By Daniel Wittler
Sobriety is the hardest yet most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. For a long time in my life I was able to initially go to treatment, gain some hope and get sober and then had major trouble sustaining it. Anyone who has been sober for some time will tell you it's one thing to get sober and it is a whole different thing to stay sober. There are so many things I have to do in order to keep my sobriety strong, and you will find we all as individuals has different things we may have to work on, I'd like to give some tips/principles we all should follow to keep our sobriety intact.
Don't Be Content on Yesterday's Sobriety
I got sober in 2012 and relapsed after about 15 months. I look back and there were so many lessons to be learned from it. The biggest thing I learned is that I can't count on things I have done in the past to keep me sober today. For example, let's say I spend a week volunteering at a community center for 4 hours a day and it feels great, I can't count on that to keep me feeling happy and positive for the next few weeks because I helped out so much in a short time. If you have a small span of days where you are very helpful to others that is great, but don't let that excuse you from having to do anything for the days after that! Every day I wake up my slate is clean, whatever happened yesterday whether it was good or bad does not matter. It's a new day and I need to do what I have to that day to keep myself sober. We are promised nothing but today.
Have a Strong Network
If you have made it over a year sober than there is a very good chance you did not do it alone. While walking the path of recovery successfully we meet and bond with a lot of people who are in the same boat as us. Having that common denominator of dealing with addiction brings us closer together than most groups of people are able to. It is so important that I have a group of people in my daily life that I can turn to at any time. As we get deeper into recovery our lives also become more complex, which is a great thing but it also means we can have bigger obstacles thrown at us than ever before. When obstacles do present themselves to us there is something about opening up about it to those close to us and receiving feedback about it that really helps with the stress and anxiety that comes with life's problems. If a problem sits and ruminates in my mind for days at a time it only grows worse and I become more obsessed with the problem I'm having. When I open it up to the group of men in my life they always have a different perspective or tell me that I am over analyzing the situation (usually the case for me). In the same way these guys are there for me, I am there for them no matter what. Make sure you have that in your life, if you do not I promise it is not hard to seek out. We are all in this together.
Consistency can be a hard thing in early recovery. We have been taught so many new ways to live and new ideas on life that listening to them and acting on them seems so unnatural. My first year sober was mostly filled with finding someone I trust in recovery and having them tell me what to do. My opinion was not important on the matter. Where I usually came up short is I would try something for a few days, and then I would go back to my old ways very quickly, that is basically my life story in a nutshell. Things were different this time though, it was so important I took things a day at a time and found a sort of ritual I would do each day between prayer and meditation, going to a meeting, speaking with a sponsor or peer in recovery and being completely honest the whole time I did those things. I’m not saying that has to be your ritual, but find a healthy one and don’t stop doing it, I promise you will see results. Our way does not work so we find someone with time in recovery to teach us and we practice it every day.
Bio: Daniel Wittler is a writer in recovery from South Florida as well as an outreach coordinator at Stodzy Internet Marketing. He is passionate in sharing the message that absolutely anyone can get sober provided they are ready to change.