While the backbone of any successful sobriety program may necessarily rest on formal protocols such as attending support group meetings and reading recommended recovery literature, there are many other practices that can help a recovering addict maintain sobriety. This is where staying sober with an inspirational reading list, enjoying hobbies with like-minded sober souls, and other activities can help you maintain your sobriety.
1. Build Your Inspirational Reading List
In your personal sobriety maintenance program, the first order of business should be to marshal control of your own mind. Often, an addict’s primary enemy is not the addiction but the thoughts in his mind. If you do not give your mind something to do, rest assured that it has every intention of finding occupation for itself.
2. Rediscover Favorite Hobbies
Before you started drinking and using, you occupied your time with something else. What was it? The “getting sober” process is just a short period in any addict’s life, but the “staying sober” process lasts a lifetime. Staying sober is not necessarily about staying sober. Rather, it is about building a life where drinking or using is no longer needed, wanted, or even considered.
3. Get Involved with Service
Research indicates twice as many addicts achieve sustained sobriety when they are involved with serving others. While much of this research does focus on service as outlined in twelve step recovery communities, the simple truth is that any kind of service is better than no service. Service to others gives you a means to say “thank you” to those who supported you.
4. Do Something Physical
Physical exercise not only makes the body feel better, but it is harder to achieve after you have been drinking or using. If you rediscover pleasure in swimming, jogging, hiking, birding, or other physical pursuits, you will soon notice if you relapse, you have a harder time doing these things. So doing something physical can help create a situation where your body partners with you to resist breaking your sobriety.
5. Take a Class
Learning not only engages your active mind, but it reminds you that you are smart and can learn new things – including and beyond sobriety – at any time. You can also meet new people, hear their stories, and enjoy together the process of starting something from scratch. Whether you view taking a class as a recovery metaphor or a simple act of discovering something new, there is no doubt it is beneficial.
6. Move to a New Place
Sometimes one of the biggest obstacles to maintaining sobriety is the presence of the familiar. If you move to a new place – whether temporarily or permanently – it can get you out of your comfort zone and help you experience yourself and life in a new way.
7. Keep a Journal
Just as writing down your goals is a way to ensure you are more likely to achieve them, keeping a journal is a way to ensure you are aware of the reasons why you drink or use so you are more likely to avoid them. Keeping a journal is also very respectful in that you are showing yourself that your thoughts and choices have value.
8. Get a Plant and a Pet
In the movie “28 Days,” patients at a rehabilitation house are told that when they can keep a plant and a pet alive for a year, they are ready to have a relationship. So get a plant. Get a pet. Serve them and feel their total dependence on you, and let that be an encouragement to remain sober.
9. Embrace the Twelve Steps
There is a big difference between just going to recovery or 12 step meetings and actually getting a sponsor, working hard, and embracing the stories and teachings of a recovery community. Addicts are good at using drink or drugs to keep emotion out. Let the stories of others in – let your own story in – and you will find it easier to find the inner resolve to stay sober.
10. Encourage Yourself
Whether you choose affirmations, a non-chemical reward program, or other means to encourage yourself by all means remember the road you are embarking on is very rough. You need to be your own cheerleader to achieve lasting sobriety. Put a plan in place to congratulate yourself for even the smallest victories and you can expect more where those came from.
This article was provided by Vincent Guerrera who loves to read recovery literature, Vincent is a motivational speaker who has battled the demons of addiction. He walked through the fire and today he is living proof that when you want recovery bad enough, miracles can happen through learning from his inspirational reading list.