Why We Need to Get Clean and Sober Effects The How
Often times within the room of Alcoholics Anonymous I hear an emphasize on the need for an understanding of why you are getting sober, but very often this talk is laced with a need to find the correct why, or a why that matches up with other’s understandings of alcoholism and addiction. As it is often stated you cannot endeavor on this journey without fully investing yourself. The saying in the big book “Half measure will avail you nothing” reflects the importance or truly dedicating yourself to getting sober.
For instance, I sometimes hear people say, you cannot get clean or sober for your children, or to keep your job or to avoid legal consequences, you can only get clean and sober for yourself. While there is some truth to these statements, because a person does need an internal desire to get sober, the other peripheral factors that lead to sobriety can be as numerous and varied as people themselves. The reality is that they can be a starting point. For me my children were the motivating factor that started me down the path to recovery. I started for them and finished for me. From my personal experience I needed an external motivator I did not care enough about myself in the beginning.
Some people’s why may indeed just be that they want to get sober for their children. I know for myself this was central to why I finally got sober. Other’s why may just be that they no longer want to feel the way they do, or they may not want to ruin their marriage any further, or they may not want to go to jail for the next ten years. But what I have found is that it is less important what the why is, and more important that you understand why you are getting sober. What I mean by this is that it doesn’t really matter what the reason for sobriety is, but just that you know why it is important for you to do so.
This has been my experience and what I have witnessed in others in my time in recovery. Those people who are not sure why they are getting sober have a much more difficult time maintaining sobriety then those who have a firm grasp on what they are doing in recovery.
Let me move this out of the abstract and into my own life to help clarify the point. When I was 17 years old I was sent to my first treatment center. It was mainly for my eating disorder, but my addiction was addressed as well. At the age of 17 I wasn’t entirely sure why I was getting sober. I didn’t really have a sufficient personal why in order to help me combat the seriousness of addiction and so even though I tried my best when I got out, I wound up back in the same situations within a few short months.
Fast forward a few years later and I am now a mother of two and hopeless addicted to drugs and alcohol. I wake up everyday with the desire to stop drinking and using, but I can’t stop. No matter how badly I want too. I wanted to stop for my children, but I hadn’t yet arrived at a sufficient why, meaning I hadn’t discovered why I needed to get sober. I still believed that I could function and that someday I would be able to drink and drug like a normal person, so I didn’t yet have the why of, I need to get sober so that I can raise my children, otherwise I am going to die.
Luckily for me, I eventually arrived at this point and had a moment of clarity in which I saw that alcoholism and addiction and my ability to continue to live, laid in direct opposition of each other. That if I continued to drink and use drugs in the manner that I was, I would be dead within a year.
So I found my why. I found that I wanted to get sober so that I could be a mother to my children so that I could finally have a chance at being happy, so that I would no longer have the feel the way I did, and so that I would have a chance at living life.
Once I had a firm grasp on this, the work, or the how I got sober, became a lot easier. Whereas in the past, before I had discovered my why, doing the work necessary to get and stay sober seemed impossible, now it seemed inevitable. It really was incredible because I remember going to AA meetings for years and never being able to fully understand what people were talking about in there. I knew that they were saying I couldn’t drink or use drugs, and I knew they were telling me that I had to find a God of some sorts, but it all seemed to fall on deaf ears. Once I found my why the things that I heard in meetings seemed to take on a new life and I could grasp just about everything that was being told to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I still kicked and screamed through most of the work, delaying my 4th and 5th Steps for some months, but even in my delay I knew that the work was going to get done, because the alternative was just too terrible for me to accept. I finally knew why I was getting sober and knowing that made all the difference in the world.
It gave me the strength to push through when I became complacent in my Step work and after completing the Steps it has given me the grounding I need when things get tough. There have been times over these past few years when a drink sounded good, but understanding why I got sober in the first place has allowed me to not have to act out on those thoughts.
If you haven’t yet found why you are getting sober then you may want to sit down and think about it. I am not sure if I was consciously aware the minute I decided to enter into recovery, or whether it came with time, but I firmly believe that you must understand why you need to be in recovery, in order to maintain your recovery.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.