I got sober on May 17th, 2015 by the grace of god. I had first attempted to get sober about 5 years earlier than that and stumbled many times until I finally achieved what I believe to be true sobriety. I simply did not know how to deal with it myself. What I did this time in early recovery was so different than my other times and I love to stress what was different to others because I find we all make common mistakes in early recovery and go back ‘out there’.’
Be Transparent With Others
Transparency is a word I like to use every day with myself. It means I am being completely honest with those I interact with and most importantly I am being honest with myself. Being honest with myself and others was hard in early recovery, I had a lot of shame and embarrassment I carried with myself and I was worried I was being judged for being less than. The beauty of the fellowships we have in recovery and can create in inpatient treatment are that we meet people who have that common denominator of alcoholism/addiction and they have most definitely been where we have been before in early recovery. Transparent honesty is respected in those circles and because of that when we truly let people know how we feel in our support networks, they not only relate but they know you are being authentic with them, that you genuinely want help. It really is the opposite of how I thought how people would react when I told them how I really felt. Next time someone asks how you’re doing and you’re having a bad day, tell them how you really feel and I promise you will feel at least a little better after opening up.
2. Make Your Word Mean Something
Before coming into recovery this time, I could not be relied on. If I told you I would do something for you or if I would be somewhere, it was a complete toss-up if I would follow through, most times I could easily say I would not. I knew this had to change in my life. I wanted to be somebody with integrity, that’s what this whole deal is about, changing. If I told anyone that I would do something or attend something, I made it top priority to follow through with it. It is amazing how naturally my mind wanted me to back out of things I set up to do, that is the battle we all face, between doing the right thing and doing what our mind says we should do. There is extremely important growth in those first few times you choose not to listen to your mind trying to get you to back out and to just do what’s right. It’s some of the most important first steps I took in early recovery. Living with integrity feels terrific, it just will not come naturally to us addicts/alcoholics.
3. Take Action
A major problem I suffered from in addiction that carried over to early recovery. I was lazy, very lazy. I made excuses for everything and put off everything I possible could til the last minute because sitting and relaxing was comfortable, going out into the world and building a new like was not comfortable. We learn early on that we only grow when we are uncomfortable in this deal, comfort is great, we all love it, but it means we stay stagnant. I had been stagnant for about 6 years before I got sober this time. Whether it meant finding a job, finding a sponsor, doing homework I was assigned to by a sponsor, finding a home group, anything at all, I made sure to do it right away. I realized in the past I waste so much time worrying about when I would get something done and making excuses as to why I can do it later, that it was so much easier to do things right away. Again, our sick minds do not want this to occur, that’s when we tell our minds ‘thanks for sharing’ but I am going to do this right now. The benefit of it is outstanding, doing things I was supposed to right away, no matter how simple, made me feel so fulfilled and just like I was finally doing what i’m supposed to do. We need to feel benefits from recovery otherwise we are not going to last. Taking immediate action in our life is the best way to reap the benefits.
I hope these words find someone well, these are simple yet life-changing attitudes. Just remember you are worth saving.