Living a Sober Life: 5 Tools for the First 30 Days of Recovery
Congratulations! Living a sober life is the biggest and best decision you may ever make in recovery. It is critically important that you get some tools to help set right your mind. All the changes you are about to face will require a solid set of fallback protocols. It’s not scary when you have a plan.
One of the things to expect in the first 30 days of recovery is changes in thinking. Your thought processes will change as will your perceptions about reality, the people around you and even yourself. One of the things I learned is that everything I thought I was and stood for was more or less just a figment of my mind. Realizing that was hard to take at first. So the time-tested, therapeutic support I allowed myself kept me moving in the right direction. It wasn’t long before I observed that what I thought and how I thought, was distinctly different while I was using.
Another change to expect is in attitude. Before approaching this important challenge in life, I have found it useful to see it as something to enjoy rather than something to overcome. When I had looked at it like, “Oh man, I don’t want to do this,” it made my goal only that much harder to reach. In contrast, I made a conscious decision to look forward to my first 30 days of sobriety. I chose to embrace the perks, which turned out to be a series of constant outpours of love, support, and wisdom from those around me. Stuff I needed.
I also saw my first 30 days of recovery as an opportunity to slow down and to take time to learn about myself and enjoy the process of discovery. I didn’t have to do a damn thing outside of remaining sober. What a relief that was. It was also an exercise in prioritizing self-care – something that was completely foreign to me.
5 tools you can use during your first 30 days of recovery:
1. Support Groups
- Recovery Facilities: Get Real Recovery
- 12-Step Meetings
- Group and Individual Therapy
- Family and FriendsThe people in these groups are all there to provide motivation and support 24/7. Your only job is to reach out when you feel weak, not retreat into lonely isolation. When other people who care about you know what’s going on, your journey won’t be lonely.
One of the great things about exercise is that it’s FREE! You don’t have to buy a gym membership to benefit from exercise. Find something you like, start slowly and don’t forget to stretch before and after. Cardio is always important, running, swimming, walking. Keep a pair of dumbbells and look for exercises to tone your arms and torso. Most importantly, you ought to do it regularly and often.
Now that I have briefly discussed exercising the body, I would like to equally emphasize calming and clearing the mind. If you want to find something really amazing to get addicted to, something that would actually provide a “high” of peace and clarity, I recommend sitting still. The process of meditating could not be simpler. Find a quiet space, sit there comfortably, (do not lay down) and shut up! Start silencing yourself for five minutes and work up to 20 a day. Repeat any three-syllable mantra over in your conscious mind with your eyes closed anytime any actual thought enters your mind. You don’t want to think about anything. Focus on the mantra. Keep your mind on the mantra!
This is a great way to vent your feelings, both successes and frustrations. It is an excellent way to keep you on point and in touch with yourself. Write what’s on your mind and don’t censor it. Let loose. When you are done, keep the notebook. You may want to refer to it one day when you write your autobiography about how you became rich and famous because of your unwavering commitment to remaining stable and sober.
5. Do Not Rationalize
No matter how much time we have in our sober life of recovery, addiction has a way of making us rationalize thoughts like, “Hey I have a few weeks clean…I can handle a drink.” Your addict ego is knocking at the door. When thoughts like that arise it is important to remember the negative consequences of your use and play that over and over in your mind. You’re not supposed to be rationalizing in your first 30 days. You are supposed to listen, learn, follow direction from those who have had success at it…and recover.
I was told that any discomfort felt at the beginning of my new sober life could only serve to proffer a life beyond my wildest dreams. I believed. And likewise, so can you. Have patience and confidence. You have made the best decision for your future!
Your first 30 days of sobriety may be extremely difficult, but one thing is for sure, it’s worth it!
Author: Barry Diamond, Writer/Comedian/Actor