By Steps to Recovery on November 27, 2012

When alcohol or drugs have been the top priority in your life for any length of time, it may be really hard to look beyond your addiction and find some small piece of your real self to grab onto. Some little bit of the truest you that can remind you that your addiction is not all of who you are. Even when an addict or alcoholic knows it’s time to stop, many are convinced that they still enjoy drinking or using drugs, but another piece of this person knows that it is time for a change. Getting clean and sober for YOU is the best gift you can give yourself, as well as your loved ones.

The first step toward recovery is simply making the decision that it is time to get clean. Once you decide that this time is THE time to get sober from drugs or alcohol and really believe it, it will be easier to make clear choices that will help you choose your recovery path. Set goals for sobriety and write them in a journal. Keep using this journal as a record of your progress toward your goals.

When you have made a specific and realistic goal for yourself, you can begin taking steps toward getting well. The following steps helped me in my journey.

1) Find support for your recovery journey. Find the right detox, rehab or recovery program for you. Tell someone about your goal to get sober. Find people who will support you in your sobriety. Find other people who have recovered from addiction. Start going to 12 Step meetings or other recovery support groups.

2) Take care of yourself. Do you truly believe that you deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life? If you find that you don’t believe you are worth the time or effort, you may be depressed or you may be struggling with issues of trauma, regret or loss. It is very helpful to seek the help and advice of an experienced counselor or other mental health expert about these concerns. Therapists and counselors are people who dedicate their lives to helping people overcome difficulties in life. You don’t have to do it on your own.

3) Examine your core issues. You became an addict for a reason, and it wasn’t just because you enjoy using drugs and alcohol. Every addict’s experience is different. It should be at the top of your list of priorities to identify your core issues and begin working through them. This is essential to achieving long term recovery and beginning to live authentically. If necessary, seek out a program that has support for co-occurring disorders to make sure you are receiving the best help possible.

4) Don’t give up. You aren’t alone. When you feel helpless or like you just can’t go on, reach out to someone who understands. There are many people just like you in the world who are ready to listen when you need it and offer support when you are having a hard time.

5) Imagine a life free from alcohol or drugs. How has addiction kept you from living your life to the fullest and functioning at your highest potential? How have your finances been affected by your addiction or alcoholism? How have your relationships with family, friends and loved ones been impacted? Imagine a future without the chains of addiction holding you back. Imagine how happy you will be. Hold on to that feeling, and let it guide you to your goal.

Sobriety is possible and obtainable for anyone if they really put their mind to it. What steps did you take to get sober?