Famous actor, Matthew Perry, once said “If I don’t have my sobriety, I don’t have anything.” This feeling of desperation towards staying sober is common, especially when you’re newly sober. Being new to recovery, the process can be difficult. Whether you’re navigating relationships with a counselor, therapist, probation officer, or social worker, the many steps can seem daunting.
We asked our counselors to weigh in on tips that can help you create a recovery toolkit for the first 30 days. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Memorize Phrases
Believe it or not, common phrases that you’ve memorized and can recite in your head can help keep your focus on your recovery and off temptation to use. Staying motivated is helpful as you get through the first 30 days of making changes and adapting to recovery. Here are a few phrases that our counselors suggest:
- “Meeting makers make it, so make meetings until they make sense”
- “The only thing that needs to change is everything”
- “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result”
- “If we do what we've always done, we'll get what we’ve always gotten”
- “Take it one day at a time”
The first 30 days of sobriety can be a struggle. It won’t always be easy. Remember to surrender yourself to the process of recovery and be open to suggestions. As you are working to change, consider everything in your life – for example, think about your reactions, think before speaking, and accept the help you’re being offered. Surrender to recovery and to the journey ahead of you – you’ll be thankful you did.
3. Process Feedback
It’s okay to ask time to process feedback that others are giving that may make you feel angry or uncomfortable at first. It’s normal to take a step back when you hear something you don’t want to hear…so stay silent, process feedback or comments that you’re being given, and when you feel ready, respond.
4. Avoid Rationalization
It has been said that rationalizing is the devil. Stay in the now, and stay focused on your recovery. Don’t let yourself believe that after making it 30 days that you’re now ready to drink or use “just a little bit.” Hold close to what you’ve learned and all that you’ve worked for, and then keep going.
By keeping these tools close to you during your first 30 days, you increase your ability to manage recovery and pave the way to a fruitful journey. Work with your support network, counselor, and family to tailor your recovery journey to what is unique to you, while listening to advice from others who have been in your shoes. Think of other tools that work for you – physical activity, meditation, recovery meetings, support groups, sober friends…think of your personal toolkit and stick with it.
The first 30 days may be tough, but if you take it day by day and use tools and resources to help you along the way, the first month will be over before you know it, and you can stay filled with hope about the future ahead of you.