Another year in recovery is ahead of us with the opening of 2019 this coming Tuesday. Which means each person working a program has an opportunity to sets some realistic goals for the 365 days to come. It doesn’t matter how much time a person is clean and sober; one can always find areas to strengthen while on the quest for sustained recovery.
It should go without having to say that no one works a perfect program of addiction recovery. All men and women keep doing the next right thing with the sincere hope of finding serenity. A person never “arrives” or reaches some type of finish line; people living with addiction never wake up and think to themselves, ‘Great, I’m recovered!’ No matter how strong a person’s program is, he or she will make mistakes or judgment errors from time to time. Again, all each of us can do is to continue striving to become the best version of ourselves ever.
So, if you have 5 days or 5 years sober, you can always find aspects of your recovery that can use some adjustment. In every person’s recovery, some adaptations can be made to make one’s program more resilient to the everlasting pull of the disease. With that in mind, change must be a process that happens when the time is right; decisions to do things differently should be made cautiously. And, always consult with your support network before making any significant alterations to how you conduct yourself in recovery.
Don’t Fix It, If Isn’t Broken
As 2018 winds down, it can be beneficial to take a close look at your program and recovery routine. Making a brief inventory of your strengths and weaknesses can provide you with a starting point for setting realistic goals for recovery in 2019. Ask yourself questions like:
- Am I attending meetings often enough;
- Sharing, when I’d rather be silent;
- Calling my sponsor regularly;
- Finding service or volunteer opportunities;
- And, making a point of extending my hand to newcomers?
Naturally, each person can always do more, but with that in mind, it is valuable to have a grasp of your limitations. Sure, attending two meetings, seven days a week may strengthen one’s program, but it may take your attention away from other areas that need to be addressed. It is vital that people avoid taking on more than they can handle. Moreover, men and women must be honest about where they are doing enough (addicts and alcoholics have a penchant for perfectionism); if it seems like you are meeting your quotient in one department, then there is no sense in trying to fix something that is not broken. Instead, focus on those areas of your life that – you can clearly see – necessitate improvement.
If you rarely stay put after a meeting to introduce yourself to a newcomer, resolving to do the opposite is in order going forward. Take a moment and remind yourself how you felt when a perfect stranger showed an interest in your life when you were wearing the shoes of a newcomer. The wheels of recovery continue to turn because the community works together and pays forward the gifts freely bestowed. Recovery loses its potency if an individual takes what they need and keeps what they have learned to his or herself.
Once you have taken steps to assess your program’s vitality, ask a trusted peer or sponsor for their thoughts. Such persons may recognize something that you have missed, or they may point out that what you thought was a problem, is not. One’s list may be short or long, but what is crucial is that each person in recovery stays proactive.
A Safe and Sober New Year’s Eve
At Hope By The Sea, our dedicated staff would like to wish everyone who is working a program a safe and sober New Year’s Eve. We are confident that if you continue to practice the principles of recovery and utilize the tools and skills learned in treatment, you can make it into the new year without a relapse. Please keep your cell phone charged on Monday; attend meetings; and, stay close to your support network as much as possible. Those who do so can ensure that they start 2019 strong.
Please contact Hope By The Sea if you are ready to make your recovery resolutions a reality in 2019. We can answer any question you have about our program and help you take the first step to mind, body and spirit wellness.