I’ve had the privilege of working with tons of recovering addicts over the past 5 years. Lots of them are doing well today, some of them are still trying to figure it out, and many of them never made it past the first few months.
Why? Well, there are lots of contributing factors, but in my experience there are a couple glaringly obvious things that will get you drunk faster than you can say Cooter Brown.
Check them out…
There’s an unwritten rule of recovery that says you’re NOT allowed to be in relationships within the first year. I swear, if people would just follow this one rule, the relapse rate would be cut in half in a matter of months. But most addicts refuse to follow this. They are stubborn and don’t like to be told what to do. Real big surprise, huh?
The reason why this is stressed so strongly in most treatment facilities and certainly in the HIA Mentoring Homes, is because addicts early on are just not ready emotionally to be in a relationship. For the first time in years, they are just beginning to feel their own feelings, which means they are in NO position to take on someone else’s.
On top of that, relationships takes energy. Energy we early addicts don’t have. For the first year of our recovery, our full energy should be focused on working OUR program and growing our connection spiritually.
As hard as this is for some of you to hear, early sobriety should be a very self-centered program. There will come a time to focus on others, a time to make amends and start working on finding healthy relationships. But the first year of your sobriety is not that time. This is the time to just focus on you.
Keep your eyes on the prizes, your hands off other people, and you’ve got a good chance at this…
Pride = Relapse
every. single. time.
If you have a big dose of pride, you probably have a very small amount of surrender. I would even go as far as saying the opposite of recovery is not relapse, but pride. Because true recovery starts and ends with humility. Every basic tenant of recovery requires a large dose of humility to accomplish. If you lack humility, then you have no shot.
Pride will keep you from going to sober living.
Pride will keep you from going to meetings.
Pride will keep you from sharing in meetings.
Pride will tell you it’s ok to have a girlfriend or boyfriend.
Pride will tell you that no higher power can ever change you.
Pride will convince you that you don’t need a sponsor.
Pride will whisper in your ear that no one ever needs to know your secrets.
Pride will tell you that however many days you have accumulated, you’ve done it on your own.
Pride is a killer.
If you want to stay clean, start by staying humble.
There is one relationship you can have in early sobriety and it will also help you take care of that pride issue. That relationship is with God. What I hope you find in that relationship is a friend that will stick by your side forever. Someone who will listen to you, love you, and fight for you while you try to change your life.
I use this prayer every morning to help remind me that I need God and that I am not him.
God, I offer myself to Thee. To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always! Amen
In summary, stay away from relationships and stay close to God. You do those 2 things, good chance that bottle never hits your lips.