Importance of Willingness in Recovery Determination to Stay Sober:
If people do not have a strong desire for sobriety, it will be hard for them to maintain it. It is possible for the individual to get sober to please other people, but such recoveries tend to be short-lived. This is because staying away from alcohol and drugs is hard if people are not fully willing to do all that it takes. In order to build a successful life away from alcohol and drugs, the individual needs to be prepared to put in a great deal of effort. Those who lack willingness will not be able to summon the necessary determination. My personal experience is that willingness was key.
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Willingness can be defined as being eagerly compliant. It means doing something out of choice and not because of coercion. When people become willing to do something, it means their minds become more open and receptive. They may consider doing things that in the past may have appeared objectionable. Willingness means embracing change rather than fighting it.
Lack of Willingness
It is not possible for people to find success in recovery unless they are willing to put in the necessary effort. This is because such personal change will not occur unless the individual gives their permission for it to happen. Addiction is driven by a strong urge to escape reality and hide in chemical numbness. In order for recovery to take hold, there needs to be a powerful driving force supporting it. This power is provided by the willingness to change.
Lack of Willingness in Recovery:
There are a number of reasons for why the
individual may lack the willingness to stay sober:
Some people will enter recovery because they
feel coerced in some way. They may have decided to accept help because of
pressure from family and friends and not because they really want to be sober.
This usually means that this individual will be using recovery as a way to buy
time. As soon as they feel that it is safe for them to return to their
addiction they will do so.
Many addicts suffer from ambivalence. This means that they have feelings,
thoughts and attitudes that are contradictory. They may have a strong
desire to enter recovery and escape the pain of addiction while at the same
time having a strong desire to continue with the alcohol or drug abuse. Until
this ambivalence towards substance abuse is resolved, it will be difficult for
the individual to summon enough resolve to finally quit their addiction.
Some individuals have un-realistically high
expectations of their recovery, and they become disappointed when things do not
happen as expected. This disappointment may mean that their willingness to stay
sober begins to wane. It takes time to rebuild a life away from alcohol and
drugs, and if people have expectations that are too high, they will be let
The individual can become stuck in their
recovery, and this is a drain on their willingness. The usual reason for why
people become stuck is that they are faced with a problem that they do not want
to deal with. Until they face this challenge, there can be no further progress.
Instead the individual either relapses or becomes a dry drunk.
Sometimes, people in recovery will start off
with a great deal of determination, but then run out of steam. This can occur
if they develop the “pink cloud syndrome”. What happens is that people can
become so joyful at escaping their addiction that they lost touch with reality.
Staying sober begins to feel effortless, so the individual begins to take it
for granted. When the pink cloud ends, and people are once again faced with
reality, they can find it hard to summon up the willingness to get back on
track. If the individual has expectations of recovery that are too low, they
may be willing to settle for very little. This is a real shame because sobriety
offers some wonderful opportunities for those people who have enough
willingness and determination.
Memory can be a treacherous thing sometimes.
People can forget how miserable things were at the end of their addiction. They
can start to think back to those days when it felt like alcohol or drugs
brought them pleasure. This is known as romancing the drinking or drugging, and
it can sap the willingness to stay sober if it is allowed to continue
Some individuals will have other mental
health problems as well as their addiction. If people have untreated depression
or another dual diagnosis, they will find it difficult to maintain their
willingness to stay sober. This is because this other condition will make
recovery unsatisfying and prevent progress.
and Hitting Rock Bottom
is sometimes described as reaching a point where the individual is, sick and
tired of feeling sick and tired. There is no reason for why people need to
lose everything in order to hit their rock bottom. They just need to reach a
point where they have had enough. Some individuals will hit their rock bottom
without losing very much at all. It is like going down in an elevator. It is up
to the passenger to decide where they want to get off. There is absolutely no
benefit from staying in the lift all the way to the bottom, because this means death.
Once the individual has fully decided that
they have had enough of addiction they will have be willing to do what it takes
to escape. This willingness is a force that provides them with the energy to
take the correct steps to end the addiction. It means that they will be ready
to make use of available resources such as rehab, therapists or addiction
and the 12 Steps
In 12 Step groups such as A.A., N.A., or C.A,
they emphasize that the member needs to be willing to go to any lengths to stay
clean and/or sober. It is not possible for the individual to complete the 12
steps unless they have a high degree of willingness. This is because it
involves taking action that the addicted mind would rebel against. The member
never graduates from these 12 Step programs, so this willingness will need to
be something they are able to maintain indefinitely.
Willingness and HOW, HOW is an acronym for what is needed to find success when using a self-help group. The acronym stands for:
willingness is viewed as being ready to change and take risks in order
to find happiness.
The Key to
Willingness in Recovery
Willingness can insure success in recovery
from addiction. These are its major components:
If the individual is truly willing to escape
their addiction they will do whatever it takes. It involves having an open mind
about any potential resource that can help them. Those who are truly willing do
not have a long list of recovery options that they are not even prepared to
Willingness involves a degree of humility.
The individual no longer believes that they have all the answers. They are
prepared to listen and learn from the experiences of other people.
If the individual is willing to stay sober,
they will make this their number-one priority in life. This is because they
realize that making a life away from addiction requires a great deal of effort.
It will not be achieved overnight. The willing individual will be prepared to
devote however long it takes to rebuilding their life.
Those who are willing to escape addiction
will want to make the best use of all the available resources that can help
them. They will take responsibility for their own recovery and see addiction
specialists as partners there to help them. The willing individual does not
passively wait for other people to fix them. They take action to make this
Willingness does not mean becoming passive.
The individual still needs to question things and make decisions. It does
usually mean being a bit more open-minded about possible solutions.