Imagine you are in a prison cell. Dark, grey, sad and alone. Now imagine the door is unlocked. You can leave should you wish. You have heard tales of a bright colourful land of opportunity right outside but it sounds too good to be true. Or perhaps it sounds terrifying and you fear leaving your safe surroundings. What if all that's promised when you give up alcohol doesn't materialise for you?
Worry not. There is a money back guarantee. After leaving through the door, it will remain unlocked. You can return at the cell at any time. If you don't like your new sober life and preferred your old ways, the door will always remain open. Your cell will always be there for you and you can return to it at any point. What have you got to lose?
Once out of your cell you see the path that your new life follows. But the path is not straight forward. At first here are falling rocks to avoid, screeds of gravel where you may lose your footing, sections where the path is indistinct and the way forward is not clear. It is raining and you are cold and the path is convoluted full of twists and turns such you wonder if you are moving forwards at all.
If you persevere through the early stages of this journey, you will be rewarded. The sun will come out and will form the brightest rainbow before the rain subsides. The path will level. It will become wide and clear and you will become confident at navigating your way forwards at the junctions.
You will begin to notice the scenery, the sounds, the wildlife, and you will become distracted. Your journey and the path you are on will slip from the forefront of your mind as it absorbs these new experiences. You meet others along the way and spend time with them, opening your mind to each new experience. Time slows and your journey is no longer hurried. There is no rush to get to the destination because the journey itself is beautiful and you are enjoying every minute of it.
You look back and can no longer see your cell or the treacherous rocks and gravel you first encountered. You have forgotten how difficult it was to start out and persevere on this journey. As you move on you gain confidence to wander off the main path and investigate lesser trails. You become aware of the inherent dangers, the celebrations, the weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, parties, and plan ahead. You plan a strategy to cope with these events and anything else life throws at you. Should your plan prove inadequate, you have an exit strategy too. You have ways and means to find your way back to the main path, the right track, and will not get lost in the wilderness.
After some time you realise you are reaching the end of the rainbow. It is vast and stretches as far as you can see. Life is great. Your health is fabulous. You are solvent. You are a good friend, partner, parent. You are content. You remember. You achieve. Life could not be better.
You hear a shout and look in its direction. Far off the path you see a lone figure stooped in the doorway of a dark, cold, cell, too scared to come out for fear of what lies beyond the confines of their cell. You know the truth about both worlds, inside and out, and you know there is a choice. You can continue to bask in the warm glow of the sunshine or you can crawl back into the cell from whence you came. Why would you?