Waiting to Be “Ready” for Recovery

ready for recovery

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Most of us who are alcoholics or addicts may be wary of change, even if it means freedom from our deadly disease. We sadly get used to our lifestyle, no matter how destructive it may be. It’s a common malfunction among us that we cling to what we know, fearing anything different. Even though our disease is likely killing us, we still hold out hope that we can get it together ourselves somewhere down the road. It is very normal to fear what we do not understand, though it is also one of the more fruitless mindsets we human beings can hold. We don’t know what recovery will entail. We fear having to give up our lifestyle, our friends, our old familiar habits, and our ways of coping with life in exchange for a different life. Even if that life might be better, even if it means freedom, recovery, and purpose, we still resist and fear change.

This is how the idea of “when we are ready” gets formed in our minds. Waiting for the imaginary day when we are finally ready and unafraid is a great little lie. It’s so believable that most people fall for it at least once in their lives. We see the necessary change up ahead, and we know we need to do things differently. But it just seems too difficult or too scary right now. So we pretend that someday we will be more “ready.” Unfortunately, a lot of us die waiting for that day to come, or we end up waiting for that day all our lives. It never comes, we never get ready, and it never happens. The myth of “being ready” someday plagues most people, not just those who suffer from alcoholism and addiction. In other aspects of life, waiting until we’re ready usually just means suffering and disappointment. But with us and our disease, waiting until we’re ready to engage in recovery can literally mean life or death.

We’re Never “Ready”

It might sound harsh or too gung-ho, but it’s likely that we’re as ready as we’re ever going to be. Stepping into new territory, changing our lives, or doing anything unfamiliar never really gets easier. In fact, it is only when we face and act on these scary opportunities in the present that we become ready. It is only in repeatedly making this effort that we get better at it. Running from or avoiding uncomfortable things only makes us better at running and avoiding. It never helps us become more ready in the future. Think of it like this — if you want to learn to play the piano, you don’t start by dropping out of music lessons.

In practical and metaphysical terms, now is all we have. Pushing anything off for the future, if we can help it, is usually a negative idea. There are plenty of things that must wait for a future day. If we want to get a job that requires a degree, we must first earn our degree. But we don’t start that process by waiting until the degree becomes easier to earn. It never will be, so we start that process by enrolling in school. When it comes to our readiness to recover, we usually can’t afford to wait for the magical day when it gets easier to get sober and change our lives. We might not live long enough for that day to come.

We Can’t Afford to Wait

It’s likely that part of what’s holding us back and keeping our recovery in the future is fear. We don’t want to give up our friends, our favorite hobbies, or our comfortable places to hang out. We think that maybe we just need a life-changing experience, then we’ll straighten out and straighten up. But what if recovery is that life-changing experience, and we are pushing it off for a day that will never arrive? We want to wait until the “fun” stops while ignoring how miserable we actually are.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous talks about this exact situation. It describes how we secretly hope that somehow, someday we will figure it out for ourselves — that we will get ourselves together and get better all on our own. We and our loved ones wait for this miraculous day to come. The Big Book says it like this, “Everybody hopefully awaits the day when the sufferer will rouse himself from his lethargy and assert his power of will. The tragic truth is that if the man be a real alcoholic, the happy day may not arrive. He has lost control.” This is the reality for those of us who are alcoholics or addicts. We can’t wait for the day we’re ready, because we don’t have control. When recovery enters our life, we must try our best to take the help in front of us. Some are not lucky enough to get another opportunity. Though the safe haven of recovery is always available to all of us, we suffer from a deadly disease.

We must remember that life doesn’t wait until we’re ready. We don’t even need to be ready! That’s a bad myth. We simply need to keep an open mind, an honest heart, and be willing to try our best to take the life-saving and life-changing help of recovery. We’ll get ready as we go, and we’ll have plenty of help along the way. There’s no reason to wait to make our lives better.

Alcoholism and addiction are a powerful and deadly disease that often engulf the lives of those who suffer from them, as well as those who love them. This disease can not only destroy lives but put off living entirely. It often becomes the dominant force in the life of someone who has the disease. Luckily for us, there is hope. There is a solution — and it really works. The 12-Step program of recovery is designed to produce the necessary psychic change and vital spiritual experience that spells freedom for the man once devastated by the disease. Despite being among those who once struggled to achieve and maintain lasting recovery, we are now among those who are active and whole in recovery. No matter how hard it has been in the past, we are here and ready to help you begin this journey for yourself. To get started, call Jaywalker Lodge now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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