I was fortunate when I walked into the rooms of Recovery. Damn lucky, in fact. And by that, what I mean is that when I first stepped into a 12-step meeting, I was a broken, miserable soul who was desperate beyond words. Out of that misery and desperation is where my willingness came. My willingness to find a sponsor and work the steps. My willingness to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. I remember talking to someone about it who was completely taken aback. “That’s a lot of meetings!” he exclaimed. It is a lot of meetings. And a lot of newcomers balk at the idea. ‘Fuck that shit!’ they think or say. If they say it to me, I just smile at them and repeat the question I was asked: “Oh yeah? So how often did you get loaded?” “Shit, everyday. Mulitple times a day.” “Well then, why can’t you go to a meeting every day? Or multiple meetings every day for that matter?” There is no answer to that reasoning, only recalcitrant excuses. Personally, I don’t like how the courts send people to 12-step meetings. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about second chances and rehabilitation. But my experience has been that Recovery isn’t for people who need it, only for people who want it. Now I know there are old-timers among us who did not go willingly into the rooms. My sponsor is one of them. So, obviously, it works. And the statistics are pretty grim—it doesn’t seem to matter who you are or what brought you into the rooms; chances are you won’t stay. But it just seems to me that those who are desperate for change, who are desperately seeking a new way of life, those are the folks who are more likely to succeed at this Recovery thing. Who knows, maybe all that is just my own confirmation bias (meaning, it was like that for me so it seems to me like it has to be like that. Wow. Us addicts never stop being self-centered!) One thing that does seem to be true is that we have to give Recovery our all. However much we hold back from the program, that is the amount less that the program can do for us and change our lives. If we only go to meetings occasionally, when we feel like it; if we only work steps a little bit and just assume that we’ll get back to them ‘someday’, then the program is not going to change our lives very much. 90-in-90 is a great suggestion, and for a whole host of reasons. If we’re used to using every day, we need to find a different behavior to replace that habit. More than that, there is something about those very early days, the days of new sobriety. Our brains are trying to figure out how to work without the substances we’ve been putting in our bodies for god-knows how long. Our brains are literally reprogramming themselves. The more Recovery we can inject in those early days, the better off we’ll be in the long-term. The sooner we can establish a good habit of working the program, the more likely we are to keep it up. What’s the measure? How hard should we work the program? My long-time readers know that I’m not big on the ‘should’ word. But as a general guide, however much you used, that’s how hard you should work the program. Did you use every day? Then go to a meeting every day. Did you live your life loaded every second of the day? Learn how to live your life so that you’re working the program every second of the day.Give everything you have to your Recovery, and allow yourself to be amazed at where it takes you.
read more: “Giving Recovery Your All”