Even when we know that our addictions have gotten the best of us, we usually have several reasons for believing that we are better off in the throes of alcoholism and addiction than we would be in recovery. We convince ourselves that it helps us think more clearly, or that we perform better in our physical tasks when we have had a drink or a toke or two. But this is generally just flawed logic, used to keep us from changing our routine. The fact of the matter is that our reservations will sink us more often than not if we allow them to do so.
Putting our reservations aside and letting sobriety run its course may seem like an arduous task, but the truth is that little more is required than simple reasoning. In other words, we will often see upon further inspection that letting go of our reservations will put us in line with the tasks we have always wished to accomplish. If we always wanted to make more money, then we might have a better chance at doing so once we have put aside our reservations and embraced a life of recovery. The same goes for better grades, better family relationships, and other goals that may be tying us to our addictions. We think that we excel at these things while in an altered state of consciousness, but this is pure self-deception.
The good thing about these reservations is that it will usually not be too difficult to let go of them if we are willing to put forth the effort. All we have to do is realize that they are based upon falsities, then replace them with a more honest assessment of the truth. If we are willing to do these things, then our sobriety—and our lives overall—will be greatly improved.
Letting Go Of Our Reservations
Our reservations are usually based upon denial, a set of false beliefs formed for the purpose of keeping ourselves in the dark in regard to aspects of our true nature which we would rather ignore. We may convince ourselves, for instance, that we are actually better people when we are under the lashes of drugs and alcohol. We convince ourselves that our addictions keep us more in tune with our emotions, or that they make us perform better at our jobs. We may even convince ourselves that the better things we have in life would not be ours if not for these aspects of our being.
These are false thoughts, and must be dealt with if we are ever able to make a true attempt at recovery. What we so often fail to realize is that, despite the lies we tell ourselves, our reservations about getting sober have caused us a great deal of pain. If we did not have these reservations, then we might have made a solid attempt at recovery years ago. Things being as they are, we have kept ourselves isolated and unhappy, for the sole purpose of getting drunk or high a few more times. This has gotten us nowhere.
Other reservations we may have will not necessarily tell us that our addictions are good for us, but simply that they have done no harm. We will blind ourselves to the harm that we have been doing toward those we love. We will convince ourselves that they are fine, that nothing we can do could possibly hurt them too terribly much. We will not understand that our actions have consequences, and that these consequences are sometimes even worse for others than they are for ourselves. These types of reservations will deprive us of all willingness to get sober.
Our lack of mindfulness for the care of others will do more to hurt us than it will do to hurt them. Not only will the consequences of our actions have greater effects than we expect them to have, but there is also great room for disappointment when we begin to realize that we are not the people we wanted to become. This disappointment will fester, and we will lead unhappy lives if our notions of ourselves under the lashes of drugs and alcohol are left unchecked.
We must therefore put aside our reservations if we are ever to make a true attempt at recovery from addiction and alcoholism. Our reservations have done much to hurt us, and cannot be left unchecked if we are to recover in primary fashion. In order to put our reservations aside, however, we must be able to see how they are untrue. We must begin with an honest assessment of the truth, and move forward from there. If we can do this, then we will uncover much in the way of happiness as we move toward a brighter future.
Make no mistake—this will be a difficult task. Our reservations did not spring from nowhere. They were developed through years of drinking, drug abuse, and sheer self-deceit. Nonetheless, those of us who are able to let go of our reservations will often find that we have much to live for without lying to ourselves. We will find that life in recovery is far better than life in self-deception. We need only allow ourselves to discover this truth, and life itself will become far greater as a result of our newfound existence in sobriety.
Replacing Them With Truth
The hardest part about putting aside our reservations is not letting go of the reservations themselves, but rather learning to see the truth behind them. We must learn that for every time we thought we were performing better at work, we were actually putting our jobs at risk. We must learn that for every time we thought we were improving our relationships, we were actually driving them closer to their end. We must learn that, in general, our beliefs while under the influence of drugs and alcohol were inherently flawed. We were not the best versions of ourselves, and we were often the only ones who were unable to see this simple and basic fact.
As we enter recovery and begin to make an attempt at sober living, we will often learn to see these truths. For some of us, however, it will take a great deal of effort. One of the greatest harms of addiction is that it enables us to lie to ourselves in ways we can hardly even fathom. We bend the truth with such exquisite levels of artistry that we appear as experts in the field of deception. It will take great effort for us to replace these lies with the truth.
Usually, we will have help in this matter. Others will generally not fail to tell us when they feel that we have been dishonest. This is a fact for which we should be quite thankful, as we might not be as able to recover without the help of such loved ones. We should do our best to remember those who tried to point out our character defects while we were still in early addiction. Although we may still harbor resentments toward these people (and they may harbor resentments toward us), we should make an attempt to express some gratitude for what they have tried to do.
In the meantime, replacing our previous reservations with a more honest assessment of ourselves requires only diligence. We must do our best to stay attuned to our own lies whenever they present themselves. We will usually feel it in the back of our own minds whenever we are being dishonest, and we must do our best to make note of this. If we suspect that there is even a chance that we are lying to ourselves, then we should try to stop and think about what the actual truth may be behind the thoughts we are currently using to deceive ourselves.
For instance, those of us who believe that drugs and alcohol make us perform better at work may stop and take notice of how our jobs have actually been affected. We may realize that our productivity has been at an all-time low. Perhaps we feel slightly better when performing our work either drunk or stoned, but the entire goal of drinking and drugging is to change the way we feel. Our feelings in this case hold little bearing on the truth. We cannot rely on them alone to tell us how things really are. The same goes with our views toward relationships, as our drinking and drug abuse will often corrupt our perceptions of reality when it comes to how we are doing in our interactions with other people.
Letting go of our reservations is as simple as embracing Step One. We must recognize that our addictions have caused us to lose control over our lives, and we must do everything in our power to admit this fact and to move on toward a better way of life in sobriety. We must recognize that we have lost control, and that only through sobriety will we ever regain any semblance of manageability. Then—and only then—will we enable ourselves to lead the lives we wish to lead. Drinking and drug abuse will not get us there. But honesty, integrity and sobriety will make great strides toward a life we have never lived before. An honest life, free of self-deception.