“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want in life is this: decide what you want.” Ben Stein
When I first began my journey in recovery, I had a pretty good idea of what I didn’t want in life. I had enough of the guilt and shame. I was over feeling foggy in the mornings and depressed most of my day. Self-pity was my constant companion in my isolation. I was, as they say, sick and tired of being sick and tired.
My first decision upon arriving at recovery, was to get off this merry-go-round and stay off of it. This journey into recovery has lead me to many other decisions. These decisions have created a new life, one that does bring me a great deal of happiness, joy and freedom.
But I had to decide. I couldn’t stop my disease and continue to indulge it. I couldn’t continue consuming and be in recovery at the same time. Making a decision is choosing a door. It’s like you’re in a room with many doors and you’re weighing the pros and cons of each possible door. Staying in the room is not an option: not making a decision is also a decision. If I stay in my indecision of addiction, I am deciding for addiction. Not making a decision is deciding to maintain the status quo. I can’t move forward and stay in the same place. In order to change, I had to decide to change.
Making a decision is walking through a door, closing it behind you and moving forward. It eliminates all of the other possibilities that were available. At first I was frightened. What if I made the wrong decision? What if things don’t turn out the way I think they should? This could all turn out to be a disaster! Or so I thought.
At the moment of my decision, any door would have been an improvement over where I was: stewing in my own filth. I am learning that there are no wrong doors to choose. Each possibility comes with it’s own set of promises and challenges. Each provides an opportunity to learn and grow in life. My decision to open the door to recovery has allowed me to get to know myself, my strengths and weaknesses, my character defects and my attributes. I am no longer stuck; I am moving and growing.
My recovery program allows me to know who I am and where I want to go in life. Every day I am presented with options. I now weigh these options as to whether or not they are moving me toward fulfilling my goals and decide for or against these options. Yes, sometimes my choice could have been wiser. Sometimes I am lead off course. Sometimes I find pain and other times I discovery pleasure. But knowing where I want to go in life allows me to steer toward that goal. Regardless of what happens, I am learning.
And it all started with a decision.