Getting off drugs or alcohol has less to do with willpower and more to do with change. Some people are ready for change and some are not. And even though it’s a nice thing to have, willpower alone won’t affect lasting transformation. The journey is too complex and the addiction is too deep, both physically and psychologically.
The great news for all of us, no matter where we are on our journey through addiction and recovery, people can and do change. It happens every day. A new life is possible. In fact, change is one of the few aspects of life we can affect, and all we have to do is … something. Here are five places to simply do something. Start small, but start somewhere. Because if you don’t change, you won’t change.
1. Change Your Day
Your whole existence is simply a string of events. Moments that lead into each other. Most of our lives, we move through these moments without much thought. They simply become our lives. You can effect significant change when you understand your ruts, routines, and rituals. And change them. Maybe now is the time to decide to get up earlier. This small change will give you more time in the morning to take life in. Eat breakfast, spend time centering yourself with meditation, take a walk, think through your day, all of these things are possible. Or maybe now is the time to decide to do something scary. This may sound strange, but familiarity is one of the enemies of sobriety. When we settle into the same ruts and routines, we are likely to come across our triggers or simply slip into not caring. When you choose to make a change by doing something scary every day, we choose to find new forms of fun. We find new interests, and we make new connections that were hidden to us before. Get out there today and do something scary. Then do it tomorrow and the day after that.
2. Change Your Body
Some amount of vanity is good, especially when it has to do with a desire to look good and get fit. It can be an amazing motivator. Once you are off drugs and alcohol you will notice something: you are healthier. Use this to your advantage. It’s time to get that six-pack. It’s time to get your body fit. It’s time to shape yourself into what you have always believed was possible. Here are some concrete change options for you to consider.
If you are serious, get out there and join CrossFit. Joining a gym is a great option (and more affordable), but the nice thing about CrossFit is the direct instruction you receive. And it becomes more than just exercising for people involved. It is an identity—a great way to focus your attention and find accountability and community. Another option is to join a sports team. There should be plenty in your area. Did you have an interest in any sports when you were young? Get on your city website and find a soccer or basketball team in your area. Or you can try meetup.com; it’s a website and app where you can find other people. Try it out and search for exercise and see what comes up.
3. Change Your Relationships
This can be hard for someone in recovery because, often for addicts, everyone is allowed in. Other drug and alcohol users have access, and the become influencers. But that is exactly the issue—the people you let in your life affect you, influence you, and even reflect you. It’s time to get intentional about who you let in your life. Finding some sober friends has to become a priority. At the very least recovering addicts need people in their lives who support their sobriety.
You can try the Meetup app for this as well. Get on there and connect with people that share your interests. Or you can go to church or temple or some other religious gathering. Are you interested in politics? Get involved in your party’s local chapter. Remember, addiction has put your life in danger. You have to do what’s right for you and your family right now. This is a big change.
4. Change Your Direction
Are you thinking about starting school? Looking for a new career? Repairing your relationship with your family? Now is the time to do it. This change will make a massive difference in your deeper motivations. But it can start with some small changes. First, get out a pen and paper and write down your aspirations and goals. Get clear on certain things in life that are important to you: career, finances, family, education, art, health, spirituality. Here is a page that can give you more direction with goal setting. This is also a time to find some deeper meaning in life. Think about how you can give back to others. Consider being a sponsor in AA, volunteering at a homeless kitchen, or starting a blog where you can write your experiences and have a meaningful impact in the life of someone else who is on a similar journey.
5. Change Your Mind
“Drugs take you to hell disguised as heaven” (Donald Lynn Frost).
This is the biggest change. And most important. You already know this. Your relationships are in chaos. You can’t keep a job. You are lying every day to the people you work with and live with. Oh, and by the way, you are stealing from people you care about. And even if you aren’t, you are pouring money down the black hole of your addiction. You can’t remember what it is like to be happy (outside of your immediate fix). Your emotions are not yours; they are owned by your addiction. Also, this is all going to end. That is the one guarantee every addict can bank on. Here are your options: jail, death, or sobriety.
Do the small changes. But eventually, the big one is going to have to happen. And that’s the most important one. It’s time to change your mind.
Are you ready?
Changing your mind is not easy, but we can help. First Steps Recovery can provide you the services and personal care you need to make your recovery a reality. Our experienced staff will work with you every step of your treatment journey and implement an individualized plan of recovery that will perfectly fit your unique and specific needs. Call First Steps Recovery today and create your own success story: 1-844-244-7837. (Or simply give us your phone number at the top of this page, and we will call you).