We all have been told that when we become clean and sober our lives will drastically get better. For the addict and alcoholic who has been left with nothing, these gains in recovery can become overwhelming. Let’s face it, in early recovery sometimes just staying sober is all you can handle. However, when the miracles begin to happen, how do you cope?
Here are some of the gifts:
Health and Well-Being
Although these gifts sound exciting, they can also be triggers.
Emotional sobriety can be quite un-comfortable at first. Suddenly we are no longer numbing our emotional pain with drugs and alcohol. The stress at any given moment can put us in a state of frenzy. How about the days we actually are feeling positive and happy? Sometimes in early recovery these feelings feel foreign and intolerable and we don’t know what to do with them. For starters, talk to someone about them, whether it is a sponsor, a therapist, a spiritual advisor, or a friend. Journal about these new feelings. Discover why it is being happy is so un-bearable. Reflect how chaos and depression made you feel, and you may feel completely elated life is so good.
Next is health and well-being. Suddenly we have more energy and don’t know what to do with it. Now is the time to just move. Go to the gym, jog, take up yoga, hit some tennis balls, walk the dog, or do the treadmill for 10 minutes. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you move your body. This energy needs to be expressed not only emotionally, but physically. It also doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You don’t need an hour and a half work out to feel good.
We all know what you used to do with that extra cash. What are you going to do with it now? Start a savings account, perhaps. Give to charity. Maybe put it away for a business you have always wanted to start or for a vacation to celebrate your first year sober. The important thing is to have a plan.
Suddenly you are faced with more time on your hands. Boredom can be your greatest trigger. Structure will be your most important asset. Plan your days well with all the tools you have learned that have kept you sober.
Each day needs to be filled with meaning and purpose, and the best way to do that is to have a plan. Schedule your days with meaningful activities whether it is going to meetings, doing service work, enjoying a hobby, or working at a job you enjoy. It doesn’t matter what you do with your time, but do something that is fulfilling and keeps you moving forward in your life.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in Agoura Hills, CA. She specializes in addictions, trauma, post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, as well as helping her clients find their purpose. She is the Life Coach and Psychotherapist on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew on VH1 and has been a contributing expert on CNN Headline News, Inside Edition, Fox News, as well as Cosmopolitan Magazine, Elle Magazine, the New York Daily News, the Huffington Post, and E-online. She is a contributing author of the “Conscious Entrepreneur” and her new book, “The Law of Sobriety” will be out in September 2010. She can be reached at [email protected] www.sgabatherapy.com. She does life coaching by phone or in person and serves the following areas: Westlake Village, Agoura, Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Simi Valley, Moorpark, Newbury Park, Malibu, and Camarillo.