1. If you want what you’ve never had you must do what you have never done
Trying new things can be so intimidating. We are comfortable in our way of life. As addicts, we need completely new results. You cannot get different results by doing the same thing over and over again. We must seek help in learning new ways to cope with our demons. Becoming a sober member of society takes a series of moment-to-moment choices that are scary, but worth it in the end.
2. What other people think about you is none of your business
I can’t tell you what the key to success is, but I know the key to failure is trying to please everybody. While it’s imperative that we take the suggestions given to us you cannot please everyone. If we attempt this, we will be failing continuously and countlessly. How someone else feels about you is their problem and it is not our responsibility or capability to change that.
3. Progress not perfection
There are a lot of “shoulds and should nots” in sobriety. You are going to receive a lot of suggestions from counselors, doctors, and peers. Suggestions are there for a reason — generally because they work. However, no one is perfect and we certainly do not expect you to be a saint as soon as you stop using. I still make mistakes and sometimes I am so proud of myself for making a mistake that was far less damaging from one I made in the past because the progress was clear to see.
4. HALT: when you are hungry, angry, lonely, tired
These are common triggers for recovering addicts. When you start to feel one or all of these things… Halt! Take a step back. Sometimes when you don’t know what to do, the best thing you can do is nothing! These are good signs to look out for and fix as soon as you see them. Eat something, take a nap, call your sponsor or counselor. When we are irritable we get uncomfortable in our own skin. Drugs and alcohol have been our way of escaping for so long; it takes time to learn how to remedy these things in a healthy manner and a sober state.
5. Grow through what you go through
No one said it would be easy! We are still dealing with life, it’s not easy. The things that hurt the most tend to make us stronger. The things that almost broke us are what makes us who we are today. I am thankful for the people who hurt me and the hardships because they made me strong. Everything in my world today is exactly as it should be. Things have not turned out the way I once wanted them to and I am eternally grateful for that.
6. Revealing is healing
Learning new things about yourself is one of the greatest experiences in sobriety. We are essentially getting to know ourselves all over again. However, sometimes the things being revealed are not so easy to accept. Becoming aware is the first step. If you do not know, then you cannot change. Understanding our past and our present is essential in order to make decisions about our future. The most unpleasant revelations will be your most powerful healing processes.
7. One day at a time
This is maybe the most popular mantra in sobriety. It’s well known and widely accepted from AA to treatment centers. Deciding to stay sober for a lifetime is a terrifying idea for someone who doesn’t know how! Instead, we wake up every morning and decide that only for today I will not use drugs or alcohol. Anyone who has been sober for years will tell you that they didn’t stay sober a year at a time. They stayed sober 24 hours at a time because that’s all they could manage. This is an excellent way of not getting ahead of yourself.
8. You can’t think your way into right action, but you can act your way into right thinking
A quote from the great Bill Wilson himself. We have so many ideas, so many dreams. They only stay dreams if you do not take action. Even if you don’t believe in what you are doing you have to take action in order for your brain to catch up with you. We see this a lot in recovery by being of service to others. Our goal is not to be successful, but to be of maximum service to others after the damage we caused in our time of using. Being of service to others will give you a glimpse of the empowering feeling it gives to help another person which is said to be imperative to sobriety in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
9. Do the next right thing
We all get stuck sometimes. Stuck wondering which move to make, what path to take, and what our next step is. We over complicate our lives so much as addicts. Sometimes we need to simplify our decisions by asking ourselves, “What is the next right thing to do?” When I ask myself this, the answer is usually something so easy like eat or do my laundry. After I’ve wracked my brain for hours on my next 20 moves, all I had to do to start moving was just decide my next step. One foot in front of the other.
10. And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today
This is a quote from page 417 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It goes on to say, “Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy” How true this has been for me. I can easily see that anytime I am seriously struggling, it stems from me finding some person, place or situation unacceptable to me. As soon as I find the strength to accept those things as exactly the way they are meant to be, I can move on. This is a page in the book I am constantly referring back to because I often find things in my life that I think should be different. I can easily tell you that it is not up to me, yet somehow, I find myself feebly wishing things were a different way and this page brings me back to reality.
Staying sober is much easier than getting sober. These are a few of the sobriety mantras that I have reminded myself of to stay sane and sober. It’s important to remember that being sober is not a one-time decision. We must remind ourselves of these things constantly because it is simply in our nature to forget. Using drugs and alcohol is the ease and comfort we use when we think we cannot handle life on life’s terms. Keeping these mantras in mind when the road to recovery gets bumpy!
Getting Help at Wayside House
If you are a woman struggling with addiction and mental health issues, Wayside House can help. We offer a women-only program and provide a safe, supportive environment to recover in. We have outstanding treatments and therapies that are often only found in more expensive programs. We offer inpatient rehab with various therapies, relapse prevention education, outpatient, and aftercare, as well as services for medical professionals and veterans. Contact Wayside House at 800-655-0817 to learn more.