“Fear will get people into treatment, but fear alone is not enough to keep them in recovery”
Every person in recovery has a different circumstance or reason for getting involved. Some come because they want to, and some come because someone is telling them too. The reason alone will not keep the person sober. There have been plenty of cases where a person that has to go into recovery ends up wanting to stay because they are enjoying the benefits and some people that want to come into recovery end up relapsing or going back to old behavior. So, the initial reason alone does not prove weather a person will stay in recovery or not.
There are a few things that people should do if they want to remain in recovery. Ill explain my reasoning and then other reasons I learned about today.
I entered treatment after becoming suicidal and ending up in a mental institution for five days. I was diagnosed there for Bi Polar Disorder as well as Trauma, PTSD, and Panic/Anxiety Disorder. I was put on medication immediately. The medication I take is a huge reason why I am 96 days sober today (January 24, 2014). My mental health is the first reason I remain sober. I know that if I were to go back to using alcohol and drugs and other destructive behaviors I would suffer severely because my mental health would be drastically affected. The second reason I am staying sober is for my physical health. I have Crohns Disease on top of everything else so I have to be cautious of what I put into my body. On my 21st birthday I did so many different drugs that I landed myself in the hospital for a week which is an experience I never want to experience again. Using is not worth the consequences for me today. I am also actively working the 12 Steps of AA with a sponsor which helps a lot. I go to one AA meeting a week and I share whenever I feel like I need to. I will be getting my 90 day token tomorrow night; things like that are mile stones for me and they help me keep going. I am experiencing great benefits from staying sober and being vigilant about my mental health recovery. It feels good to take care of myself. I still have very rough circumstances that I have to go through but I’m giving them a chance to change. The reasons I entered into recovery will always be reasons for me to stay sober. They are the roots of my recovery and a reminder of where I was, how dark of a place that was, and why I never want to go back there.
Some ideas about what to do in order to stay sober:
- Use the rear view mirror analogy. When we are driving in a car we have to tentatively look in our rear view and side view mirrors to see what is behind us. However, if we look in our rear view or side view mirrors for too long we will crash because we wont be seeing what is happening right in front and a little ahead of us. Just like in a car, in recovery we need to look at what is right in front of us as well as what is a little ahead to know what to expect. We need to look back briefly every now and then at what was in the past so we can have a reminder of why we are on the path of recovery. We should not look too far ahead in recover either, because if we get ahead of ourselves there are also consequences. Just like there are if we look too far ahead while driving. We can potentially run a red light that we didn’t see and could end up with a ticket or worse.
- Remain reminded and teachable. Give this a mindful and fair chance each and every day. If we remain teachable and open, there are great rewards in store for us.
- Focus on the p[positive results. Sometimes, when people have depression, anxiety, bi polar, schizophrenia, hear voices, have paranoia etc it is hard to see the positive aspects of recovery and life itself. Making an effort towards being mindful of the positive aspects of recovery are so important and give us hope.
- Avoid impulsive behaviors. Slow down a bit. In addiction and when we have mood disorders and other things going on we tend to act impulsively. However, there is a lot of positive in taking a step back and finding reasoning to what we are feeling impulsive about in order to figure out if our thought or desire is something to follow through with.
- Build a health non-using support group. It is essential for people in recovery to have people in their lives that are healthy and clean as well. Many of us have had to let go of close to every relationship we had before entering recovery and this can be a very tough situation to get through. It is vital that we make new healthier connections. It is good for us, and good for those we connect with.
- Get a sponsor and work the 12 steps. The 12 steps have been around for many generations and are still working for everyone that does them. The 12 steps are steps we take to change from the inside out, and to right some of our wrongs that happened before we were in recovery.
- Stay away from ALL addictive substances.
- Play the tape through. Before making an impulsive or unhealthy decision, first think about what the next thing will be after making that decision. Think it through in as much depth as possible in order to really get an idea of the consequences of the situation.
- Reality testing. Search for reasoning to our thoughts in order to discern what is in fact reality. This is especially important for people with dual diagnosis (addiction and mental health).
Most importantly: Never give up on yourself and always validate the fact that your in the solution and doing a wonderful job.
I hope you gained something from this post and if you have any comments or questions, feel free to comment to this post.