10 Methods to Minimize the Madness of MaintenanceWritten By: Dr. Kristina Diener Date: February 12th, 2013. Topic: Life and Recovery Coaching.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Lao-Tzu
The Streets of Sobriety can feel like more than a thousand miles, especially if relapse was part of the problem. Many addicts struggle with more than addiction: the battle to conquer impatience and frustration is legendary. So what’s the problem if we fall off the sober wagon by imbibing just a drink or two? At that point you can practice Urge Control vs. Purge Control. If you don’t consider a Bacchanalian feast a problem, then when does the dream drink become a nightmare?
Now for a bit of good news: according to a survey by noted psychologist Saul Shiffman, many addicts eventually conquer their bad habits. Currently in the U.S., there are more ex-smokers (48 million) than current smokers (46 million) and in the largest American survey of alcohol consumption, only one-quarter of the people dependent on alcohol were still drinking heavily the following year. Another long-term study revealed that for cocaine addicts who had entered treatment, more than half were clean five years later. Amazing! See? You can do it!
Follow some simple steps to plan a successful recovery:
- Visualize it. The Greeks did this during the Olympic Games. Visualizing successful sobriety is paramount. Habits can be broken, but it takes 21 days to break a habit and install a new behavior. To start, you must begin the new behavior. Create a vision board and write a list of daily goals.
- Fire your inner liar. You can do it. Make a list of your accomplishments and add SOBRIETY to this new list.
- Goal mates. Find a recovery coach, sponsor, therapist, a clean and sober pal…anyone who is willing to help you.
- Get with a program. 12 steps, Rational Recovery, and other support groups are imperative. Not only will you have a program, you will have the support you desperately require.
- Amputate all relationships that do not serve your goal of recovery. Your “friends” who insist “one drink is OK” are not serving your best interests. Do it for yourself and for your recovery.
- Cultivate new interests that foster sobriety and recovery. Enroll in a class; learn a language; take hikes; up your game at work; find a gym. Engage in productive endeavors that will benefit you and, ultimately, your recovery.
- Keep a journal. This doesn’t mean writing a Russian novel. A few sentences and adjectives are sufficient.
- Meditate. Studies have concluded that meditation increases oxygen flow, mental stability, and the ability to control your mind, rather than your mind controlling you. Download a simple meditation and engage daily.
- Repetition is the core of progress. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll get what you’ve been getting. Now let’s reframe the sobriety game: Keep it sober, clean and recovered.
- Discover some kind of spiritual connection. Yoga, chanting, religion…anything to help you on your road to recovery is fair game.
Decide why you are choosing sobriety. If it’s for other people or to win a court case, consider recovering when you are truly ready. You may find it easier to manage.
Also, remember it is about progress, not perfection. The only reason you are clean and sober today is because you are not drinking or doping. You have two choices: You can win or you can lose, but losing is self destruction. So, really, the best choice is to win.
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