Most people who attempt to give up an addiction will fail in their attempt – some statistics put the number as high as 90%. It may take many attempts before they finally give up for good and a large number will never make it. One of the key differences between those who make a success of recovery and those who do not is willingness. If people are fully committed to creating a new life they will not relapse, and their success is guaranteed. Such individuals need not concern themselves with the depressing relapse statistics.
To say that somebody is willing implies that they will gladly perform an act without any reservations. It is something they are disposed or inclined to do. When people are willing to do something they are far more likely to put in sufficient effort or go the extra mile to make it happen. This is because they know that the outcome is going to please them. Those who feel coerced into do something may only offer a half-hearted attempt, or they may decide to sabotage the project out of spite. In order for people to be able to escape something like an addiction it is vital that they are willing participants.
When people have been coerced into getting sober they are less likely to make a success of things. They may view their time in recovery as being similar to serving a prison sentence – as soon as they feel it is permissible to do so they will return to their addiction. Some individuals can manage to stay sober for months or even years because of such coercion but most relapse as soon as they hit a bad patch in recovery. Occasionally an individual will be introduced into recovery under duress, but they later develop the willingness to succeed. In order to have the highest chance of success it is best if people are willing participants from the beginning.
The most common reason for why people relapse after a period of sobriety is that they were ambivalent towards their recovery. This means that they wanted to get sober, but they still hung onto the idea that they might one day be able to drink sensibly or use drugs safely. Such people are not willing to put everything into their recovery because they are not fully committed to it. Unfortunately half measures are usually not enough to help people build a successful life away from addiction. If people are not fully committed they will give up as soon as things become hard. In many instances the individual will just be waiting for an excuse to relapse.
To say that an individual has reservations in recovery means that they have put some limiting conditions on the process. This means that the person has a list of things they are not willing to do in order to achieve sobriety. For example, they may be unwilling to even consider attending a recovery group. The dangers of such reservations in recovery include:
* It can often be the thing that people don’t want to consider that they most need. The obvious example of this is the addict who does not view sobriety as an option worth considering.
* If people have too many reservations about their path in sobriety it will limit their options.
* Putting conditions on recovery is not a good way to approach things. It may be a sign that the individual has not yet conceded defeat in their battle against addiction.
*The addictive personality includes traits such as arrogance and closed mindedness. The goal of recovery is to get away from such unhelpful ways of interacting with the world.
* When people first become sober their thinking is likely to be still clouded. This often means that they are not in a good position to make good decisions about their future.
Those individuals who are willing to do whatever it takes in sobriety are certain to be successful. The benefits of such an approach include:
* The person with this attitude will be teachable – they don’t already think that they have all the answers.
* It shows that the individual is fully committed to their new life. They are taking things seriously and are willing to do whatever it takes to improve their life.
* The individual will usually have a beginner’s mind. This means that they won’t allow their preconceived ideas and beliefs get in the way of picking up new information.
* Those addicts who have reached a point of complete willingness to do whatever it takes to recover from addiction will often feel completely beating. This means that they do not feel ambivalent about recovery but are instead fully committed to it.
* When individuals appear fully committed to recovery they will usually find that other people are willing to do more to help them. Recovery professionals are likely to go the extra mile for those who they believe are most likely to benefit from this extra attention.
* When people are fully committed to something they are less likely to be plagued by negative thinking. Their motivation keeps them moving towards their goal and success.
* These people will make the best use of any resources available to them.
* People with this type of attitude will be fully involved in their own recovery. They will not just be waiting for other people to tell them what to do.
* They say that when the student is ready the teacher appears. By showing willingness the individual demonstrates that they are ready, and this should mean that the right people will appear in their life.
The key to success in recovery is complete willingness to do whatever it takes. The individual can develop this type of commitment by:
* Not being ambivalent about their recovery but instead accepting that a return to substance abuse is always going to be a mistake.
* Not dismissing recovery options out of hand. There are going to be recovery options that will not be suitable for the individual, but they should consider each carefully.
* The individual needs to examine their reasons for not wanting to take certain paths in recovery. Sometimes it will be the paths that appear less attractive that prove to be the most fruitful.
* They need to make recovery their number one priority in life. They should not allow anything to get in the way of sober living.
* They should develop beginner’s mind and not allow their strong opinions and beliefs to get in the way of learning new things.