We succeed in direct proportion to our desire for change

ladder and opened door with blue skyThe principles we apply for success in life are the same principles we apply for success in sobriety. Addicts don’t have a private set of doctrines. We will succeed in direct proportion to our desire for change. If we are waiting for comfort so we can step-in we’re screwed. Getting and staying sober has nothing to do with comfort.

Many, many, many people are secretly satisfied with a lackluster life. We readily admit we have a drinking problem and chalk it off to genetics. We will have cocktails until the day we die with intermittent moments of thinking we should quit … or that we could quit if we really wanted to.  We will spend life unsatisfied at deeper levels. We are committed to having “already tried” to get sober.

“I just don’t want to,” is the phrase we say until we start admitting, “I’m terrified to.” Terrified is the starting point. Unfortunately it is the place addicts get to before accepting the fact that we cannot drink like others.

Here how the disease of alcoholism plays out:

  1. Maybe we had an alcoholic parent or relative, maybe we did not.
  2. At one time we could or couldn’t drink “normally” and now we cannot.
  3. We repeatedly try to make alcohol work but we cannot.
  4. We act like there is a mystery to our situation, there is not.
  5. We think it will just go away and when it doesn’t we get defensive, satisfied, or not.
  6. We get terrified and keep drinking (regress to #4) or we get terrified and get help.

The method for recovery is less important than the actual desire for recovery. Some individuals go to three or 30 rehabs and never stay sober while another goes only to 12-step meetings and finds long term sobriety. The main factor, among many, is the true desire to want something different than what we currently have.

We all have dreams.

Addicts have dreams.

We can toss those dreams out and settle, or not. Yeah, I get it. We weren’t counting on the alcoholism coming in and screwing everything up, but guess what?

It’s here! Deal with it!

Stop falling back into “disease mode.” Stop settling for so much less when there is so much more.

What successful people do:

  1. Acknowledge that dream. Post it on your dream board, your calendar, or your wall.
  2. Schedule time daily for this dream. Yes, mark in your planner what action you are willing to take today to ensure your success.
  3. Be accountable to self and follow through with the action steps. Yes, the ones you chose to take when you felt “terrified.”
  4. Have faith in the process you chose. Whatever method you are using give it time to produce results. A seed doesn’t grow any faster because we water it with a fire hose.
  5. See the dream through or modify the dream, but DO NOT quit!

That’s it. That’s the difference between quitters and achievers. This is no mystery.

We either dig deep or we don’t.

Stop waiting for life to get comfortable so you can step up.

Start climbing.



Beginning today 24 March 2013 we now have an

Achievements Board

Please post the dream/goal/desire/achievement and what you’re willing to do to get there (or what you did to get there). If you don’t have a website or gravatar get one (or be anonymous). This way we can find each other and hold each other accountable as well as share in successes.

I’ll be posting mine too!

Because no matter what I achieve  … I still want more.

No Responses to “We succeed in direct proportion to our desire for change

  • This needs a LOVE! button!! “A seed doesn’t grow any faster because we water it with a fire hose.” Amen. xxx

  • Lisa-

    Spot on. Makes us think of an “Each Day a New Beginning” meditation that talks about the woman who earned her PhD after writing a 300-page dissertation. When asked how she did it, she responded: One word at a time.

    The wisest mentor we know gave us this incredibly valuable two-step advice for when we’re feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of a task, whether it’s not giving in to the disease today, or getting our taxes done:

    Step One: Break it into chunks.
    Step Two: Do the easiest chunk first, then the next, etc.

    It’s a powerful method for overcoming inertia and procrastination.

    Rather than having to “not give in” for the whole day that looks a hundred years long and painful right now, we can concentrate on the first chunk: Don’t give in for the next fifteen minutes while we create a list of three things to do over the next hour. If we’re doing those three things, we can’t (drink/use/eat/cut/etc.) Just that.

    Rather than having to get everything done for the tax filing, we start by getting out the box of receipts and sorting the deductible ones for Jan-March. That’s all. We can do that.

    Step by step.

    Welcome to life on the “stairmaster.” It’s way, way better than the alternative!

    • The ‘stairmaster” of life. This is poetry for an addict. I love all that you wrote. Your site has been an excellent resource for me and those I coach. I am grateful for your support.

  • The method for recovery is less important than the actual desire for recovery… Start climbing.

    Wow! this is such a powerful post! I was in O.A for four years but nothing helped… until I got to the point where suffering was not an option anymore… that’s when I reached a point of no-return. You could practically say, I chose happiness versus suffering. it’s the point where you are ready to make sacrifices in order to feel or not feel the way you did before… Thanks, You are inspiring 🙂

    • This is so common … this “showing up” but not participating. As if this “showing up” will be enough. I do this still. I get the running shoes on, but conveniently don’t make it out the door. I get bogged down with identifying my priority. We think we have failed because we didn’t get it the first time. I think the only failure is giving up. So in the long run show up, put your shoes on, go to the meeting. Just keep trying new things and you will find what’s going to work. And you, well you inspire me constantly. I have so much appreciation for your writing. When I grow up I wish to be more like you. 🙂

      • Well, thanks but your last post proves otherwise, you have grown plenty 🙂

        • Interesting to hear you write that. I was just at a seminar and heard Jordan Adler (author of ‘Beach Money’) say, “proximity is power.” I didn’t get it at first … thankfully he explained. He talked about how he keeps his circle of influence to those he wished to emulate. I believe my writing has flourished this past year because I have been following so many good writers. I learn through your work. Your expression moves me to think more deeply about who I am and what I want to convey. A nice exchange for us both.

