Getting sober can seem like trying to navigate a blizzard without a map or a flashlight. It’s unchartered territory for most of us, and it can be disorienting unless we have the proper tools and guidance. Here is a quick checklist you can use or adapt to your own early recovery to make sure you’re developing a foundation that will keep you going, even when things get rough.
1. Support Group
The very first thing most people in recovery need is a solid, reliable group of people to provide support. This is important for a large variety of reasons, but the first consideration is accountability. Most people aren’t able to stay sober on their own, and the reason for this is simple: They have no one to hold them accountable. Without a group of people who understand precisely what you’re going through, you won’t have anyone to make sure you’re staying on track. You have to rely on your own ideas and your own thinking, which, unfortunately, has often led all of us astray in the past.
Once you’ve found a support group and stayed sober for a while, you can also learn the importance and value of giving back to the group. You’ll be able to return the favor to people who come into the group with less time sober than you. This cycle is the driving force of almost every recovery group, and it can provide immeasurable value to you.
2. Mentors, Sponsors, and Guides
In Alcoholics Anonymous, getting a sponsor is absolutely foundational to the program – you can hardly work the program without one! Other recovery groups may not have “sponsors,” per se, but almost every effective recovery model includes mentorship of some kind. This is important because, while the group is a useful accountability tool, sponsorship or mentorship can take this to the next level.
No matter how close you are with the people in your recovery group, you’ll never be able to dive deep into personal issues with every single person in the group. Likewise, they can’t all be available to help you through crises, although some of them are sure to be there for you. A sponsor or mentor fills this role. You can get truly honest with them on a gut level, and they can provide you individualized guidance.
“Connection” is a vague, broad term, but in this context, we’re talking about your connection to the world around you. Some people find this through spirituality or religion. Others find it through more secular means, but the concept is the same. While we’re drinking or using, we have lost our place in the world. We haven’t considered the larger forces moving around us, whether it be God, nature, or the ebb and flow of humanity.
It may seem silly to indulge in these kinds of grandiose concepts while we’re fighting for our lives. Still, the experience of countless addicts and alcoholics who have gone before us indicate the vital importance of a connection to the world around us. It grounds us, centers us, and provides us with humility when we need it most.
Self-care is essential throughout your recovery, though not all recovery programs emphasize this practice. It’s vital that you learn to balance recovery work, career, family, and personal time. The earlier you put this balance into practice, the easier it will be to maintain as things become increasingly more hectic in your life. When you get sober, you may have none of these things, but your life will improve and get busy if you stay sober long enough. If you already have a good habit of prioritizing self-care, you’ll get through these issues with ease.
5. Self-Reflection and/or Therapy
Just about every recovery program in the world includes some sort of self-reflection built right into it. In Alcoholics Anonymous, this is the 4th and 10th step inventories. If you follow a more religious path, this might be confession or something similar. Either way, the point is to make sure we’re always aware of what’s going on inside. We need to look into our past with an honest and open mind. We need to pay attention to our behaviors and feelings every day. If we can start doing this in the early days of recovery, we’ll become masters before long.
Give back! Service is one of the purest forms of spiritual expression, and you can start this practice almost from day one of your sobriety. No matter where you are, look around and see what needs to be done. Find people who need help and find ways to make yourself useful at all times. The more you focus on this in your early sobriety, the quicker and less confusing your recovery will become.
Before we can get into any of the steps outlined above, we first have to ask for help. If you’re interested in learning to live a new way of life, Hired Power can help you take that first step. Our monitoring services are a great way to seamlessly incorporate accountability into your life. Our sober transport program makes sure you get to your sober living or treatment center safe and sound. Once you’ve gotten a foothold in recovery, ask how our sober coaching program can help you remain sober for years to come. Give us a call today at (800) 910-9299 to learn more about the services we offer.