05 May Top 5 Routines of Actively Sober People
From the World of Chaos to the Comfort of Routine
In the midst of our disease, our world is chaos.
Everything we do feels rushed, overwhelming, and debilitating. Everyone we talk to is frustrating, nosy, and again, overwhelming. Every thought that enters our head feels cluttered, irrevocably powerful, and disheveled.
Our world is chaos and we don’t even realize the extent of our pain; what we do feel, however, is the weight of our thoughts: “life is so hard,” “why can’t I just get through one day without feeling like the world is ending,” “how can I keep on living this way forever?”
Then we get help. Whether self-diagnosed or court mandated, we find ourselves in a rehabilitation center for drugs and alcohol, or maybe even dual diagnosis.
No matter how hard we try and fight the feeling, deep down we know that at rehab we feel better, safer, and more comfortable. We can’t pin point exactly what makes us feel ‘better,’ but we feel it…
Here’s a little insight: it’s the routine.
You have a premeditated schedule developed strictly for helping you get off of drugs and alcohol. You attend the same center every day, speak with the same therapist every day, participate in the same groups at the same time every week, eat at the same time every day… We make order from your chaos, and it helps.
A healthy routine helps to establish stability, which is utterly lacking in our active addiction/alcoholism.
After the mind-blowing insight I have just provided for you, this statistic may not shock you…
[Drug/Alcohol relapse rate post-rehab statistic provided by Futures Palm Beach]
Rehabilitation centers aren’t a cure for alcoholism and drug addiction, despite TV commercials that say otherwise. Rehabilitation centers are a safe haven for individuals suffering from a disease, at which you learn tools for helping you stay sober and clean when you return to the real world.
One of the tools we emphasize at New Method Wellness is routine. Why? Because it works.
Think back to the last thing that you did consistently. What was it? For me, it is going to the gym every day after work. How did you feel when you followed through on a self-imposed commitment, consistently? Pretty good, huh?
Routine helps to develop self-trust. Every time we consistently complete a task, we build our confidence and reconstruct our perceptions of ourselves. We become more trustworthy, more reliable, more stable, and more honest.
What do you mean by ‘routine’? It sounds horrid.
So, what exactly am I talking about when I say ‘routine’?
A routine can be anything from simply drinking coffee in the morning, to a 30-minute meditation/stretching routine.
A routine is not the following:
- 4 hours long (though it can be if you like)
- A ‘to the minute’ schedule of your day
- The same for everyone
- Irregular or ‘once in a while’
- A negative contribution to your life
A routine is the following:
- A regular action or series of actions
- Unique to your needs and desires
- Subject to tweaks when necessary
- A positive contribution to your life
After surveying almost all of my sober co-workers (all with over 2 years of sobriety), I have composed a Top 5 list.
The question: What does your daily sober/clean routine look like? What do you do on a daily basis to contribute to your sobriety?
Number of sober people surveyed: 10
Top 5 Routines of Actively Sober People
- Early rise. How many of you woke up at the crack of dawn to meet up with your dealer? How many of you would hit the liquor store right when it opened to make sure you got your fix for the day? We go to any lengths to get our next fix so we must be willing to go to any lengths to stay sober. Waking up with the sun is scientifically proven to help anticipate problems, increase productivity, help with sleep problems, and boost optimism.
- Meditation. Every single person I surveyed includes meditation in their daily routine. Whether they use guided meditation with an app, they read pages from sobriety literature, or they practice yoga and stretching, everyone makes meditation a part of their daily routine. You may be thinking: “I am not sane enough to sit down for 10 minutes and not go crazy.” I thought the same thing. Fortunately, meditation comes in all shapes and sizes; some people (including me) use journaling as a form of meditation, others go for a walk in the brisk morning air or sit outside with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and listen to the sounds of nature. As your sobriety/clean time develops, so will your meditation.
- Call sponsor or mentor. No matter what you do in life, having a mentor is a great tool. A sponsor is essentially a sobriety mentor; they help you learn how to live life sober by sharing their experience. The majority of sober people I surveyed call their sponsor at the same time every day; not mandatory, but helpful. Whether you’ve had a great day or an ‘off’ day, it’s nice to share your experiences with someone who has been in your shoes.
- Call 3 sober people a day. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read our article on friendships in sobriety, I recommend you take a couple of minutes to do so. Who you call is just as important as calling. Pick 3 people who you’ve just met, you’ve known for a while, or people you want to get to know and give them a call. This may sound extremely intimidating; it certainly did to me… before I did it. I have yet to get off the phone after calling a fellow sober person and kick myself for calling them. Generally, we have very good conversations about our days, and it’s surprising how much you can open up to a stranger. The more people you get to know, the better your chances for long-lasting sobriety. Trust me.
- Homegroup. Whether you choose an AA group, a church or worship group, or a meditation/yoga group, having a place to go weekly is both comforting and helpful. At first, all the faces in the group are unfamiliar and overwhelming, but the next week you recognize a few people, and the week after that a few people come up to you to introduce themselves, the week after that you say ‘hi’ to them by name, and before you know it, you have developed friendships with like-minded people. They hold you accountable and wonder where you went if you miss a week. This type of support is priceless and fundamental to staying sober and clean.
A Few Helpful Tips
Some of the routine items I provided above may seem a bit overwhelming, so here are a few tips for actually implementing these routine items into your everyday life.
- Brain Wave
- Stop, Breathe & Think
5 Tips for Calling a New Person
- Take 3 deep breaths
- Dial the number, close your eyes if you need to and press ‘call’
- When they answer say: “Hi my name is _______ from _________, I am trying to call 3 men/women a day as suggested by _________. I was wondering how your day is going?”
- I promise you, they will take the conversation from there. If they don’t, you can say: “I’m glad your doing well. Thank you for taking my call! I will see you at __________ next week/tomorrow/tonight.”