          • Indeed, I cannot agree more! My poetry has changed too for the better for the only reason that I too, am following poets and writers with far superior poems or articles to mine. We do learn a lot by exchanging ideas through our posts too, those are the magical moments in the blog world, we don’t appreciate it enough, I speak for myself 🙂

          • Yes, yes, me too. So often I read and re-read and think “wow, that was brilliant” but I never bother to post a comment. I learn so much from you pioneer bloggers. I feel I am the beneficiary of many great teachers Thank you for the lovely comments.

  • I don’t know how you do it, but you reduce and distill everything to it’s essence and roll it out in a way that is not only accessible, but also deep and rich with meaning. You just explained and outlined the problem and the solution in method that astounds me. It’s precise and it’s chock full of the things that need to be done. The title alone is a truism that took me some time to get and wrap my head around. It’s another level of “you get what you put into it” sort of deal.

    On your first list, #2 there is the deal breaker, on so many levels. For me, all the other attempts to control and moderate eventually failed because I didn’t accept #2. I ignored it. I wanted to change it, but once we hit that point of not drinking normally, we need to surrender and get into the next list…action steps. Some people never make it to the second list. Some try to change #2 when it isn’t possible. I know I cannot now nor ever drink normally. It is a fact of life … and if I attempt to do drink normally, it truly will be a life or death proposition,one in which I will lose unless I get back into the solution.

    Digging deep is something we must do. The easier softer way doesn’t work. Ironically, working the action steps does in fact become the easier softer way, because while at first it may seem daunting, once I make my way through them, I am living a life that is much loftier and prettier than one in which I continue to rage against the machine. Nothing easy and soft in battling.

    Thank you so much for this – brilliant stuff and I can’t even imagine how many people this will touch and perhaps illuminate.


    • I have a secret to how I do it … I follow excellent writers, like you, and I learn how you do it and then follow. I feel pleased to be in the company of true writers. I consider myself a “life coach” but in this world you’ve got to be able to write if you want to reach people.

      I enjoy your writing and the depth of your thinking. I particularly love the clarity you possess regarding your drinking. Evidence of some good “digging.” Always a pleasure to hear your perspective.

  • Lisaaaaaa!!! Aaaaah! “When the student is ready, the master appears”. I believe that is what happened to me when I found your blog, and when you started following mine.
    I read this post at the precise moment I needed to.
    After reading this I don’t feel like the loser, procrastinator, underachiever my mind and my actions convince me of that. I don’t feel alone.
    “What is wrong with me?” is a question I ask most of my days. Last week I even told my parents I wanted to die because I don’t know what I wanna do with my life (the perfect victimising scene). The worst part is that I DO know what i want but i’m TERRIFIED to take the steps because they scare me. And my thoughts set me up to failure. I am aware of how powerful my mind is, and my thoughts create my reality…yet I keep listening to the limiting thoughts and beliefs that keep me stuck.
    Reading this reminds me that I have the answers… I am just so used to delegating that responsibility to others, that way I can blame someone.

    Ayways, after this rant, I wanted to express my gratitude for having you in my life and tell you what a pleasure and an epiphany it is to read you.

    • I can think of no words that bring me greater joy. (with the exception of my kids saying, “I love you momma.”” Your words are what I need to hear. I often feel my work/book/etc have all been in vain. I sometimes wonder if it all matters. Then I get this really great message from you reminding me it does matter and I feel refueled. All of us addicts have that voice that says, “whats wrong with me?” It is in our ability to communicate with and overcome this voice that leads to our success. This isn’t a one time thing. It’s a life-long “opportunity” to draw ever closer to the divinity within each one of us. Thank you for trusting me to coach you. I’m in awe as you flourish. xox

      • They have not been in vain. I love reading your eye-opening book, and your epiphanizing (I made up a word haha) entries here. That damn voice! I don’t wanna communicate with it, even though I know I must in order to take my sanity back… it seems like sometimes I don’t feel like being sane: how would that feel? I’ve always had something to blame!! What will happen when I learn how to control it? Then I read your phrase where you say it’s a LIFELONG opportunity, it takes constant hence efficient effort.
        Thank you for your beautiful and kind wisdom. It is totally and completely valuable to me.

  • Beautiful. I love the simplicity of the lists. And yes, without the dream, many will repeat #4 over and over again. Kayko

    • Thanks for the comment. Means a lot coming from you. You are one of many that paved the way for me to not repeat #4 over and over. My thanks for that as well. xox

  • Please accept the The HUG Award© with my sincerity Lisa.



  • This is an incredible post–no matter what addiction it’s still well suited.

    • My goodness thank you for the comment. I was just over admiring your site. It’s fun when we find each other. It’s interesting because so many of the people I work with are cross addicted. We like to compartmentalize our addictions, but truly they can’t be (IMO). We behave the way we behave until we get in enough pain. And, like you, I feel the solution is similar regardless of the choice of stimuli. Looking forward to getting to know you. Lisa

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