” Take heed; you do not find, what you do not seek – English Proverb
… the obvious is that I no longer consume alcohol – “One hundred and Fifty-five Days” today – to be more exact. And while I celebrate my Sobriety I am keenly aware of my own need to figure out and understand my own process of how in the world I got here in the first place – in order to maintain success in my recovery. It’s not enough to say that I was raised by an alcoholic, and an enabler. I have vivid memories of my childhood where the messages (more typically unspoken) were definitely loud and clear – that life was certainly dictated by addiction.
How easy it would be to simply hang my own addiction – substance abuse on somebody else’s coat rack and call it a day. The reality of the situation is that I am completely responsible for my own offensives – It has been my choice to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. Bad things happen to everyone, I have not cornered the market on pain – or the emptiness that is parallel to loss.
That being said, I have experienced a very painful unveiling of my own character flaws, forced to face my own demons – ask myself those tough questions, but more importantly seek to find those answers. I wanted to get beyond the standard relapse prevention techniques – in many ways they are placebos that mask the fact that successful recovery requires a deeper and much broader look at the bigger picture.
“Rock bottom” is as good a place as any in which to build a solid foundation. Figuring out my own triggers and doing the work to correct my very flawed character has been my initial steps in my recovery as well – creating new behavioral patterns. I didn’t want to always feel suspended in mid-flight constantly tackling my demons just to stay sober. Accepting the responsibility for my life – my disease develops that internal locus of control [I am driven by my own actions-my own choice] that allows me the full spectrum of responsibility in maintaining my sobriety.
Toxic Relationships; For me, it became clear that long term recovery would mean I would need to embrace positive change in my life. It’s difficult when you surround yourself with those of self-destructive tendencies I think the more common term is “drama”- spending less time with individuals that have no interest in advancing their lives but seeking out new relationships with others who are invested in pursuing personal growth promotes the calm, clearer, less complicated lifestyle that I knew would be far more beneficial to my overall recovery.
Physical Fitness & Health; A powerful tool of personal growth for me has been exercise and proper nutrition. It has also provided a wonderful distraction but it’s benefits far out weigh the opportunity of escape generally I just feel better with the increase of energy and the clearness of mind it definitely gives me a sense of purpose and focus to tackle the tough days. Fitness certainly is not a criteria for maintaining sobriety – but it sure can’t hurt the process – it has helped me to regain some of my own confidence.
Seek Personal Growth; Perhaps the most important is the attitude and the search for personal improvement in our daily lives – I have witnessed those in recovery who have found the greatest success, they are the ones who are committed to improving their lives daily – no matter how small the effort. Of all the measures that I have taken, the singular most sustaining for me personally has been my relationship with God.
A New Year always brings new goals, hope for the future, for some – resolutions. My New Year brings a New Journey, and a deeper resolve. To reconnect, to live a full life of new opportunities – new adventure maybe even some travel time.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”– Tolstoy
A New Life Program; http://womenforsobriety.org