Getting clean and sober is one of the hardest things anyone suffering from addiction can accomplish. Going through a good treatment program can help you with your long-term sobriety, but what about the real life events that happen? How do you stay sober during these functions when it used to be so natural to drink at? We’ve compiled some of the most common life-events that happen and have written our own personal stories on how we’ve stayed sober through them. Feel free to click on any of the table of contents below to read more and browse feely!
Table of contents:
How I Attended Coachella, Had A Blast, And Stayed Sober
When I had the chance to attend Coachella with a little over 3 years sober, I was stoked! But that quickly turned into anxiety when I started to think about what a three day music festival might mean, a lot of drugs and a lot of alcohol. Would I be able to handle it? It would be the first music festival I attended while sober. Sure, I had gone to some concerts and one-night events, but I had never attended a three day festival that is notorious for alcohol and drug use. I have to admit, that even with 3 years under my belt, I was nervous. I didn’t really know how being around that many drugs and alcohol would make me feel.
So, I had some things to think about. First, I looked into my motives. Why did I want to go to this festival? Was it for the opportunity to be around drugs and alcohol? Or was it truly to go for the music and to see bands that I love? I also looked at my current program to see if my recovery was strong. I was attending weekly meetings, I had a sponsor that I met with regularly, I had a service commitment, and I had plenty of tools to keep my emotional sobriety strong. After diving into my program, I decided that I did have good motives and that I was in a strong place in my recovery.
However, I also didn’t want to be naive about the situation. I have heard too many times, “If you hang around a barber shop long enough, you’ll eventually get your hair cut.” I knew that I needed to be smart about attending this festival. So, I formed a plan that would help me while there. First, I was attending the festival with a good group of friends that were all sober and had a decent amount of time sober. That, first and foremost, made me feel much safer. I had people I could talk to if I started to feel uncomfortable. I also had many people that I could call, that weren’t attending the festival, if I needed to, including my sponsor, therapist, and good friends in the program.
I also decided to get a room outside of the festival and bring my own car. This way, if I ever needed to leave the festival for any reason, I could. I was taught that it’s always good to have an out. Make it easy for yourself to exit the situation if you need to. And it might not even be because of drugs and alcohol, it could just be that you need a nap or some down time.
When I did attend the festival, I used some things to make sure that I would stay safe, including taking care of myself. It’s easy to over do it on energy drinks and stay up all night, but that can affect my mood and make me feel bad, which was one of my triggers. So I consciously stayed hydrated, I brought my CamelBak and made sure it stayed full all day. I ate three hearty meals to keep my blood sugar regular and avoid crashes. And I made sure to get a good amount of sleep every night. These tools helped me avoid feeling hungry, angry, lonely, tired, aka HALT. Keeping my emotions balanced helped me avoid any slips.
Finally, I knew that I’d have to speak up for myself. If I was feeling tired and wanted to go back to the room, I told my friends and we worked something out so I could head back. If I needed to talk to someone, I made a plan to step away and make the call. I had to speak up for what I needed, even if it inconvenienced people. But, if I’ve learned anything, it’s how important my sobriety is, and if I don’t speak up for what I need, no one else is going to do it for me.
So, I was able to attend the festival with my friends and have a blast. Surrounding myself with other sober people allowed me to enjoy the music and the atmosphere, without feeling like I wanted to get drunk or high. And afterward, I felt invigorated that I could enjoy something without altering my mental state. I was able to remember everything, not loose my keys, and feel great the next day. With the right tools and plan, I was able to attend a three day music festival, stay sober, and create memories with friends that I will never forget.
How I Survived Being Sober On A “Booze Cruise”
I had about four years sober, when a friend invited me to attend a three day cruise with some other young, sober people. The cruise went from Long Beach to Ensenada, Mexico, and many people had appropriately named it the “booze cruise”. I knew that there would be a lot of drinking on the cruise, and that it was a good idea for me to have a plan in place to protect my sobriety.
