Here we are, already 8 days into the new year. Maybe you’ve kept your resolutions, or maybe you’ve already broken a few. Maybe you’ve already experienced tragedy, or perhaps you had a joy-filled start to 2016. Reality is, we don’t have a lot of control over what happens in our lives over this next year. But we can do at least one thing—stay sober!
Something I’ve found helpful each new year, is taking a moment to look back over the last 365 days, and decide what was helpful in my sober journey and what was not. Just like an artist learns from each piece he creates, I have learned from each sober day I’ve lived. Here’s my list for 2015:
Actions that helped my sobriety
Here are some actions that I found therapeutic:
- I attended hundreds of meetings and shared often. I left those meetings with a sense of purpose and renewal.
- I spoke with my sponsor daily and listened intently to her suggestions.
- Alcoholics Anonymous literature was always at hand and I read a variety of these books regularly. A 24 Hour book is on my nightstand and I would turn to it each morning to jump start my day.
- I prayed twice a day regardless of any outside influences that may tempt me to skip these crucial meditations.
- Having many sober years on hand, I made time for those who needed and wanted my sober feedback.
- Focusing on the Twelve Steps for my 5th go-around, I worked numbers 6 through 11 this year.
Mistakes that could have hurt my sobriety
Being human, I also made some mistakes that could have jeopardized my sobriety:
- Several times this past year I found myself isolating from family and friends. During emotionally low periods, I limited my contacts with others and wallowed in my misery. (Isolation is not a good plan for most addicts. We spend too much time ruminating, and we risk losing our dear ones through inattention to them.)
- On more than one occasion I allowed myself to not get enough rest and to eat poorly. (An addict needs to be in top form when possible. Maintaining our sobriety uses energy and fortitude. Both need for us to be rested and fueled.)
- At one point, I began socializing with a group that smoke marijuana on a regular basis. (Purposely putting ourselves in front of Temptation’s door is never a smart idea.)
- An oral surgeon asked me if I would like a narcotic painkiller after a procedure. I used this medication for 2 of the 5 days allowed and on the third day the pain had greatly dissipated. At that point, I came close to taking the remaining capsules when I no longer needed them. (Taking narcotic medications prescribed by a physician is not a slip. However, when we no longer need them to manage pain, we must dispose of the remaining pills.)
As sober individuals, it is good to look back over the past year and consider what helped and hurt your sobriety. If you haven’t done this yet, you still have time! Take a few moments this weekend to make a list—I think you’ll find it helpful. (I know I did!)
Wishing you an awesome—and sober, New Year!!