People come to treatment for one reason and one reason only: to get sober.
But therein lies the issue – getting sober is great, and residential addiction recovery programs are great at getting people sober, but let’s face it, the name of the game is staying sober.
Do you want to be productive? You had better stay sober.
Do you want to be reliable? You had better stay sober.
Do you want to be happy? You had better stay sober.
Do you want to live your best life? I think you understand what we’re getting at. The list of these questions goes on and on, but the answer remains the same.
You had better stay sober.
But how does one stay sober? Whatever it is that’s caused you to drink, drug, or engage in other destructive behaviours better be analyzed, and you had better prioritize staying in the solution.
You better find some meaning and purpose. Decide what sort of things matter to you, and go about dedicating the requisite time to see them through. Laziness will no longer cut it; the only thing giving 50% effort will ensure is 50% results. And remember, we can’t afford those.
Find a mission for your life, and commit to it. The mission doesn’t have to be something that’ll encompass the rest of your existence, rather it’s a general outcome you desire to reach. The principles you enact in your life will serve as guideposts to the ultimate destination. Structure is required and the man or woman who desires to stay sober must be intentional with their actions.
Honesty is vital. And we’re not talking about only being honest when it’s convenient. Be honest in your speech, relationships and your feelings. Be vulnerable and you’ll find connection with people worth connecting with.
Humans are social beings, and that’s whether you’re an introvert or extrovert. Of course, the degrees to which we need socialization varies, but we all need it nonetheless. You had better carefully select the individuals that you’re going to surround yourself with. If you still blame your friends for the fact that you ended up needing rehab in the first place, that’s a problem. Take ownership. But that’s not to say that you should surround yourself with the same type of people.
Do you have a sponsor? Good, I sure hope so. If you don’t, get one now. Follow their lead, and if you’re not getting what you need out of him or her, find a new one. An old rule of thumb that kicks around is if they cancel on you the first two times you’re supposed to meet, without a very good reason, it’s probably not going to work. It’s not personal, this is strictly business. Remember, we want to be productive, reliable, happy and living our best life. This isn’t easy stuff to do, and I hope you realize that. People without problems find this stuff difficult, so you had better commit to doing the necessary things.
What about your family and loved ones? Whether you’re not even on talking terms, they’ve already forgiven you, or something in the middle, do your best to keep your side of the street clean. What does that mean? Act with integrity. Always do the next right thing. Think about how your actions impact other people – because every action has a similar reaction.
Remember: the bigger they are, the harder they fall. If you’re under some illusion that you’re unique and won’t need to work at this, just know how vulnerable you are. Great things take effort and being productive, reliable, happy and successful aren’t accomplished overnight. Many men and women with significant time sober have fallen after letting their guard down. This disease is manageable, but you’ll actually have to manage it.
Recognize the blessings you have, and be appreciative. Did you know that just being from North America puts you in the top 1-2% of wealth and quality of life? The possibilities that you have open to you are literally endless, but you’ll need to put the work in to make them happen. What are you grateful for? I suggest you remind yourself about these things – regularly.
Now you know who stays sober. What are you willing to do to ensure that you fall into this category?
Further Reading: Ok, I’m Sober. Now What?
Written for Together We Can by Tristan Elliott, a third-year BBA student who currently works as the Marketing & Communications Coordinator. He is passionate about issues affecting the local community, personal finance, the economy, and Canada as a whole.