For me this is about staying present in the moment. I don't think about yesterday or tomorrow or even 3 hours ago. I try to remember this throughout my day every day. I am a better listener. I am better at whatever I am doing at that moment . I am more patient when I am present.
Wanting material things made me very prideful and envious. These are two character defects that were detrimental to my sobriety. Each and every day I write things that I am grateful for in my journal such as my wife and our home. These are things that I will not have if I do not put my recovery first in my life. "Today, I am grateful for my sobriety"!
OK, for me this one is very simple. DON'T LIE! During my addiction, I was constantly lying to cover up earlier lies and to continue my addiction. Today I am an honest person. I am honest with myself and others. Also, honesty is not only being honest when I am speaking to someone but also revealing something that might hurt or harm someone if they knew about it.
I would do this all the time in the past! Every situation that was a little troublesome I always made it a lot bigger issue then what it really was. I felt like I needed to control everything. Well now I understand that I don't control anything. GOD does. I am learning to take things for what they are. I understand that it is what it is and then I let it go.
Throughout my recovery I have seen to many times that people with years of sobriety will slip or relapse. I have a very full and structured program. I understand that some of my program may change or lessen over the next months or years. But I also understand that my brain will try and tell me you did it! You made it through recovery and now you can do what you want. I know for me this is a lie that the enemy is also trying to deceive me . The fact of the matter is that I will always be in recovery. I will always do something daily / weekly to keep healing and keep myself protected from living the so called life that I once did. To me it is a small price to pay to make sure I stay healthy, humble and grateful for the rest of my life.
The key is what I think of MYSELF even more then what others may think of me. Understanding that I AM ENOUGH is very important to my recovery. Truly none of us are perfect including the one that may be or may not be judging me. It's also a fact that I don't really know what the other person is thinking about me and in most cases they are not thinking what I imagine they are thinking. So the bottom line for me is "IT'S NONE OF MY BUSINESS WHAT YOU THINK OF ME!".
As a child, I was raised to judge everyone. I was taught to think that I was better than most. People that put others down have low self worth and they create what is called false pride. Today I understand that I am no more and no less. I try to remind myself each and everyday to not objectify or put others down and to understand that we are all an equal part of the same family and that we are all children of GOD!
Research shows that the brain will change after time. I have to retrain the way I think about myself and others. I often ask myself "Am I trying to not act out or am I trying to stay sober ?" There are many pieces of armor in my arsenal and I have to use them each and every day to see results. It's like an athlete trying to get stronger or faster, it will only happen with daily training over a long period of time. To maintain his strength, he must continue to hit the gym daily.
During my first month in recovery, I was starting to feel all of these emotions that I had buried for most of my life. I was told that this was progress and part of the process of healing. It was scary to feel these changes and I didn't know how to deal with them. I started to find out who I really was and I was liking the new person much more then I liked the old one. I did not need to try and fit in all the time and my need to have everyone accept me started to diminish
My expectation of myself and others was always unrealistic. My own expectation of myself was extremely high to try and compensate for my low self worth. Through my healing, I have started to put more reasonable expectations on myself and others.
I am much more at peace by doing this.
So we all have a sobriety bag. When I was in treatment, I was told by one of my favorite therapists who was a recovering addict, " I carry an invisible bag with me everywhere I go each and everyday. At the bottom of this bag are my three different addictions. The rest of my bag is filled with my recovery tools (ARMOR). Each time I am triggered or I feel off, I reach inside my bag and pull out one of my tools and use it." He has been sober for 10 years and to this day he has never gotten to the bottom of the bag.
I have attended hundreds of meetings and not once was there a meeting that I did not learn from someone's sharing or from expressing myself. This also applies to meditation, reading, fellowship and almost every other piece of my ARMOR. If I learned one thing in the meeting, then it was all worth it. Knowing that "one thing" that I might have missed had I not gone to the meeting could prevent a relapse.
Life is a mixture of good and bad times but whatever is happening at this present moment you will be rest assured that it will change. I am learning to sit with any negative emotions that I am feeling. Listen to them and not run from them for I know this too shall pass.
This one is tied in with people pleasing. Because of my low self esteem and low self worth, I was always unsure about my options or the decisions I was making. Being decisive has helped me to stop constantly questioning myself and gain self confidence.
Humility is an attitude that one is human, with weaknesses and the potential to fall. Relapse is a possibility for anyone in recovery. Everyone is vulnerable to it. Humility can thus be the greatest protection against some of the behaviors that could lead an addict back to using.
Lowering my expectations of myself allows me to relax and take things in stride. I find myself laughing more which is something I rarely did during my addiction. As my self esteem grows, I become more comfortable and accepting of me.
During step 12, I realized that to stay sober, I needed to give back what I had learned. I am sharing all the information that has helped me in my recovery . I hope you find the information inspirational and my knowledge helpful. It also helps me to share. I simply have to be around it. I’ve spoken to so many people throughout my journey that have changed their career paths. They found their life’s purpose and became counselors or therapists or something related to helping others with their issues. It's a powerful weapon in my bag of armor!
Learning to be unselfish is not only beneficial to the one's around me but surprisingly it is also improving my self worth. Helping others and giving back makes me feel better about myself.
Early on in my recovery I started to understand that my priorities were changing. The things that were important to me before are now not important at all. My thinking and my feelings about myself, others, and life started to shift as I started to use my armor. I liked how the changes made me start to feel about myself and others. So now my life is very different. The things of the past are distancing themselves from me. I know for this to stay the way it is, I must continue the way I live each and every day.
A positive, grateful and unselfish attitude is the key to changing the way you look at things!
So, what will you do today to stay sober?
HAVE FAITH THAT WITH RECOVERY FIRST ALL ELSE WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF!
There is nothing more important and valuable in recovery than meetings! The supporting fellowship of meetings is the most important part of any recovery program. The nonjudgmental environment of people dealing with the same issue allows you to open up and express your struggles and victories throughout your recovery. Each time you share in a meeting it not only helps you it almost always benefits another member of your group as well. The more you deepen the connections and relationships with other group members the more support you will have when you are struggling and alone outside of the meetings. If you have more that one meeting in your program and its not always possible to attend each one I would recommend you have one that is an absolute no matter what you will be there. This is where the healing happens and you will find potential sponsors and eventually as you progress in your sobriety even become one.