There is a saying in the rooms of 12-step programs that it is truly a “One day at a time” program and this certainly has been my experience in recovery both for myself as well as others who I know and work with as the recovery journey moves forward.
The steps of recovery have no end and are an ongoing process that require a variety of personality changes in order to maintain not only physical sobriety, but emotional and spiritual well-being in order to maintain that serenity and thus maintain the physical sobriety that takes an ongoing program of recovery in itself.
I have found that there are some things that help to keep recovery going strong when things get hard in life and we think about tossing in the towel and giving up. These steps that we can take are in addition to the steps found in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous that help us alcoholics and addicts so much.
There are four things that I do on a daily basis that keep me engaged in that recovery process that I have learned keep me focused on the solution of the steps and on living life in a positive way and keep me engaged in this ongoing journey of recovery, instead of looking for a destination and that finish line that does not exist.
These things are important and vital for me to stay in recovery and continue to grow in my program and as a human being.
- Prayer and Conscious Contact with a Higher Power
Staying in prayer is important to continue on the path of recovery and not lose sight of what is important and to maintain this way of life of recovery, prayer and a constant contact with a power greater than ourselves are vital parts of this process of recovery.
I know for me, I must pray on a daily basis and when I am doing that then things seem to go more smoothly in my program, but when I slack off in this area and try and think my way out of things rather than pray my way out of them, then that is when I struggle.
Praying is the big part of this recovery stuff and it is ongoing, I cannot just pray once and be done with it, just like I cannot do the 12-steps one time and move on, it is ongoing.
Staying in contact with my higher power is the key to happiness, peace, and continued recovery and to that new way of life, but it must be ongoing and cannot let up at any time. I have found that when I let up on my spiritual program of action, then my recovery is in jeopardy.
2. Working With Others Is a Vital Piece of the Puzzle
This here is another one for me.
I have discovered that when I work with others then I get out of my own head and my problems. This is a big part of recovery for me and from what I have heard, for others too.
This, like the prayer part of this program, is ongoing and has no finish line in sight.
There will never be a point when I can stop carrying the message of recovery to the next sick and suffering addict and alcoholic. For one, there will always be those who are new and seeking this new way of life and who need help to get and stay clean and sober and for me, I will always be an addict and an alcoholic and need to carry the message for my own recovery.
Being of service has many sides to it and we can be of service to others who are not in the program too, even to animals and situations, but it is in being of maximum service to the newcomer in the rooms of recovery that will ensure that I stay in those rooms, today.
This part of recovery is one that is a must.
We cannot keep this recovery gift if we do not give it away is what we hear in the rooms of recovery and this is so true. We must carry the message to be able to stay clean and sober, but also to remain serene and in the solution and that solution is being there for others who still are in need.
3. Growing in Our Program is Key to Gaining Days of Recovery
I believe that I must change on a daily basis if I am to continue to evolve in my program as recovery has no end game and requires that we change and keep on changing as we go throughout our lives and if we fail to grow in this process of recovery, then we will relapse.
I have seen it so many times, people remain stagnant in their recovery and they go back out.
Growth is an essential part of the recovery process, without growth, we do not have that daily reprieve from addiction as our spiritual condition requires that we grow and change as people in recovery, otherwise we remain dry addicts and alcoholics and not recovering people.
When you look at the definition of being sober, it says in the dictionary that sobriety is, “The state of being sober”, while the definition of recovery says that, “A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength”, there is a big difference between the two.
You can be sober, but not grow. Growth is achieved through recovering from what we were into what we are.
The steps give us growth, but they are a nonstop process, they continue for the rest of our lives and we only continue to achieve growth by continuing to work these steps in our lives and when we stop working them then we start to fall back into old behaviors and the old ways of thinking.
I must work on who I am and who I am to be each and every day for me to keep this precious gift of recovery. I need to do a daily 10th, 11th, and 12th step to keep growing and to continue the race, the race that actually is really a marathon with no finish line.
4. Build a Body, a Mind, a Soul, and a Life Worth Fighting For
There is an saying in recovery, “The only thing that you have to change is everything”, and this saying rings so true when it comes to recovery and building a new way of life and all that goes with that process of recovery and such.
I believe that recovery is about a healthy mind, body, and soul and that is something that I try and focus on each and every day that I get up and start my day.
Body — I workout to stay in shape and stay healthy, I eat healthy foods and watch my junk food intake, and I do not put drugs or alcohol in my body as well as getting enough sleep and avoiding stressful situations and by doing all of this stuff, I take care of my body and physical health.
Mind — Once again, I do not take any drugs or alcohol so that my mental state remains clear and ready to make good choices. I also make sure that I take any medications prescribed to manage anxiety and depression, and I focus on the positive things that benefit me rather than negative ones.
Soul — — This goes back to prayer and taking care of the spiritual side of things so that I can be of service to others and continue along the path of recovery. The soul needs as much, if not more nourishment and self-care than the body and mind need and in reality, they all go together as one package that brings it all together and into focus.
I must work on all of these things on a daily basis for me to have the best life and to keep on going in this recovery process. I must be in good physical health to function, I need to have my mental health in tip top shape in order to make the right decisions, and I have to be spiritually fit so that I can stay on the path of recovery.
The Journey Truly Never Ends
The journey of recovery never ends, it for sure does not.
There is no finish line, no time expired, no end in sight to this journey of a better life.
This is why we must keep expanding on our program and these things to stay engaged in the recovery process. I believe that if we let up on what worked in the beginning then we will surely relapse again and lose this precious gift that we have been so freely given.
There is always more to learn, more ways to get better, and new and different things we can do to build on our program. This thing is never over as long as we are alive and breathing, there is always more to be revealed as the Big Book says.
Unlike a race, there is no finish line to recovery and there is no graduation date to this journey.
We must continue, one day at a time!