5 Easy Steps to Recovery
Wouldn’t that be great? Five Easy Steps! I never trust anything that proclaims “5 Easy Steps to . . .” whatever. If recovery were easy, it wouldn’t have taken me 11 years! But would you really want to read a post titled, “5 Really Difficult Steps to Recovery?” I didn’t think so. A therapist I knew often said, “It’s simple, but not easy.”
In this post, I’ll highlight the steps and detail the first. Next week, I’ll delve into Step 2.
Step 1: Decide.
Step 2: Tell the truth.
Step 3: Take responsibility.
Step 4: Trust the process.
Step 5: Heal.
Step 1: Decide. Dr. Colin Ross of the Ross Trauma Center asked me more than once, “When are you going to decide to get well?” I thought maybe we should trade places, because that was such a stupid question. Didn’t he understand that if I could I would? The truth that I did not yet understand was that the power for me to get well had always been there; I just wasn’t ready to say, “Enough! I choose to get well.”
You must make a conscious decision to get well. Draw a line in the sand, if you will. Make a note of where you are and the date, so that any time you’re tempted to turn around and go back to old habits, people or ways of thinking, you have a date and place to bring to mind that reminds you of your decision. Once you make that decision, keep pushing forward. You may not do it perfectly; I didn’t. But you will stay on the path toward health.
My line in the sand was drawn on May 18, 2001, in an ambulance on the way to the hospital for a very serious overdose. It came right after the EMT told me that he didn’t think that I’d make it. At that moment, I realized that I didn’t really want to die like I’d thought just a few minutes earlier. I decided that if I survived, I would never attempt suicide again. And now since I had decided to live, I had to learn to do it differently. My life changed at that point, because I decided to get well.
Are you ready to get well? Really ready? Then make the decision to get well. Write your decision along with the date in your journal. When you wake up in the morning, remind yourself that it’s a new beginning, because you have decided to get well. Then take it one step at a time. You have a community here, and I want to help you walk your journey.
In today’s post, we’re looking at the second step in the process of recovery. If you missed Step 1, just pull up the previous post. Next week, we’ll talk about Step 3.