It was definitely comforting to know that everyone I was attending the cruise with was sober, had some time, and worked good programs. Some of them were very close friends and I knew that if I needed to talk to someone, they would be there for me. I also decided to bring some supportive literature and quotes with me to help me get through any rough situations. It’s basically a notebook of things I’ve written down over the years of quotes and positive thoughts that help me whenever I feel down. I knew that I might not have cell phone reception when we were on the boat, so I might not be able to call other people, like my sponsor. Bringing my quote book helped me feel safe and sane while we were on the trip.
When on the cruise, I had a great time. I was worried about feeling left out, or not a part of, because so many people would be drinking. However, my friends and I simply ordered virgin pina coladas, and no one even caught on that we weren’t drinking. We mixed and mingled and met people, and I truly felt a part of. Sometimes the term alcoholic can feel like it separates me from other people, but most people don’t even realize that I’m any different. It was a lesson in being normal, that my disease doesn’t have to isolate me or prevent me from experiencing activities where there may be alcohol.
By not drinking, my friends and I were able to enjoy the entire cruise. We planned a ton of activities to stay busy, and not just sit by the bar the entire time. We attended comedy shows, danced, sang at the piano bar, and ate a ton of food. Having things to do helped us have fun, instead of wishing we were drinking like everyone else. We were able to enjoy the full experience, and all without dealing with hangovers every morning.
Many cruises offer Alcoholic Anonymous meetings to their passengers, and there are even sober cruises that people can attend. Having these options makes it easier to experience life, without the threat of relapsing. If someone is newer in recovery and hasn’t established coping skills to help in trying situations, it is a good idea to have AA meetings available. After the cruise, I realized that having fun with my friends and being in the moment, made me enjoy the experience. I was too busy having a good time to think about all the people who were drinking or that there was even alcohol around.
How I Stayed Sober Through The Holiday Season
The holidays were always a rough time for me when I was drinking and using. I hated going to family functions, they put a wrench in my plans to get high. I spent the entire night watching the clock, trying to figure out when would be an appropriate time to say, “Well, I gotta go.” Needless to say, I never stayed very long, just long enough to eat a little and get jealous over how many gifts I got compared to the rest of my family. If I wasn’t thinking about getting loaded, I was counting gifts, confirming to myself what I always knew, my family loved everyone else more than me, which gave me the justification I needed for my using.
When I finally got sober, it was right smack-dab in the middle of the holidays, December 3rd, right after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. Those first holidays were definitely harder to get through. I was carrying the guilt of what I had done the holidays past, and I hadn’t yet dealt with a lot of those feelings, nor had I made amends. I prepared, because I knew it might be rough. I had made friends in my program that I talked to regularly, and I even had a sponsor that I could call when I was feeling emotional.
There was a local Narathon going on in my town Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. For those two days, they had Narcotics Anonymous meetings every hour, and food and fellowship. I spent time with my family for their celebrations, but when I wasn’t there I was at the Narathon, attending meetings and fellowshipping. Having those resources really helped me get through that first Christmas.
And then something amazing happened when I did attend my family celebrations. Even though I had less than one month clean, I was able to be present and enjoy the festivities. My family rarely drinks anyway, but during that Christmas they made sure there was no alcohol in the house, which was supportive and helpful. I was able to eat dinner, converse, and be in the moment. And when it came time for presents, I wasn’t counting and judging and angry. I enjoyed watching my family open their gifts, and my nieces and nephews play with the gifts that I had gotten them. It truly felt like a miracle that I could sit with my family and not ruminate over resentments in my head. I knew at that point that getting clean was more than just quitting drugs and alcohol, it was about serenity.
