When I arrived here at Promises I was hopeless and helpless. I can't believe I'm…
No Situation Is Hopeless
“There are no hopeless situations; there are only men who have grown hopeless about them.” – Clare Booth Luce, American playwright, editor, journalist, ambassador, socialite, and U.S. Congresswoman (1903-1987)
Whenever we hear the word “hopeless,” do we automatically go back in our thoughts to a time when we felt the kind of despair and inevitability that such a word seems so synonymous with? The truth is that those of us in recovery have all had a bout with feeling hopeless, at least to some extent. How could it be otherwise?
In fact, we probably wouldn’t ever have made a change in our situation if we hadn’t been forced by circumstance to reckon with the consequences of our past addictive behavior. If there hadn’t been any negative repercussions, we’d simply have continued on with our self-destructive behavior, wouldn’t we? Chances are it was an abrupt smack in the face with the reality of our maladaptive behavior that caused us to think otherwise, to believe that there could be a way out of this abyss.
That process all began with our decision to get clean and sober. But it wasn’t an easy decision to make, nonetheless. We all had too many reasons why we wanted the status quo to continue. We wanted to drink when and where we wanted, to do drugs as we pleased, to pop pills to feel better and then wash them down with booze, to go out partying all night or gambling or engaging in compulsive sexual behavior with any and every stranger available.
Somewhere along the line, however, either by order of the court or an ultimatum handed down by loved ones and/or family members, maybe even our own conscience reprimanding us and calling us to get our house in order, we did decide that there had to be a change. What seemed so hopeless couldn’t possibly get any worse. Well, maybe it could. We might have wound up in jail or killed ourselves or another or died from our own addiction from any combination of medical conditions and just acting stupidly under the influence of our drug of choice.
No doubt just making the decision to go into treatment and begin the process of taking our lives back was a big enough hurdle. After that, it should have been easy.
Except that it was not. We went through treatment, got counseling, started attending 12-step meetings as recommended, and began to put our lives in order. Sometimes, however, it all seemed just too difficult. We didn’t see how we’d ever be able to keep ourselves clean. How in the world, we wondered, would we ever be able to put the pieces of our lives back together again? Did it seem like an impossible undertaking?
Probably, at least some of the time. But we also found that we had strong support from our 12-step sponsor and fellow group members. They’d been down the same narrow corridor themselves, in one fashion or another, and knew that even if a situation seemed hopeless, it seldom was. With the support and encouragement of loved ones and family members, we found that we could, indeed, climb up out of the pit of hopelessness and find hope and direction.
For those of us who are newly in recovery and facing the prospects of learning how to live this new life of sobriety, know that we do have allies and resources at our disposal. There is nothing that is completely hopeless, even if we are afraid that there is. Sure, we will be faced with challenges, encounter situations that are difficult, and attempt to navigate relationships and find solutions to problems that may take some time to master, but our determination and commitment will make all the difference.
We cannot know what’s going to happen, but we can bolster our resolve with a firm determination to make life the best that we can. By looking at the opportunity instead of the difficulty, by constantly challenging ourselves and learning something new each day, we will be firming up our recovery foundation and solidifying a positive outlook that will ensure no situation we encounter will ever be hopeless again.