Half Measures with Dan Sanfellipo

step 12 magazine half measures dan sanfellipo

Written by K. VanDenBerg based on Interviews with Dan

When I want something, I want it all. I’m not going to be happy with just some of it or half of it, I won’t rest until I have it all! It was like that with my drinking and using, and it’s like that in my recovery.

I got nothing when I drank just half a beer, or half a shot. I didn’t get what I was looking for doing half a line, or half an issue. I didn’t risk going to jail for half a robbery. And half an orgasm … never! What’s the point?  No, I am never satisfied with half of anything. Half measures just don’t accomplish the goal whether the goal is to get high, get rich, get even, or get happy.

When I decided enough was enough, and walked through the doors of recovery, I initially sat in my seat and held back. I held back my truth and my white-flag. I held on to my old ideas and looked at the unfamiliar faces of serenity, peace, and joy with apprehension and wondered why my reflection never changed. Bitterness, anger, fear, and failure kept looking back at me when I brushed my teeth or combed my hair. But going to the meetings wasn’t enough. My half-measures were availing me nothing.

I’d heard the words many times, but when I actually listened with my heart, I realized I needed to give one hundred percent of my effort the same way I did in my active addictions. I needed to break away from my old way of thinking and behaving. I needed to surrender fully to the program that was clearly working for others. They may not have been just like me, but they were fighting the same demons. I needed to fight them too, with the same level of intensity that I had been competing for medals in Jiu Jitsu.

My Grandma used to say, “get all the way in, or all the way out. Staying in the middle gets you no where.” I think the level of desire will drive the level of commitment. If I really wanted to get high … nothing would stop me. I wouldn’t just sorta look for a connect, and ask him if I could have just a half a hit. No, if I wanted to get high, I would hunt the connect down and demand all he had.

Today, I sincerely want recovery. I want the promises that this program offers. I want it bad. I have to chase down my sponsor, and take all the tools he can give me with the same vigor I chased down the connect. Rather than sitting around waiting for the meeting to end, I engage. And it works.

In my job, my relationships, my training and my recovery, half measures avail me nothing. I give one hundred percent and am rewarded with the promises. I know a new freedom and a new happiness. I don’t regret the past nor do I wish to shut the door on it. I comprehend the word serenity and I know peace. I have been way down on the scale of despair and I use that experience to help others. Uselessness and self pity rarely rear their ugly heads and I have a genuine interest in helping others without self-serving motives. My attitude is grateful and my judgment is unclouded. When half-measures look like a good idea, God does for me what I cannot do for myself.

Today, when I brush my teeth and comb my hair, the reflection in the mirror is fresh and alive. Full measures lead to results. I am satisfied, serene, and content. I have a healthy self-esteem and I give back freely. If you’re struggling with half measures, double your efforts. Two halves do make a whole—and that’s all it takes.

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