So Much for What Your Old Friends Won’t Tell You – What You Can Do
Nothing else matters at this point in your life. You have to heal in order for you to begin the journey forward to the life you want to claim for yourself in recovery. This means that you need time, time to work the Twelve Steps, time to become grounded in the principles of recovery and to feel more self-confident in your abilities to withstand temptations and overcome triggers. There are little steps that you need to take to begin with, to get yourself started along the path of recovery. For this, you need a guide. You will find that in your 12-step sponsor.
If you are new to recovery, you may not yet have a sponsor. Make this one of your priorities, along with regularly attending 12-step meetings and taking care of yourself physically and mentally. You are on a healing journey, and you need guidance along the way so that you can maximize your progress.
But also be kind to yourself. Be gentle in your assessment of how far and how fast you think you should be progressing. Each person goes at his or her own pace, and it will be no different with you. There is no right or wrong way in recovery. There is only what works for you. True, you can learn tips and techniques from others, about things that have proven effective for them. Take them and adapt them to your own situation. Combine them to see which combination works best.
Your 12-step group and your sponsor are one element of your support network. They are always available to you and form the basis or framework for your foundation of recovery. Your other linchpin in your support network is your family and loved ones. If they are supportive of your recovery, they are immensely important in your continuing progress.
It doesn't matter where you came from, how long you were addicted, what bad things you did. Yes, you will need to take responsibility for your actions that caused harm to others and to make amends where and when that is possible. But the beauty of recovery is that everyone can do it – not alone, certainly, no one recovers alone. But each of us is capable of recovery, of learning how to change our attitudes and behaviors in order to live a healthy, happy, productive and drug-free life. You can, too.
What's first on your agenda? Take stock of where you are right now. What do you feel is your most critical need? Do you feel that you're still a bit vulnerable, still raw from getting clean? Are you plagued by nightmares or an inability to sleep through the night? Do cravings and urges torment you non-stop? You may benefit from some continuing therapy or counseling and this is something you should definitely look into. It may be a part of your continuing care or aftercare from your drug rehab program. If not, inquire from your treatment facility if they have a referral or recommendation where you can get some counseling for a nominal or reduced-fee cost.
Recognize that each day is a new beginning. Don't try to accomplish too much at once. That will only set you up for disappointment. There is no achievement that's too small to matter. If you are sober today, that is an accomplishment to be proud of. Take things in small increments. Believe in yourself and seek the help of others when you need it.
Remember that you deserve to be happy, to live out your life the way you always dreamed it would be. You will need to put in the time, to do the hard work of recovery, to make goals and craft action plans for how to achieve them. But you can do it. Millions of others have before you. Your life in recovery is just beginning. Welcome, friend.