A Long Term Approach to Addiction Recovery
At my current point in life, I am proud to be able to say that my sobriety has reached the four year mark. This unbelievable milestone is one that I think about each and every day. Though I tried for many years to get sober, I managed for a few weeks or months before relapsing back into my old habits before returning back to detox. This is a common problem for addicts, and people like me are known as chronic relapsers. I now enjoy helping these people the most because once they are finally sober, they are filled with passion and inspiration that enables them to help others. I often believed that I would only see failure throughout my life, and I now dedicate my life to helping people reach and maintain sobriety the way I have. Though I often felt hopeless at my repeated relapses, I realized that the key to maintaining sobriety in the long term depended on a number of important factors. I now want to share these factors with you so that you can see exactly how important they are to maintaining sobriety.
There is no clear path to recovery, and one big mistake that I kept making was thinking that I knew the process. I constantly told people that were trying to help me at meetings that I already knew the things they were trying to tell me, often not even following their advice. The things I thought were the right steps for me to take were always the ones that saw me failing. To me, humility is understanding that being teachable is one of the most valuable characteristics in recovery. I feel that the reason I am succeeding in my sobriety now is that I am just listening to the things that the people I trust have to say without arguing and without indifference. When I got into this habit, I realized that the results were far more powerful. Now, when I help other people struggling with addiction, I encourage them to be teachable rather than sticking to the habits that held you back in the first place.
Like many others struggling with addiction, one of the most harmful characteristics was a lack of discipline and consistency. Though I have always been keen to begin new and more productive things to keep myself occupied, they only ever lasted just a few days, or at most, a week. My enthusiasm for things like diet, exercise and hobbies was always great at first, but dwindled down as time went on. My recovery process was exactly like this, too, the first few times I tried, which I believe was the thing that held me back. Recovery is not something you can half commit to. In fact, you need to be all in or nothing. The steps to recovery need to be performed each and every minute of every single day in order to have the most benefit. Consistency is key in recovery, and though everyone’s routine will differ, sticking to it is the goal. Make sure your routine harnesses your personal interests and is something you enjoy so that you can maintain interest. If you feel yourself slipping, remember that tomorrow is a new day.
People in recovery can talk a big game, but without following through with the promises they make, there is no way to move forward. This applies to myself, too. I spent a long, long time telling people of my amazing plans without taking any action to make them happen. Now, in my four year sobriety, I have noticed that rather than simply tell everyone around me about my plans, I rather developed an action plan that combined my plans with my goals and enacted them immediately. In the context of consistency and humility, action is one of the most important steps you can take. Without action, you are essentially just waiting for relapse. Your action can be finding a sponsor, applying for jobs, working on your steps, committing yourself to a homegroup, or anything else that you feel is important in your recovery. Waiting to take action is the worst thing you can do in terms of your recovery. Taking action is incredibly rewarding in itself, and not just to addicts. In your sobriety, taking action means that you hold greater responsibility and this allows you to build.
These three ways to maintain long term sobriety may seem simple. However, I truly believe that sobriety can be simple if you want it to be. Your mind is the only thing holding you back, and when you stop listening to your mind and doing what is right, you can embrace sobriety and a new way of living.