For the holidays after my first year sober, I continued a similar pattern, spending time with my family, but always making time for my recovery, including meetings and fellowship. The more time I’ve gotten, the more “normal” my life has become, and sometimes that means being around alcohol during the holidays. My family isn’t as worried about having alcohol around, and I have many friends outside of the program that drink as well. Even though I am now around it more during the holidays, I still use the same strategies that I used when I was newly sober. I have a sponsor that I can call. I have close friends in the program that I call. And when I am around alcohol, I almost always have someone with me that is also clean and sober. Using these strategies has helped me stay sober through 6 holidays so far, so they must be working, and I don’t think I’ll stop using them.
How I Maintained My Sobriety After Rehab
I had a few different experiences going to rehab, but there was only one time that I actually stayed sober after rehab. The first few rehabs I went to, I definitely wasn’t ready to quit using. However, they were also out of my hometown, and when I went home and back to my life, I had no support system. So, I easily went back to my old habits when emotions were running high and things became difficult. Sure, they taught me to go to meetings and build a support group, but when it came down to deciding the hard way, building that support, and the easy way, calling my drug dealer, I took the easy way out. Like I said this wasn’t the only reason I didn’t stay sober after those first few rehabs, but I believe it did play a part.
The final rehab that I attended was an outpatient program in my home town. My family was at their wit’s end with me, and it seemed like my only option, so I agreed to go. I definitely didn’t want to get sober when I first started going, in fact I think I used for the first two weeks or so. But it got me involved. I attended group therapy sessions and saw my counselor a few times a week. I was encouraged to go to local Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and I did. I ended up becoming desperate for sobriety. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I wasn’t really able to play my family anymore, because they started working on their own codependent behaviors and stopped enabling me. With nowhere else to turn, I decided I would try to get sober.
I started going to meetings regularly, as well as continuing my outpatient program. I found a big group of young people, just like me, that were all working hard to stay sober. I fell into the group. Everyone was there to help each other and they took me in. They drove me to meetings, helped me find a sponsor, and even coaxed me into taking my first service position. When it came time to graduate from my outpatient program, I felt confident that I would be able to continue my program, because I had one. I had a routine. I attended some of the same meetings regularly, so I could remain accountable, I had a core group of sober friends and my sponsor to call when I needed to, and I started to build ways of coping other than using drugs.
My outpatient program taught me to take up writing when my feelings were overwhelming. I discovered some self-soothing practices that I knew I could use when I started to feel stressed, like talking a walk outdoors, fellowshipping, or reading. I learned how to identify and communicate my feelings, so when things did come up, I was able to work through them. My outpatient program gave me a lot of skills to use after I left. And creating a routine with meetings and friends kept me in my program and strong in my recovery. To this day, I rely on the same routine to stay sober and sane.
How I Got Through Multiple Breakups And Stayed Sober
I’ve been sober for a little over 6 years, and I can say that I have been through a few breakups in my sobriety. Some were pretty ugly, and some weren’t so bad. Some, I can even look back at and be proud of, my behavior was respectful and honest, and I didn’t react out of anger. I have broken up with others and have been broken up with. Whatever the situation is, breakups can be rough. There is a lot of emotion involved, and it’s easy to slip into old habits when emotions are raw.
For the few breakups that I was proud of, I think doing the right thing, and acting in a respectful manner, helped a little with the emotional aftermath. I still felt sad and heartbroken, but I felt a little better knowing that my side of the street was clean. How did I do it? Well, it’s definitely not like my first instinct was to be kind and gracious. No, I had to work on it with my sponsor and my therapist. Before I reacted to the situation, I would meet with my sponsor or therapist and go over exactly how I should act, even down to the words I should use. It may seem tedious, but that greatly helped me, and as time has gone on, being kind and gracious has become more and more of an instinct, rather than reacting with anger.
While I had some healthy breakups, I also had some not so healthy breakups, full of hurtful texts and lots of crying. In those times, I stayed close to my program. I went to more meetings. I hung out with my sober group of friends a lot! There were plenty of times that heading home and being alone was just too painful, so I would sleep over at a friend’s house. Or if I had to go home, I would talk to my sponsor the whole way there (hands free of course!) and the second I got home I would go right to bed and fall asleep. The support and fellowship of my sober friends really helped me get through those rough breakups.
