I’ve talked about making a deep, personal commitment to a new life with “The Deep Yes.” I’ve discussed the importance of following the decision we take with immediate action.
You’ve made the commitment to make a change. Now, the game’s on. We’re done half-assing good intentions, and it’s time to get moving.
Welcome to The Work of Recovery. There are three parts:
A Program of Recovery is a set of steps, suggestions or instructions to override the programming of addiction. You need a new set of instructions to navigate life, sober and free of addiction mind-fucks.
Which is the right program for you? That depends on you. I love the 12 step based program of AA. It worked for me, especially when I added a bunch of tools to it on the side. However, there are many programs beyond 12-step-based, including S.M.A.R.T. Recovery, Refuge Recovery, and others.
I don’t care which recovery program you pick (do your own search if you don’t want to try any of the traditional approaches I suggested above), just pick one and do it with all your might. It’s the only way to break the monster-program-of-addiction.
For the first five years of my recovery, all I did was my program. I prided myself on prioritizing every instruction I was given, and being an all-star member of AA. My program was the core of my sobriety and joy - no doubt.
However, sobriety uncovered some big ugly monsters, which I thought had nothing to do with my “program” - and as such, went unaddressed for years.
I ended up throwing my sobriety out the window when I hit 5 years in recovery, and drank again.
That relapse was awful - but it brought beautiful results.
When I got back on the recovery “horse” I made a decision: to take ownership of my whole life. For this, I loaded up an arsenal of “tools”, so that I could address all the crap beneath my drinking - beyond my program. It was my program, AND:
New teachers. New books. New meditations. New sleeping schedules. New hobbies. New connections. New online platforms. New courses. New habits. New ideas. New self-compassion narratives. New ownership of my journey. New support. New communities.
I addressed my shame, ditched old stories that did not serve me, and upgraded who I was - creating a new mindset and a new awareness of my journey.
Mentorship and community are vital. NOW is the most exciting time in the world to get sober, because you have so many resources at your fingertips.
Do some of it alone - but do a lot of it in community. You don’t need to ever feel alone in this path - ever. There are thousands, millions of us - who get you and love you and are here to remind you how precious you are.
Find a program. Build a toolkit. Connect with others like you.