Tag Archives: support network

Recovery Resolutions for 2018

recovery

January 1st is the first blank page of a 365-page book, or so the saying goes. Even if you make a daily commitment to working a program for recovery, there is always room for improvement. After all, addiction recovery is about progress; there isn’t a finish line, one’s work can never cease. It’s vital to understand that while you are doing all the right things (i.e., meetings and sponsorship), there is always more that you can do for your program.

Addiction recovery is about many things, a routine being one of importance. We all get accustomed to waking up, prayer and meditation, attending our “homegroup,” and working with a sponsor or sponsoring others. Critical ingredients to the recipe for recovery to be sure, but we can all do little things to inject vitality into our program. We can make small changes that can have a massive impact on our ability to stay the course.

It’s paramount that we never rest on our laurels, that we continue to seek out or inquire with others about how to shore up our spiritual defenses. As humans, we are continually changing and evolving into different people; which means that our program must adapt, as well. Stagnation is not a friend to recovery.

Recovery Resolutions for 2018

When New Year’s comes around, most Americans spend a little time thinking of areas in one’s life that can be improved. For the average person, a resolution could be as simple as vowing not to speed behind the wheel anymore. Whereas people in recovery may consider working their program a little differently and think about a few things they can do to better walk the road of lasting recovery.

Making alterations to one’s daily, weekly, or monthly recovery schedule can have a positive effect on your life. If you are like most people recovering from alcohol and substance use disorder, then you are in the habit of going to the same meetings on a regular basis. This year, in addition to going to your homegroup, please consider branching out meeting-wise. You will meet new people who may prove beneficial to your mission, in turn enlarging your support network. Going to different meetings will also get you out of your comfort zone, which is often a teachable moment.

Speaking of one's comfort zone, those of you who are reticent about sharing in meetings might think to add “opening up” with others to your to-do list. Recovery is a social enterprise; we can’t do this alone; without the help of others, progress is impossible. Each of us needs feedback from others, and if we are not open and honest with our peers or sponsor, they won’t know how to support us. Sharing is the forum by which we learn, and when we share we can help others who may be struggling in their own life. You never know how your share might affect someone else in positive ways. If you have not regularly been sharing, try making a point of doing it more in 2018.

May the Light of Recovery Always Surround You

Along with progress, there may be times of trouble and tribulation in the coming year. We have no way of knowing what lies beyond the horizon; anything one can do to ensure serenity, the better. Prayer and meditation are excellent ways to stay grounded when stress rears its ugly head, then we can respond to it calmly. Those who emphasize spirituality per diem, are better equipped to react to stressors and triggers in healthy ways. The light of recovery shines on those who open their heart and mind to a power-greater-than-them-self. Armed with spirituality, we stay centered, and as a result, can mitigate the risk of relapse.

Naturally, there are several more recovery resolutions that one might consider for 2018. You might shed some light on areas of your program that could use adjustment by sitting down and talking with someone in your support network. Others may notice things that you cannot see; the best insight often comes from the outside.

The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to wish everyone a productive year ahead.

Staying Connected With Your Recovery

recoveryIf you are an active member of an addiction recovery program, then you are probably acutely aware of the fact that your addiction is just waiting for you to slip up and welcome drugs and alcohol back into your life. Addiction is a treatable condition. Through continued spiritual maintenance and active participation in one of many recovery support programs—we can, and do recover. But we can never delude ourselves in thinking that addiction can be cured, or that one day you will wake up and declare, “I’m an ex-alcoholic or ex-addict.” Just like the diabetic who takes insulin every day, their condition is not cured but rather contained. Every day people working a program of addiction recovery need to take certain steps to ensure, or rather, mitigate the chance of a relapse. Without active participation in your own recovery, long-sobriety is unlikely. Addiction does not take a day off from trying to find its way back into the forefront of one’s life, so then, it stands to reason that your recovery does not accumulate vacation time. To think otherwise, as many have, is nothing short of dangerous. As we approach the holiday season, it is vital that you keep this in mind, otherwise you may slip back into old behaviors and potentially relapse.

Staying Sober This Thanksgiving

Addiction recovery is difficult under normal day-to-day circumstances. Having a bad day, or letting yourself become stressed, angry or tired can hamper one’s program; if such feelings are not quickly addressed, bad decisions can follow. While holidays are supposed to be about joining friends and family in celebration, for people in recovery, such days can quickly become too much to handle. With Thanksgiving just over 24 hours away, it is important that you recognize how strong you are in your recovery—particularly regarding your ability to be around family. Let’s face it, holidays can be tumultuous even for people who do not have a substance use disorder. But unlike the average person, uncomfortable and stressful environments can take a toll on one’s recovery—leading to rash decisions that can result in picking up a drink or a drug. If you know that you will be attending a family gathering this Thursday, be sure to discuss it with your sponsor and the other members of your support network. There is a good chance that this can aid in guiding you through the holiday by helping you spot situations that may be risky, such as associating with relatives who you used to get drunk or high with during holidays past. What’s more, there is a good chance that they will tell you to always have your phone handy so that you can reach out before a particular matter gets out of hand. If you follow the suggestions of the people in the program who have more sober holidays under their belt, then there is no reason for you to have to open your eyes Friday morning with regret on your mind.

