“If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.”
What does it mean to “go to any length” in your recovery? What does it mean to go to any length in your life? For me they mean the same thing — my recovery is what gives me my life. I’m not saying that when I was drinking I wasn’t living. I was. I had a lot of great times, good laughs, and many adventures. But I drank my life into a mess.
My mess could have killed me. I knew that I was living dangerously. I knew that my heart was working harder than what was normal. I also knew that my insides were not right. Signs on the outside told me my insides were in trouble. I knew that my liver was failing, my heart was working way too hard, and yet I kept drinking. I continued to place myself in danger of dying, but I still got up each morning and drank more.
I went to any length to continue drinking, so now I have to go to any length in my recovery. The next part of the AA sentence is, “get ready to take certain steps.” Whether you follow AA or have your own program for recovery doesn’t matter. You still have to make changes and take steps towards a better, recovery future.
I spoke with a woman yesterday who is not struggling with alcoholism, but with depression. She said how people have given her the advice to “just get over it.” I, too, had heard it said that I should “just quit.” That is what both of us needed to do, but it doesn’t “just” happen. It takes a step-by-step process to learn how to quit drinking or to get on with life without depression. Both diseases are possible to recover from, but it takes hard work and dedication, and you must go to any length to fight for your health.
I began my recovery in a rehabilitation center. Then for 6 months I went to a therapist 2 times a week, then once a week and so on until I learned to handle life’s situations on my own. I went to AA and began to slowly change my life. I started finding ways to get out of my head and into my heart. I meditated, read books, started my spiritual journey. I stayed away from people, places, and things that triggered my desire to drink. I was willing to do many things that I didn’t want to do, but I believed it when I was told that they would help me stay sober. So I did them — sometimes scared, mad, or even really pissed off, but I did them to stay healthy.
I gradually started to see changes that made a big difference in how I viewed recovery. I started to not want a drink. I started enjoying being sober. I started enjoying my life. I started to be excited about other things like horses. In my youth horses were part of my life. Now I became excited to ride again. That led me to volunteering at a therapeutic riding center, which led me to equine coaching. I was finding new passions and new adventures. I was replacing bad behaviors with good ones. I encourage you to just take that first step today and ask for help. Join me and my horses as together we will go to any length to be healthy.