I also learned some skills to help me deal with the emotional aspect of a breakup. I learned to be gentle with myself and not overextend myself in those times. That’s not to say I would isolate. I learned early on that isolating was the worst thing I could do, it meant I was stuck in my head with myself. I just mean I wouldn’t overextend myself by taking on more shifts at work or committing to activities that I knew would be too much for me. I learned to focus on self-care during these times, to do activities that were self-soothing, like taking a relaxing bath, getting a massage, or taking my dog to the dog park. By soothing myself, I was less likely to turn to something outside of myself for relief.
Over all the years, I have learned how to handle breakups without letting it affect my sobriety. And even though it is a cliche, I used the saying, “This too shall pass” on a regular basis. And it did pass, over time. And once I got over one breakup, when the next one happened, I was able to look back and think, “Ok, I was able to get through that one, I can get through this one.” With a little strength and a lot of support, I was able to move past my breakups without drinking or using.
How I Stayed Sober And Sane While Dating
I’ve experienced a few different relationships throughout my sobriety. I’ve dated non-alcoholics and alcoholics, like me. I even dated a newcomer once, who relapsed while we were dating, and that was not pretty. However, through all of those relationships, I was able to stay sober, learn more about myself, and learn how to have a successful relationship.
When I dated a non-alcoholic, I established a few ground rules for myself, so I could keep my sobriety and my sanity. For example, he invited me to his birthday party with his friends, where I knew there would be drinking. To make sure that I would be ok, I invited a few of my sober friends to go with me. I was able to enjoy the night, without worrying about other people drinking. I also learned to speak up for myself. There were times where he would have a drink, and it really wouldn’t bother me, but other times it would. I learned to speak up for myself and ask for what I needed. I explained to him that sometimes it wasn’t a problem, but I had to reserve the right to say when it was. I simply don’t feel the same every day, and some days a drink in front of me is much more tempting than other days.
Most of my other relationships were spent with people in Alcoholics Anonymous, like me. However, that can also be tricky, and it was good for me to set some ground rules there too. The major rule was that we tried not to get into each others’ programs, meaning we wouldn’t tell each other we needed to go to more meetings, or we needed to make amends somewhere, etc. The most I would say if something came up related to our programs was, “You might wanna talk to your sponsor about that.” I also made it very clear going into a long-term relationship with another alcoholic, that relapsing and continuing to drink without seeking help was a deal breaker for me. I knew I would not be able to be in a relationship with an active alcoholic and it was important for me to make that clear in my relationships.
I haven’t been in a long-term relationship with someone who is actively in their disease. However, I have seen friends and family in these relationships, and what has worked for them is finding a support group or program to help navigate those difficult waters. There are many programs out there to support families and partners of alcoholics and addicts, including Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.
Whether I was in a relationship with a non-alcoholic or dating someone in the program, there were boundaries for me to set in both cases to protect my sobriety. And if I ever ran into issues within my relationships, I was able to turn to my support group, my sponsor, or my therapist to help me work through them. I worked on developing open communication, respecting my partner, and keeping my program strong to give my relationships the best chance possible. Through all the work I have done, and all the experiences I have had, I am now in a long-term relationship with my boyfriend. That isn’t to say everything is perfect all of the time. We still have to work on our issues, but having the program and our support groups allows us to remain healthy and happy.
How I Work Around Alcohol And Remain Sober
I had a few years sober when I started working for a wedding planner. I was very interested in wedding planning and thought that I would really enjoy it, so I was very excited for the opportunity. What I wasn’t prepared for, was all of the alcohol! I guess I should have known, but it didn’t really cross my mind. Every other job I’ve had in sobriety did not involve alcohol, and most of my coworkers knew that I was a sober woman in recovery. So, it was something I knew I needed to prepare for.