Staying Connected With Recovery

Many people working a program of recovery have yet to fully clean up the wreckage of their past. Meaning, presently their family may not be a part of their life. It is a reality that can be hard to deal with during the holidays. At PACE Recovery Center, we implore you to not be discouraged about the people that you do not have in your life, and take stock in those who are an active part of your life. If you have no familial obligations this Thursday, use it as an opportunity to be there for your fellow recovering alcoholics or addicts. During the course of Thanksgiving, there will be meetings occurring around the clock and you would do yourself a service by attending some of them. You may have something to share at a meeting that can help another who is new to recovery: A person who might be contemplating giving up on recovery before they have a chance to experience some of the miracles. Recovery is only possible if we help each other stay the course. We would like to wish everyone in recovery a drug and alcohol free Thanksgiving. Every obstacle you overcome, only serves to strengthen your program. Please remember:
  • Avoid getting hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT).
  • Stay connected to your support network as much as possible.
  • Stay clear of risky people, places and things.
  • Keep your phone charged, turned on and easily accessible.
  • Don’t drink or drug, no matter what.

Early Recovery and Romantic Relationships

early recovery

If you are new to recovery, and have started attending 12-Step meetings, it is likely that you have been bombarded with a lot of information and tips for achieving success in the program. There is very good chance that the people you have met, in the rooms of recovery, cautioned you about people, places and things that could jeopardize your recovery. They have probably warned you about forming romantic relationships within the first year, or until you have worked all the “steps” honestly. As simple as that advice may sound, what you choose to do with that guidance could actually make or break your recovery.

Most people who enter a program of recovery, attempting to turn their life around, have no idea what a healthy relationship is, or what it looks like. Especially since most people with a history of addiction, also have a history of unhealthy relationships. People with substance abuse issues typically gravitate towards others with similar or the same problem. The old saying that ‘misery loves company’ couldn’t be further from the truth. Somebody who drinks or drugs heavily typically doesn’t want to be involved with teetotaler. Perhaps that was your experience?

There are a number of things that can get in the way of your program, especially in early recovery. It could easily be argued that after resentment, relationships take the prize for setting people in recovery on a course to relapse. If you are a young man, clean and sober from drugs and alcohol for the first time, there is a good chance that you have started bubbling with romantic ambition. It would be wise to resist the urge to pursue someone with romantic intention in early recovery. You may be reading this and are saying to yourself, “problem solved, I was in a relationship when I started the journey of living a healthier life.” While that is a valid point, if your partner is still actively using drugs and/or alcohol, it could compromise your program.

Growing Apart in Early Recovery

When you made the choice to pick up the pieces of your life, and embark on a journey of spiritual resurrection, there is a chance that your romantic partner had different plans. He or she may not be ready to admit that they, too, have a problem that needs to be addressed. Or, maybe they do not actually have a substance use disorder and are not in need of treatment or 12-Step meetings. Either way, when one’s partner is “using” while the other is not, it can and often does cause a void in the relationship. It is a schism that can manifest itself in a number of ways.

Having a partner who you once drank or drugged with (who is still using) often has a triggering effect, which could make you want to use again. Naturally, you need to be vigilant in fighting off such urges, and the best way to do that is to invest more of yourself into the program. Recovery is not something that we achieve on our own, we stay the course by forming bonds with a sponsor and a network of peers that you can lean on when times are difficult. Over time you may realize that your romantic relationship is no longer tenable, and that separating is the surest way of protecting the gains you have made in the program.

True Relationships in Early Recovery

If your partner’s continued use is having an impact on you in early recovery, talk to your sponsor and recovery peers. If they advise you to end your relationship for the sake of your recovery, that may be the best course. Your recovery, as you probably have gathered already, must come before anything else. Without your program, you cannot find the gifts of long-term recovery.

In early recovery, your relationship with a “higher power” is the most important, followed by your sponsor and support network. If your partner or spouse is not part of your support network, then she is likely having a countering effect. You have to ask yourself, what is important to you Today? Hopefully, the answer is your recovery.

Continuing Your Education In Recovery

recovery, collegeFor many young adults who require, or have required treatment for a substance use disorder, it usually means taking a hiatus from higher learning. Recovery, especially early recovery, demands one’s complete dedication to clearing the mind and body of drugs and alcohol, and learning the skills necessary for being able to not have to pick up a drink or drug ever again. Naturally, college is not going anywhere, but many young adults upon completing treatment want to rush back to school. Hurrying back to college may not be conducive to recovery, even if your parents or other family members are pushing for it. While college is a place of learning and working towards the future, it also where a lot of drinking and drug use occurs - which are extremely dangerous to be around in early recovery.

Thinking It Through

Before you commit to going back to school you should discuss it thoroughly with your sponsor and/or therapist. Even if you feel like you are at a place in recovery to take on the added pressure of a class load, they may not feel like you are ready for it and that such pressure may compromise your program. It is often said that people who are new to recovery should avoid making major life decisions during the first year. The more time you have, the stronger you are likely to be when the time comes to continue your education. Remember that failing to put the needs of your recovery first can become a slippery slope that leads back to a drink or drug.

Recovery Support Network

If you are at a place to where education will not strain your recovery, it is important to establish a support network where you will be attending classes. A number of colleges have dorms that house people who are in recovery, if you will be living in the dorms it may be in your interest to find out if that option is available. It is a guarantee that there are other young adults, like yourself, that you can connect with; staying close to such people will be of great benefit should a problem arise. Always remember you can find AA and NA meetings in every neighborhood.

Taking It Slow

When going back to school, it is suggested that people working a program start with a smaller class load. Doing so will help you get your footing, easing you back into the swing of things and keep you from becoming overwhelmed. A number of people have dove head first back into college, taking over 12 units; this is often the result of feeling like you are behind your peers because you took time off to recover. Many of the aforementioned will relapse because they have taken on too heavy of a burden and their recovery was put on the back burner. Education is not a race, and as long as recovery comes first, you will have a better chance of staying clean and sober and come out the other side with a degree.