I was recently contacted by Port of Call http://www.portofcall.com/ where they have a network of addiction treatment specialists that can help you navigate the full range of treatment options that are available, ensuring they can always offer the right help at the right time. They assist in rehab and interventionalists referrals. Below are some suggestions for staying sober after Rehab and 5 steps to break an addiction.
Additionally, I wanted to share a piece I wrote last year “5 ways to guard against a Relapse”. All of this is very important and crucial to getting and staying clean and sober. Whatever works for you is always my suggestion, but Rehab is a great start for anyone!
5 items that have saved me from relapsing:
I’m lucky because I got sober at my 2nd meeting. After my first meeting I ran home and drank for 5 days straight. I came back and decided to give the sobriety thing a shot. I’m one of the lucky ones – in that I haven’t had a desire to go back out and test my disease. However, I’ve been around the program of AA for a while and sadly, I’ve seen a lot of relapse and even worse, I’ve seen a lot of suicide and death due to the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. Through my own journey of sobriety I’ve had a pretty good ride, but lets face it, life gets lifey – whether or not I’m in recovery. The most challenging things are the things that have strengthened my recovery. I’ve gone through a couple break-ups before meeting my now husband and I thought going through that was the worst thing possible. I had nothing to numb the pain and what they don’t tell you in early sobriety is that you get to feel every emotion and live through life each day. The icing on the cake, and there is a lot of cake (literally) when you get sober, is that you get to come out the other side a better version of yourself. When I lost my Mom a few years ago, that was very challenging – but again, life happens and I did what I needed to do to maintain my sobriety. Time and time again, I fall back on these 5 things – they have sustained me and my recovery and I’m so grateful that I just keeping putting one foot in front of the other.
One of the things that was really imperative in me getting and staying sober was getting a sponsor. I kept hearing in early recovery, “did you get a sponsor yet” so when I was a couple weeks sober I finally got tone and she was amazing. She was exactly what I needed at that time and she was there for me, and she took me through the steps and she got me and I could tell her anything and not feel judged or ridiculed. I’ve switched sponsors a few times as I’ve moved around a bit, but I’ve always had one and each one of those women have been lifelines for me and I really don’t know where I’d be without any of them.
I came to my first AA meeting to get my court card signed for my 2nd DUI. I didn’t go there because I wanted to. However, I kept coming back and very early on in my recovery I liked going to meetings. They spoke my language. They understood me and they didn’t make me feel like I didn’t belong. I found my tribe in AA. My closest friends and confidantes are all in AA. I met my husband at an AA meeting (not sure I would recommend that – but that’s a whole other conversation). In moving around a lot in sobriety I’ve been able to walk into any meeting in any part of the country and feel “at home” as we like to say. It’s an integral and sustaining part of my recovery and I’m forever grateful to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Early on in recovery a lot of women would give me their phone numbers and tell me to call them. I thought to myself, “why on earth am I calling you – what is in it for me?” That’s how I thought about most things before I got sober – what do I get out of it. I soon realized picking up that one hundred pound phone was the best way to get out myself and the best way to share what was going on with me. It was a mini meeting. Today I talk to at least two women per day about what’s going on with me and vice versa, and its been a life saver for me. A few years ago I wanted to drink. I was having a very bad time in my life and just said, “F*&K this noise – I wanna drink”. I called my sober bestie and she came right over and picked me up and took me out for coffee. I didn’t drink that day. The colossal problem I had at the time took care of itself and I didn’t need to drink over it – because I called someone.
An important part of my daily serenity comes from prayer and meditation. Besides the fact that it’s part of the 12 Steps, it’s now just a normal part of my daily life and routine. Every morning, (or most), I read from a couple spiritual books in the morning, pray and then take about 5-7 minutes to meditate. Each evening I say a quick prayer and thank God for keeping me sober. That’s it. The simpler I keep it, the easier it is for me to maintain.
I have to say getting sober wasn’t that much fun – but the benefits of being sober and living a life with freedom and unlimited possibilities is so amazing its almost too difficult to put into words. During my first year of sobriety, I was asked to go see one of my favorite bands, that I had seen numerous times – however, now I was sober. How was this experience going to be? I was apprehensive and scared and was hoping I’d have as much fun as I’d had pre sober days. I went and it was amazing – I didn’t have to worry about making sure I had enough to drink, or how much money I was going to spend, or losing my friends at the show, or worse yet – driving home wasted after the concert. I was able to be present and participate in the concert and enjoy the moment.
Getting sober and staying sober are two different animals. I truly believe sobriety is a gift, because when I’ve had a shitty day I wanna go drink. I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about drinking , because I do. I don’t know why I haven’t had a relapse. I can’t explain that, but what I can explain is that if I keep doing the daily things above I am pretty sure I will have a decent chance of staying sober that day.
Very cool Nancy, I really like #5 till the end very honest. I would have never thought in a million years that the thought of drinking ever crossed your mind. I guess simply because I so look up to you that I guess it just never crossed my mind almost as if I forgot you were in recovery too for a minute because I was so caught up in how I aspire to one day be as great a writer as you. So for you to say that really just made you that much more powerful in my eyes. I am not sure why that was so awesome for me to read but, wait, ya I do it was because I instantly knew without a doubt at that point that you were exactly human like me and although awesomely talented an addict in recovery just like me, just like the rest of us. It reminds me of how important our message of hope via complete transparency is as it allows ALL others to see us just as we are. Simply recovering addicts or alcoholics who just happen to do o.k. putting their thoughts into words! I now know why God brought me to your page at this time because I feel a whole other level of closeness and admiration to and for you now. Thank you, my wonderful friend.
Marc, you are too kind and thank you sooo much – that is very nice and I so appreciate your comments and thoughts! We are all in this together and not every day is great – so its good to know there is support everywhere! Thanks again and thanks for all you do!!! hugs!