still suffering, we give ourselves the tools we need to fix any problem in our lives without the use of drugs. This is not an option, for this is the one proven path that will lead us to a lifetime of freedom and an abundance of rewards.
Rule # 5- Always Keep Your Gratitude! A grateful addict will never use!
Always remember where you were, all the horrible places your addiction took you. Remain humble and put your ego aside. Your gratitude will keep you clean! Your ego will send you back to the pit you once dwelled in. Never believe that you have your addiction licked, this is a disastrous invitation for relapse. Always remember what your life was like during your active addiction. Keep it very green no matter how long you have been clean. Never lose sight of your gratitude. By helping others in need we stay clean ourselves. We are reminded of where we once were and we remain grateful for our deliverance from our suffering and hopelessness. A grateful addict will never use! Life is yours for the taking, so take your new life and find your true happiness.
Jay Bartels is the author of many human interest stories. Jay’s own story of hope and inspiration can be found on his highly resourceful family sites. Jay is a single father raising two young girls and shares his experiences in several journals that can be found on his web sites. If you would like to contact Jay, he will be happy to accept your email to him at BOCABOYJAY@aol.com
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