When you go through recovery, a lot of people think of the typical AA meetings, having sponsors, and the 12 steps; but that is far from the only way to recover.
Take it from me; at 18 months sober as of yesterday, October 20th . The only AA meetings I’ve been to /were way before I took my recovery seriously, and even then I knew they weren’t for me.
So when I opted for the non-traditional route, almost everyone was skeptical. My liver specialist urged and pleaded with me to find an AA program that fit my lifestyle, even suggesting some online programs, communities, and forums. All of that was very welcome and heavily considered over weeks and months of time.
Remember, your life is an art, not a science.
Here are some of the top things that keep me sober without the 12 steps:
Be honest; especially when it comes to triggers and desires
Remembering why I’m doing this
I’ll go in depth a little about each one, and there are plenty of outside ways to get help from addiction that I will go into at later dates. These things might be hiring a recovery coach, individual therapy visits, or a non 12 treatment center but there are also more options if none of those suit you.
Be honest – this one comes in waves of difficulty; some days the waves are small and some days the waves are violent and terrifying. It’s still best, to be honest. Being honest about your feelings were happy or sad, and talking through them can help you understand more about yourself. Especially when you are faced with a trigger or sudden urge to use again, that’s when honesty is at the utmost importance. Don’t be afraid to say, “man, I really feel like drinking right now because I feel so stressed out. I feel stressed out because…” and take it from there. Admitting that you want to drink is not having a drink, and admitting that you are thinking about a drink does not mean you are drinking it. Talk about it with someone you trust, and leave it there when you are done talking.
Positive/Sober Community – Instagram quickly became my favorite social media platform for this reason entirely. There are people on there, serious and real people who are focused on bettering their life, as well as cheering you on too!
These people provide love and support in ways you will never get from the people you see every day. I’m not trying to knock your loved ones at all, but these online communities are filled with other people who understand it firsthand, in a way that many of your loved ones couldn’t approach unless they too have experienced it.
As much as they love you and it hurt them to see you addicted, they were not the ones waking up in jail cells, getting in fights after day drinking, or bringing home random drunk purchases -in one instance I bought pet rats…yes you read that right…dumb drunk purchase no. 857.
Why am I doing this? -If I ever think about drinking, and I have to be honest, it’s not that often, I remember those nights I laid awake in the hospital, and I picture the doctor walking away from my parents as my mom sobs uncontrollably. I can see them standing at the foot of my bed looking at each other in desperation as their only child lays in a hospital bed, the same hospital she was born in, and taking her last few breaths with the assistance of monitors, wires, and hoses. That’s a pretty sobering thought if I do say so myself; one that keeps me on the straight and narrow.
Everyone has their own reason for quitting and if you can really hold onto that, hold fast to that reason and remain committed, you will find sobriety comes easier and easier after every trigger.