One of the challenging things for me was that a lot of the other vendors working the wedding would drink during the event. I remember one wedding, we were all having our dinner break and everyone had a cocktail in their hand. I looked around and clearly noticed that I was the only one who wasn’t drinking, and I thought it was so obvious. I knew everyone must have been looking at me thinking, “Why doesn’t she have a cocktail?” I felt so terribly unique and not a part of.
At the end of the night, I ended up talking to the other wedding planner and told her that I’m in recovery and that’s why I don’t drink. She told me that she didn’t wonder about why I wasn’t drinking, and that she knew other people that just didn’t drink. I had made it such a big deal in my head that I created an entire storyline, without any of it being true. No one even noticed that I wasn’t drinking, and no one even cared. That being said, I’m glad that I shared that I don’t drink. Not everyone can share with their employer why, but it was good for me to establish the fact that I don’t drink. That way when I’m feeling alone and not a part of at a wedding, I don’t feel tempted to take a sip just to be one of the gang. There is an accountability factor when my coworkers know that I don’t drink.
I’ve also had many friends who work in the restaurant industry around alcohol. This can be especially difficult when they work at a bar or brewery, because many companies like the employees to know what the drinks taste like, so they can describe it to the customers. In this instance, it was very important for my friends to be very clear that they cannot drink, not even a taste. There were always other people working that could describe the taste, or my friends would just memorize the other employees’ descriptions.
Working around alcohol can be very difficult, especially in early sobriety. And sometimes it might be better for someone to find another job, than to risk losing the sobriety they have. With a little more time in recovery and a strong program, it is possible to work around alcohol. As always, it’s important to have people to hold you accountable, like friends in the program, your sponsor, or even a supportive coworker.
I also like to use the tool of “running the tape through”, if I become tempted to take a drink while working. I remember that, if I drank, it wouldn’t be fun, like it appears to be for other people. I would be miserable, desperate for my next drink. I remember that my drinking does not look like other people’s drinking. And even when it looks fun and exciting, it wouldn’t be for me.
How I Healed My Familial Relationships And Stayed Sober Through The Process
Needless to say, when I got sober, my relationships with my family were not the greatest. Some of my most uncomfortable moments were during family night at my outpatient treatment program. However, I did learn a lot from those groups. I learned that I was affecting my whole family with my behavior, even when I thought I was doing a good job at protecting people from my disease. My little brother shared that he constantly thought about what he could do to stop me from drinking and using. I never realized that he could be so affected by my behavior. Those family nights showed me that I really needed to work on my relationships with my family.
The one relationship that was the most difficult for me to work on was with my father. Fo many years, he was my reason for drinking and using. I used to feel that he didn’t love me, and that was an easy excuse for me to drink and rebel. So, when I got sober, my father also knew that we needed to work on our relationship, and he asked me to go to dinner with him once a week. It felt like a chore at first, and pretty uncomfortable, because we didn’t really know what to talk about, but we eventually found a groove and I started to look forward to our weekly dinners.
After about a year of dinner dates, I was able to make amends to my father for my behavior and the pain that I caused from my drinking and using. It was very cathartic to discuss the past with him. It felt as though I was able to finally release the guilt and shame that surrounded my relationship with my father, and it brought us closer together.
Then a few years after that, my father made amends to me, and I will never forget that day. When I first started having issues with drugs and alcohol, my father began attending a 12 step group to help him cope with having an alcoholic daughter. He continued to go to his program when I got sober, and through working his steps, he made an amends to me. He touched on every pain and hurt that as I felt as a child. There were so many times that I just wanted someone to acknowledge what I was feeling. And when my father did that for me with his amends, it released something inside of me. My frustration over my past relationship with my father just seemed to disappear that day. That was the defining moment for our relationship. After that day, I now feel like I can be myself, be open and vulnerable, without any reservations or fears.
