How To Stay Sober Clean and Happy Today
Can You Stay Clean AND Be Happy?
I was homeless and addicted to crack when I came into recovery this time. I no longer think about drugs on a daily basis, and go weeks without thinking of them in the slightest sometimes. For someone who did nothing but chase drugs literally 24 hours for days at a time, that is amazing.
Also amazing is the fact that it doesn't stop there. Being through the steps, I've gone through a psychic and personality change that has altered the way I think about and perceive things and I'm no longer the cynical, miserable person I was in addiction and before addiction. I'm truly happier than I've ever been, and though I struggle sometimes, I don't really very much.
Also, all this has happened to someone who also has mental illness. I was told that the doctor who attended me in the mental hospital said that I was the worst case of psychotic mania he had ever seen, and from what I remember I don't think that's a falsification. Coming from that, I'm now stable, on good medications that I take regularly, and at a point where people wouldn't really notice that I'm mentally ill unless I told them.
So what are the things that help me stay like this?
These Are The Things That Help Me
Every morning I wake up and do the following, or as soon as I can:
Pray a third step prayer
Read the meditation for the day and a few pages in recovery literature
Do an inventory of the day before
Meditate for about 20 minutes
Throughout the day I go to a meeting most days (5 a week), make about 3 calls (anywhere from 2-10, average 3, I only count calls that I actually talk to someone), and talk to whoever calls me as well as trying to practice some spirituality in different areas of my life.
When I first got to treatment I meditated three times a day. Right now I meditate once a day. I very rarely miss it, and generally go for 20 minutes. I feel like it calms me down and helps me stay calm and consistent throughout the day. I think that more disciplined meditation is even better and incredibly helpful in developing mindfulness and the like, but right now I'm just not willing to be as dedicated to meditation as is required to develop that like I eventually aim to.
I didn't start meditating at all until I had been around recovery for seven years, and I wish I had earlier seeing as meditation is one of the most helpful tools I have found in or out of recovery. I used to see a therapist who would tell me that the best I ever seemed to be doing was when I was meditating a lot.
I've never been an extreme prayer guy, but I do say the third step prayer every morning. It comes from the book Alcoholics Anonymous and goes like this: "God, I offer myself to thee, to build with me and do with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of thy power, thy love, and thy way of life, may I do thy will always."
I say this prayer two times and ask God to keep me clean and to help me help others that day. I prayed to a God even before I believed in one because I heard it was a good thing to do in recovery. Following suggestions is super important. I believe more prayer is better for the most part, and occasionally pray some throughout the day.
Meetings are basically places where people who engage in recovery come to talk about how they do that. The purpose of the meeting is to talk about how to apply recovery to your life, addressing issues people are having with solutions based on recovery. When new people come in, it is important that they learn how to apply recovery to their lives and addiction, and that is why it's so important that we stick to that as the main thing that happens in our meetings. At meetings you meet people, which is important because you need new people in your life. You get numbers and hopefully start calling and seeing people in recovery which is referred to as "developing a network." NA recommends 90 meetings in 90 days (or as many as possible) and I think that is generally a good idea. Right now I do five a week but I'm past 90 days, I did a meeting almost every day when I came in for a good bit. One of the signs that someone isn't going to stay clean has always been and will always be that they show up at a bunch of meetings at first and say how they're going to continue and then drop down and drop down and eventually stop showing up. The people that you see at meetings almost every night or at least at the same meetings every week are generally staying clean.
I love the inventory process, even though for me it's fairly brief, perhaps briefer than it really should be. Every morning I write down a list of things I did well in my recovery and things that I could have worked on. Generally they say to do this at night, but doing it in the morning I feel gives me a good reminder on what I want to continue working on and what I want to continue doing that day. When I look back on the lists I've had over weeks, I can see where I keep popping up with issues and compare how I'm doing on the positive side with how much stuff is coming up on the negative side.