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Step Zero: Getting to Recovery by Arnold M. Washton PhD and Nannette Stone Washton of the Washton Institute

Building a New Vision

Pain is a great motivator. If you hurt badly enough, you'll seek relief. You're no stranger to the pain that has prodded you to seek relief in alcohol, other drugs, or compulsive behavior - the pain that comes from fear of the world, from feeling isolated, and from not believing you're good enough. Not that you're always conscious of that pain; in fact, chances are that for a long time you haven't been too conscious of it because your reflex action to escape this pain has become so sharp. By repeating escape behavior often enough, you become like Pavlov's dogs. Reaching for a drink, another drug, food, work, or sex becomes as natural as breathing. Whoosh and you're out of yourself, out of what you hope will be any possibility of physical or emotional discomfort.
But as you've probably seen in your own life, the solution you've been turning to has started to become a problem. It's causing its own pain that you don't know how to escape: the pain of realizing you're out of it, sabotaging your life through drinking, drugging, or other behavior. The pain of seeing your relationships and job deteriorate is becoming an intolerable burden..

But perhaps the worst disappointment comes from realizing you're not who you want to be. The dreams you may once have had for yourself seem to have been crushed. The dreams of doing something you wanted to do, of being with someone you love and who loves you, of having a family - a look in the mirror tells you you aren't anywhere near attaining them. Looking into the mirror stabs you with a kind of panic: What happened to me?
Pain isn't the only motivator. This sense of longing to be who you want to be can be just as urgent a prod. The key word here is "want." As we've said, you don't create lasting change in your life if you don't want to; it's as simple as that. Wanting to can become a rich motivation. When you begin to see that your escapist behavior isn`t working very well anymore and is actually getting in the way, you've got the beginnings of a powerful motivation to change that behavior. Pain only tells you that something is wrong and needs fixing. Realizing that you want to bring to life a positive vision of yourself gives you something to work toward. It gives you a reason- - a deeply felt, down-in- the-gut reason-to go on and start sorting out your life so it has the chance of being something you truly want it to be...

Step Zero: what to do when you can't fake it anymore is a helpful manual to getting to recovery. The authors support the 12 step programs that AA and NA base their recovery on.. Chapters include Creating Clarity, Taking Action and Ten Questions and Answers about recovery .Find a meeting.

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