There’s this common myth out there that in order to get better and do something to turn your life around, you have to be ready. This isn’t true, and it’s a lie that our mind tells us to make excuses so we continue torturing ourselves and live in suffering. If we wait to be ready, we’ll never be ready. We’ll continue suffering, which in turn is going to cause suffering for the people in our lives. The only thing we need to get better is the smallest desire to get better.
When You’re Ready, but You Don’t Realize It
I just finished watching a YouTube video of a guy who was actually one of my inspirations to start my YouTube channel. When I found him, he had just relapsed after a year or two sober. Here we are two years later, and he’s had some more sobriety, but also more relapses. He recently said he was finally thinking about rehab, and he disappeared for a while, so I figured that’s what he did. Well, that’s not what happened.
He came back explaining how he didn’t go to rehab, but he wanted to take a break from his channel until he had 30 days sober. That’ didn’t happen either, but he wanted to give an update. During his explanation of why he didn’t go, he gave an analogy on picking between to restaurant options, but when you flip the coin, it lands on the one you didn’t really want to go to.
That’s an awesome analogy, but we’re talking about life and death and not food options.
He discussed how he just realized he’s not ready to go, and that breaks my heart. Following his journey the last couple years, I’m worried he’s going to die if he keeps waiting to be ready. In my experience of working with addicts, I’ve seen this happen over and over again.
For you, it may not be an addiction you’re struggling with. Maybe it’s your crippling anxiety or overwhelming depression. You might be someone struggling with an eating disorder, or maybe you can’t stop self-harming. You know you don’t want to live this way anymore, but you haven’t taken the steps to get better.
I Can Relate
In a couple days, I’ll have 7.5 years clean and sober from drugs and alcohol. When I got sober, I was miserable, hopeless and suicidal. I wasn’t “ready” to get better. Death seemed like a better option than trying to get well. I wanted to continue drinking myself stupid and snorting lines of prescription opioids until the life left my body.
Luckily, I was forced to get sober, and it was because I was given an ultimatum. Get better or be homeless. I can’t stress enough how important it is for the people in our lives to quit putting up with our bullshit.
I wasn’t ready to move into a sober living home. I wasn’t ready to start going to 12-step meetings and have people giving me hugs. I wasn’t ready to get a sponsor, and I especially wasn’t ready to start working on looking at all of the fucked up things about myself so I could begin the healing process.
But I did it.
There are a couple primary reasons why I did it even though I wasn’t ready. One of them was because I saw other people doing it, and their lives were a hell of a lot better than mine. I had to start looking at other people and realizing how much better their life was compared to mine because clearly they knew something I didn’t. I knew I wanted a better life, but I didn’t want to go through the steps it took to get there.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my life is that turning your life around involves doing things you need to do and not the things you want to do. Sorry, but that’s not how life works, and we need to quit being babies about it.
How do we even have the audacity to think that’s how life should work? Think about that for a second. It takes some balls to even have the thought, “My life should be better, and I shouldn’t have to do anything I don’t want to do to achieve it.” That’s like us wanting to magically drop 20 lbs without having to eat better or go to the gym. Who the fuck do we think we are?
The other primary reason I started getting better even though I wasn’t ready was that I realized how selfish I was being. It wasn’t just about me and what I wanted. My parents were worried I was going to die. My friends lost me to my addiction and wanted me to live and get better. Most of all, I had a 3-year-old son relying on me to get better and to live.
It didn’t matter that I wasn’t ready, I had people who needed me. And not to be grandiose about this whole thing, but I eventually realized that I might be able to help other people like you by overcoming my demons, and it’d be selfish of me not to go through the mental gauntlet of getting better when I have so much to offer to others.
Just Take the First Step
No matter what you’re struggling with, when you’re looking at the big picture of all the things you’ll have to do to get better, it’s overwhelming. It’s easy to think about all the steps you’ll have to take and simply say, “Fuck it.” We do this because it’s easier to stay exactly where we are rather than putting in some work. But, is our ongoing suffering really worth being lazy and not putting in the work?
For me, it started with staying sober. When I thought about staying sober forever, that was as crazy as saying that I could fly to the moon. But then, I learned that I didn’t need to stay sober forever. I just needed to stay sober for a day.
That was manageable.
When we’re not ready, it’s often because we’re overwhelmed, so we need to break it down one day at a time. Start asking yourself what you can do today to get better. That’s it. Don’t worry about tomorrow, just worry about today.
It bums me out that we’re living in such a touchy world today that people get offended by everything, and it’s terrible in the mental health community because all it does is fill people with excuses. It’s a disservice to anyone who wants to get better for people to think that it’s “offensive” to tell someone struggling that they “just need to do it”.
Well, the reason a lot of us say that is because it really is that simple. Our brain makes up a million reasons why we can’t get out of bed in the morning, or take a shower, or reach out and ask for help. We overcomplicate everything with our crazy ass brains. The reality is that we need to keep it simple and just take that first step. Once we take that first step, our mind realizes that it’s possible, and then it opens us up to a whole new world of possibilities.
So today, what’re you going to do? Maybe you’re going to call a friend and ask for help or just simply have a conversation so you don’t feel so alone. Maybe you’re going to get off your ass and take a walk around the block to get your blood flowing and maybe some endorphins while you’re at it. You might go to one of the dozens of 12-step meetings that are in your town. Or maybe you’ll actually research finding a therapist who can give you some tools to get out of your rut.
I know you can do it even if you’re not ready, and I know you are capable of a lot more than you think you are. I know this because I’ve been there too, and I never thought I’d be where I am today, but here I am. If I waited to be ready, I’d probably already be dead. So, get of your ass, and make something happen for yourself today because you deserve it.