Updated: Dec 15, 2019
1. Treatment can provide you the tools you need to live your best life.
Treatment is a valuable tool, no matter how long a term you attend or whether it is in-patient or out-patient care. You receive the support, tools, medication, and therapy you need to purge your body of harmful substances and start your sober journey. But beware, it doesn’t end when you are formally “done.” 30-days, 90-days, or even longer is not enough time to teach you everything you need to know about recovery and life. You probably will spend the rest of your days learning all you need to know about self-love, growth, and recovery.
2. Recovery should head your list every day.
Recovery isn’t something you achieve or acquire and then forget about. It’s a continual process, and it changes over time. Recovery must at the top of your list every single day. That means you need to take time out of your day to prioritize your recovery efforts, whether that means going to meetings, following a program, reading recovery literature, prayer and meditation or a combination of all the above. These are not things you can forget about or put off until tomorrow.
3. Recovery is a choice… YOUR choice.
Recovery should be the highest priority every day. Restoration to sobriety is a choice YOU make. It’s not a choice made by someone else or made only once while you’re in treatment. Recovery is a continual series of choices you make every day, including those difficult days when you are challenged. Addiction is not something that is cured at or even after treatment. Addiction is a powerful and cunning disease that could come back to haunt you at any time if you let down your guard. The temptation for alcohol and drug use will always be out there. It’s up to you to use the new skills you learned and put them into play every day to stay strong in your sobriety.
4. Life is going to test you.
Life in sobriety is immeasurably better, but difficulties still arise. There will be tragedies. Family or friends may die; you may have financial difficulties, etc. Even when working on yourself and your program and doing the next right thing, you may experience a whole gamut of emotions. You will still have to overcome difficult circumstances and obstacles in sobriety. When you are used to drinking and getting high as a coping mechanism, difficult situations can once again put your recovery at risk. That’s why recovery is a process which you will need to employ every day. When temptations or hard times come, you can use your new coping talents, and life skills learned in recovery to help you push through to the other side without using or drinking.
5. Other behavioral patterns will need to be challenged and changed.
This may come as news to some to some, but sobriety isn’t just about stopping to drink or drug abusively. It is only the first but most important piece of the puzzle. After you learn how to live without these harmful substances, you’ll have to look at and acknowledge other behaviors that no longer fit within your recovery. There will be toxic friendships, and romantic relationship patterns, and a need to work on other emotional sobriety areas like honesty, resentment, fear and learning healthy ways to express yourself.
Expanded recovery work can seem daunting and may take years to achieve. But that is all right. These learned behaviors can be the basis for change to a much more satisfying and sober life. It’s all about awareness of yourself and learning a new way of life, and being the best you can be.
Recovery is a magnificent thing. It’s not a goal you work hard to achieve then forget about. It’s a lifelong process that is not easy but can and should be supremely satisfying. Recovery requires patience, diligence, hard work, gratefulness, and humility.
Changes will come if you stay the course. Sometimes they will be fast and other times will seem slow. The progress always feels good and is even better when you are a living example for someone else in need and can share your knowledge, experience, strength, and hope.