Today, we have wonderful relationship. We may not agree on everything, and we have very different opinions and beliefs, but we are able to love and care for one another. Through both of us working our programs, taking direction, and making our amends, we were able to truly repair our relationship. It took time and effort, but we managed to get there. Both of us are so grateful to our recovery, because it allowed us to have the kind of relationship that we always wanted.
How My Sobriety Helped Me Stumble Upon My Dream Job
When I stopped drinking and using, I did not have a job. Let’s face it, I couldn’t even take daily showers, so a job was out of the question for me for awhile. However, after about eight months of daily meetings, and getting some sobriety under my belt, I finally got a part-time job. It kept me busy, helped me become more responsible, and it gave me enough free time to continue going to meetings and working on my recovery.
After working at this job for a year or two, a friend of mine in the program got me a job interview at a mental health facility. Before my drinking got really bad, I was able to graduate from college with a Bachelors in Psychology, but the job required that I have at least two years of experience in the field, which I did not have. I went on the interview anyway, and was open about my experience in Alcoholics Anonymous. The company running the program understood that many clients would benefit from employees that had personal experience with alcohol or substance abuse, and they hired me. They took my time in AA as years of experience in the field.
From working that job, I was finally able to take care of myself financially. I started paying my mother rent, she had been letting me live at her house rent free. And I was able to take care of my other bills and living expenses. That job also allowed for me to start making my financial amends, and pay back the people that I had taken from in my using days.
I continued to attend my weekly meetings, work my steps with my sponsor, and nourish my relationships within my support group. As life changed and developed, I did the next indicated thing, and I continued to move up in my mental health company. I worked more hours, got a raise, and started fulfilling my passions of becoming a social worker. From the experience and relationships that I made at that job, I was able to get a job as a social worker at another reputable company. I was able to take my experience and share it with others who were struggling like I had for so many years. That kind of service work only served to strengthen my own recovery.
I found a field where I can make a difference, and I never would’ve gotten that first job in mental health, if it wasn’t for my own recovery. I strongly believe in doing the next indicated thing and following the doors that open for me. I don’t know where the next road might take me, but I do know that I will always be taken care of, that I will always be able to take care of myself, as long as I stay sober and continue working my program.
How I Travel For Business And Stay Sober
Throughout my sobriety, there have been quite a few times that I‘ve had to travel for business. And if you’ve ever been on a business trip, you know that these trips usually mean a lot of drinking for other people. It can be a dangerous place, being out of town, away from my accountability, seeing a lot of people drinking. And many times on these trips, it’s necessary to attend events with drinking, to make connections, and schmooze with colleagues. This isn’t usually a situation where you can just avoid being around others who are drinking. So, I always have plan when I’m away on business.
First, before I leave, I check out what Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are available around where I’ll be staying. Usually, if it’s a bigger city, there are plenty of meetings within walking distance. Even if I don’t plan on going to a meeting every night, I pick out a meeting that I might like attending every night, just in case I desperately need one on that particular night. I also ask around my local meetings to see if anyone knows other AAs that live in the area. It’s always good for me to have point of contact if I really need to speak with someone face to face.
I also let my support group know where I’ll be going, how long I’ll be gone, and what my plan is for my meetings. This just gives me an extra sense of accountability. I make sure to check in with my sponsor while I’m gone and others in my support group, to make sure that I stay connected and don’t loose my sense of well being.
Finally, I bring literature with me. I bring my big book, daily meditations, and my journal. I make sure to continue my daily practices even when I’m on the road. Keeping my routine helps me to feel like I’m really not that out of my element. If I can keep my program strong, when I do have to have dinner with my colleagues and the alcohol is flowing, I don’t feel tempted. I’ve been using this system for many years, and it’s helped me make it through every business trip without an issue. Some may say it sounds excessive, but if it keeps me sober, that’s all that matters.
