The one thing that holds true for everyone’s sobriety is that everybody’s journey is different. However, there are a few things that were suggested to me in the last three months of my treatment that have proven to be really helpful. I like to call them my “sobriety tools.” After all, I’m building a new, sober life, and I must have some tools to do that.
These suggestions were simple (regardless of whether or not I felt like doing them on any given day): going to meetings, getting a sponsor, finding a group of people I trust, and keeping myself busy.
When I got into treatment, going to meetings wasn’t a suggestion, it was a requirement. So, I did what I had to, and was surprised when I ended up falling in love with the atmosphere and camaraderie. Now, I look forward to meetings, because they give me a chance to get out of my head, connect with people who understand many of the things I am feeling, be grateful for where I am, and help out someone else. Plus, going to different meetings has given me an option to explore and push my comfort zone, as well as get multiple commitments. Meetings keep me grounded when life gets overwhelming or when I want to give up, as well as giving me an opportunity to be a part of a great community.
When it was suggested that I look for a sponsor, I was hesitant at first. What if she says no? What if I say something stupid? What if, what if, what if?
But when I worked up the courage, and asked this woman to be my sponsor, she responded with a big smile, and gave me her phone number. A sponsor-sponsee relationship can be challenging at times, but it’s an amazing feeling to have someone walk you through the steps and the book, as well as checking in and seeing how you’re doing. Getting a sponsor helped me to begin the process of getting out of my shell of anger and isolation, and really put me more towards the center of working a solid program.
Trust had been a big block for me throughout my life, and I had to change that in order to move forward in my sobriety. Finding a group of people I trusted was difficult. I had a few close friends go out and lose contact, and my perception of things is skewed.
However, when I kept going to meetings and meeting with my sponsor and meeting with her friends as well, I found my own group of trusted and—gasp!—sober friends growing. I can trust my friends to see the best in me, and want the best for me, when I can’t want those things for myself.
Keeping myself busy has really kept me from going off the deep end in early sobriety. I had my energy to focus on groups, work, meetings, step work, writing, and hobbies. I didn’t have the time to really let my mind wander towards boredom or using, even during the craziest of the cravings. I’ve always liked a busy schedule, but in my sobriety, planning my time has kept me set on a track that I feel good about.
There are innumerable ways to get and stay sober. This is only a glimpse of the toolbox that is available in sobriety, and the best part of it is that the tools are available all day, every day. Situations may call for different responses than others, but these have proven to be my most effective core tools in being happy in sobriety, and staying sober!