Weighty Matters

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Going to Any Lengths

on November 17, 2013

A few minutes ago, I wasn’t sure what to blog about tonight. A couple of thoughts and ideas flitted around in my brain. Earlier today I changed the setting on my alarm clock to 6:00 a.m. I am determined to wake up on purpose early every day so that I can get in solid exercise before I get ready for work.

Thinking about that made me think about a phrase that I heard first in Al-Anon and then later in OA. It comes from AA’s “Big Book”. “If you’ve decided you want we have and are willing to go to any lengths to have it, then you are ready to take certain steps.”

That was exactly what I needed to hear again tonight and remember. Being willing to go to any lengths to recover is a huge choice and a defining moment. It isn’t easy to always maintain — that commitment of willingness — but it’s necessary, or recovery will be a fleeting thing.

With this in my head, I Googled so that I could find the exact reference. Instead, I found an absolutely kick-ass essay online. From 2011, it’s attributed to John MacDougall, the Director of Spiritual Guidance at Hazelden — a famous addiction treatment center. Click here to read the entire essay.

Regardless of the drug of choice for the addict — narcotics, alcohol, food — the addiction itself is powerful, often it feels more powerful than any frail human willingness. This essay, however, reinforces another power — the power to choose recovery. I also love when Dr. MacDougall says that we don’t negotiate our recovery.

I must choose my abstinence from compulsive eating, choose my recovery, every day. Then, as Dr. MacDougall says, I find out what the price each day will be. Some days, like today, will be relatively easy. Some will take more effort and require me to give up more in order to sustain my recovery another 24 hours. The price might mean not eating that unplanned dessert or not giving into the anger/upset/stress caused by a situation I run into. Whatever the case, I cannot, will not, wake up with anything less than total commitment. It doesn’t work to say that I will remain abstinent as long as it’s a good day or as long as nothing happens that stresses me out, or even as long as I don’t get a super craving for a favorite food that isn’t on my plan.

A high level of commitment in action engenders successful recovery. That’s what I want. I’m willing to go to any length to achieve it.

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2 responses to “Going to Any Lengths

  1. Skye says:

    It’s really weird, but when I was reading this post, I had a definite emotional reaction. As far as I can tell, it’s about the commitment part. I don’t think I have committed to too many things that completely in my life. Maybe only 2. Which kind of explains my lack of success in most areas in a long while, such as in exercise, weight loss, and even career/job.

    I hear what you are saying: commitment (in most things) engenders success. Being willing to go to any length to succeed in your commitment: well, Bob Mayer would completely agree! (And one only needs look at his successes ….) I completely believe you will stay on your road to recovery due to your commitment.

    Now I just have to talk to my therapist about my distaste for commitment. Sigh.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Commitment is hard, Skye. I think I’ve let it be a gray area some days. That just doesn’t cut it for me. I need to give myself some tougher love, I think, and be more black and white about it.

      Good luck with your exploration. Maybe it feels like an “ugh” right now but I hope it becomes more of an “oh yes, I see it!” positive.

      You inspire with your commitment to delve into your issues, even when you’re uncomfortable.

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