How To Have A Night Life And Keep Your Sobriety
Being sober doesn’t mean that I have to avoid all the places that have alcohol for the rest of my life. It also doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t live my life. It just means that when I do go to places that have alcohol, I have to be a little more careful than other people. I got sober young, at 22, so I definitely wasn’t ready to give up my days of going to bars or clubs and dancing with my girlfriends. Luckily, I had other sober friends that also liked to go out, so I was able to go dancing with them. I never went to a bar or club without at least one other sober person.
I also quickly learned some tricks to help me feel a part of, and not like I stuck out like a sore thumb as the only one without a drink in their hand. I learned to order energy drinks, or any fizzy drink, instead of alcohol. With a drink in my hand, I had less people asking to buy me a drink or wondering why I wasn’t drinking. I had a few times where people we met at the bar or club wanted me to try a sip of their drink. I quickly learned to politely say no, but to also be assertive with my answer.
The best part of going out with friends and not drinking, is that I was able to remember the entire night. I stayed with my friends and spent time with them, instead of hooking up with some rando and putting myself in danger. I had NO hangover the next day, and I was able to continue on with my life without shame about the night before. And I never had to worry about driving home drunk. I’m sure I’ve saved countless lives by getting sober.
While getting sober can seem very scary, and like it’s an end to all the fun, it doesn’t have to be. Getting sober saved my life and allowed me to actually live my life. Before I was only existing to get loaded. Now, I’ve had so many adventures and amazing memories that I know I never would have had if it weren’t for me getting sober. So, while I have to be a little more cautious when I’m around alcohol, I’m still able to do what I want with my life. Sobriety isn’t limiting, drinking is.
How I Stay Sober One Day At A Time
When I first stopped drinking and using, one day sober seriously seemed like a lifetime. Those first thirty days felt like an eternity. I attended an outpatient program to help me get sober. They recommended that I attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to build a support group and remain accountable after the outpatient program was over. I eventually found a group of friends in those meetings. I quickly developed a routine of attending meetings, fellowshipping, and working the steps with my sponsor. In the beginning, it was slow going for me. It took me awhile to get through the steps, and to get my life back together.
I continued to take direction and seek advice when something happened and I didn’t know what to do. I eventually was able to get a job, start paying bills, and become responsible for myself again. As I continued to work the steps, I was able to make amends to the friends and family in my life that I had hurt with my using. That was extremely powerful. It didn’t take away the guilt and shame overnight, but it helped me get a little closer to forgiving myself for my behavior.
After I had about 2 years clean, I started going to therapy, and have actually continued going ever since. Therapy has helped me dive deeper into my triggers and the effects that my childhood has on my present day. It has helped me overcome a lot of the struggles that I come up against in my day to day life.
Attending meetings and continuing therapy has given me many ideas of healthy ways for me to stay sane and sober for the long haul. Everyone is different, and everyone finds different things that work for them. For me, attending a few meetings a week, meeting with my sponsor regularly, attending therapy, and having a strong support group is crucial. I also do small things on a daily basis, including journaling, spending some time meditating, and reading a piece of motivational literature every morning. That may seem like a lot, but it only takes me around 20 minutes.
I write a little bit everyday, and I don’t always know what to write about, but as I put pen to paper things seem to flow out. It could be feelings I didn’t know I had or mundane details about my day, but it always seems to clear my mind and help me throughout the day. For my meditation, I simply sit quietly for 5 to 10 minutes and focus on my breathing. Whenever my mind seems to wander I just bring it back to my breath. And that’s it! It’s simple, but it helps me focus and keep calm during my day when something throws me off track.
Overall, I found my sobriety one day at a time by going to meetings and following suggestions. As time went on, I found what things work the best for me. And that’s what I love about AA meetings, you can take what you like and leave the rest. For me, it was about finding a routine that worked for me, that was easy for me to continuously do everyday. And I try never to forget that we only have a daily reprieve, that we have to take action every day to maintain our sobriety and sanity. If I can do a little something every day to keep the life I have today, it’s easy to continue the work.