Lorelie Rozzano is a guest blogger for Vertava Health.
Do This One Thing And You Will Get Clean And Sober.
Have you ever wondered why some people can get and stay, clean and sober while others can’t? If you struggle with addiction, you’ve probably tried to control your intake. Before entering treatment, I tried multiple times to quit. I even stopped drinking for a whole year. Then, when the year was up, I rewarded myself with a triple. I was pretty proud of quitting alcohol. But what I wasn’t proud of, was the way my cocaine intake escalated when I quit drinking. I loved the way I felt when I was high. High, I was on top of the world. Sober, I was just me. Maybe that was part of the problem. I never did feel right about being me. Without a narcotic substance circulating throughout my blood stream, I was uptight and anxious. Being sober was just too uncomfortable. The trouble was, being high came with a cost. I didn’t love the consequences of using. (Spending too much money, not coming home, broken promises, devastated family, and feeling sick and hung over). I tried finding the magical formula where I could still get and feel high, but not do damage to myself and the people who loved me.
I utilized various tactics to minimize the effects of alcohol and drugs in my life. I limited the cash I would take with me when I went out. I smoked pot instead of doing other drugs. I drank beer instead of hard liquor. I watered down my wine. I got really creative, but no matter how hard I tried or what my intention was, eventually, I overindulged and I was back in that hopeless, remorseful, desperate place.
You might think being desperate is a bad thing. But looking back, desperation can create change. Desperation brings about willingness and willingness is key, when getting clean and sober.
Hung over I was desperate not to feel sick, weak and ashamed. I was desperate for my family not to be mad at me anymore. It was during these desperate times, that I’d promise the world – Yes, I’ll quit drinking. Yes, I’ll never do drugs again. Yes, I’ll be a better mom. Yes, I’ll be a better wife. Yes, I’ll go to rehab – then I’d work like hell to make it all better. My family and I cycled through this routine many times over the years. Me getting loaded. Me promising never to do it again. Me doing it again. Me on my best behavior. Me white-knuckling it. But no matter what I did I couldn’t stop the restless, irritable, discontent feeling from building when I was abstinent. Eventually, I would pick a fight and start the cycle all over again.
Once desperation wore off (usually within 24 – 72 hours) I was right back to where I had started. Only worse. Addiction is progressive and so are the consequences of this illness. I was so ashamed. I kept trying to fix the problem, with the mindset that had created the problem in the first place. Not a winning solution! Where I’d gone wrong in my many attempts to stop using, was in trying to do it alone.
In rehab, I learned the secret to getting clean and sober wasn’t about quitting alcohol and drugs forever. It was about getting through the next 24 hours without them. And if that was too much, then just the next hour. To get clean and sober, all I had to do was be willing.
Willing: To admit defeat.
Willing: To reach out for help.
Willing: To be honest
Willing: To accept help.
Willing: To do the work.
Willing: To change.
When you become willing you will get clean and sober and build such an incredible life that you no longer need alcohol and drugs in it.
I was so focused on finding the right way to use, I ignored the wreckage I left in my path. Things kept getting worse for me. Until one day, I just didn’t care anymore. I became apathetic and stopped trying to limit my usage and went all out. I’d reached the terminal stage of my illness. This is when many addicted persons lose their family, home and even, their life.
If only I’d known I never had to give up drinking and drugging. All I had to do was be willing. I might have saved myself and my family a lot of pain. But no one told me this. Had I reached out for help in the early stages of my illness, they might have. But I was self-reliant. I believed I could figure it out on my own. Ludicrous, when you think about it. I continued to trust my thinking, which was running my life and the lives of my loved ones, into the ditch.
Willingness wasn’t a term I heard until I went to treatment. By then, things had gotten very bad for me. Walking through the front doors of rehab I really thought my life was over. In reality, it had just begun. When I became willing, I was teachable. When I learned new things, I did new things. And when I did new things, my life and the life of my family, changed for the better.
Willingness builds a brand new life, through many little steps along the way. Preparing yourself for change invites hope into the bleak existence of addiction.
If you want a better life you can start right now. All you have to do is be willing to pick up the phone and call the number below. Vertava Health has a dedicated team of people who can talk with you 24/7.
If you or someone you love needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance. 1-888-614-2379.