It’s a challenge to face life and look at the choices I’ve made – and more importantly, the choices I’m continuing to make. Looking at my past I may feel guilt or regret, but the saving grace is that those things are in the past – they can’t be changed. But the choices I make today and tomorrow … those can be changed, if I have the courage. Not everyone has the courage. Some people find one or two things about the tools or twelve-step programs that they disagree with and use them as reasons to turn their back on changing at all. You don’t have to do this.
If I start a new career I don’t expect to know how to use every tool in that field within the first week in the career. Some tools don’t make sense the first time you look at them; some might seem to be completely backwards. It can take years to become an expert. But that’s okay. Start out slow, use the ones you can, leave the rest. Come back and look at it again in six months and you may find another one makes sense now. As you keep coming back, you’ll find more and more things click. In the mean time don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of the tools you can use.
I came to my first twelve-step meeting because I wanted to change, but expecting to change 100% (or even 50% or 20%) overnight is unrealistic. The difference between life and death can be as small as a 1% change. I started with the 1% I could use and let the rest lay there until I found a use for them. I kept going to the meetings so I could continue to learn about the other tools – how they’re used, and when. Eventually I found other tools I could put to use, and I learned additional ways of applying the ones I already knew about.