By Lance Risher

My journey of recovery began on November 1st, 2017. This decision for a new start came after I woke up once again staring at the fluorescent lights of an emergency room ceiling in Houston, Texas after my final overdose from heroin and cocaine. My drinking and drug use began around the age of 13 and culminated with this final event at the age of 28. In those 15 years of uninterrupted substance abuse, I transitioned through all of the familiar progressions with my usage. This progression ultimately amounted to a near decade-long IV heroin and cocaine addiction. 

Along the way I also endured all of the pain and suffering that so many addicts have seen and felt along the way. Jail, overdoses, depression, fractured relationships and the death of people around me, just to name a few. I am the product of a single treatment center experience, and I am repeatedly asked by parents, chronic relapsers and others, “What made it stick the first time?”.  I tell people that I was “blessed” with a decade of total despair and suffering that I would wish on no one. However, it took me being completely beaten into a state of reasonableness and knocking on death’s door to be ready to make the decision for change on my own. I went to treatment and was completely open to any and all suggestions thrown my way, and I woke up there every day prepared to fight what I perceived as a life or death battle. 

This mentality brings me to what I believe is the main message of the topic at hand, the 6th step. That message is WILLINGNESS! If you’ve seen the real depths of misery and anguish within a truly fatal drug addiction and wish to escape that hell, willingness will be your strongest ally in fighting your way out. Present day, I work in the treatment industry helping other addicts and alcoholics who are in the midst of that same battle that I fought myself not all that long ago. While my life and my recovery are constantly changing and evolving, one core principle has remained throughout. WILLINGNESS…