There was a good discussion today in AAA (atheist/agnostic AA) about whether we blaze our own trail in recovery, or follow a leader and stay on the path.
It was interesting because there were good answers on both sides. Obviously, since it was an AA meeting, we all use some form of AA to stay sober. Some folks were talking about having sponsors and doing the AA steps multiple times, and some were sharing that steps are not part of their recovery, and many of us do not have sponsors (or want one).
Frankly, I’m just glad there are meetings.
We are such social creatures. It helps so much to have a group where we can all speak to the same experiences and the same wish for recovery. Being able to talk about our struggles and triumphs is the greatest gift of AA. Having that group be nonreligious is a must for me, which is why I think of our little tribe of heathens as a special place. I know it’s not a normal AA meeting, because I’ve been to a lot of those, as well!
When we were all sharing, I got out my journal and quickly jotted down the things I do to maintain my sobriety and to keep moving forward in my recovery. I came up with:
- Meditation. This started out as something I had to do for the Intensive Outpatient Program, and has grown into something I *need* to do daily for myself. I really never understood the buzz about meditation until I was doing it every day. It makes a huge difference in my day if I have or have not meditated.
- Exercise. I keep going to the gym, hoping for results. So far, the best result is I’ve stopped gaining weight. There is hope!
- Eating and drinking better. I’ve switched from soda to cucumber/lemon/mint water, and it’s been a great change. I’m also concentrating on trying hard to cut a lot of calories.
- Podcasts, youtube speeches, etc. I listen to a lot of recovery podcasts (Recovery Elevator, SinceRightNow, TheBubbleHour, RecoverGirl, HOME Podcast, etc).
- Art. I know, it’s simple and not exactly van Gogh, but art centers me and gives me breathing room. It’s been my lifeline this last few days.
- Books. I’m a dedicated, dyed-in-the-wool bookworm. As great as blogs and podcasts are, there is nothing like a paperback in your hands, with words of wisdom and humor and kinship jumping off the page at you. It’s uplifting. And I like to make notes in my recovery books. I’m always giving my books away, and I wonder where all those doodles and personal observations end up. I wonder if the new owners, and the next new owners, and so forth, also make notes. It would be like writing a collective and cooperative new book in an old book.
- Involving my family. This has been a huge part of my recovery, especially since my relapse. I am completely up front and honest with my kids about where I am in this journey. They don’t always understand, (thank goodness, and I hope some things they never *have* to understand!), but they are always grateful for the honest communication.
- Writing this blog. 🙂
- AAA, and the book Refuge Recovery. I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’m going to start up a RR meeting in my town. I’m just rereading the book to make sure I’m ready to “lead” a meeting, and I have a place I am pretty sure will work. Crazy!
So, that’s a lot of stuff I do aside from my 2-3x/week AAA habit. There are LOTS of ways to stay sober, lots of ways to help yourself not drink. Trying them all has been an adventure for me.
In other news, our family emergency sort of exploded this week. It’s so completely stressful, and yet I’ve been dealing with it all as though I’m on top of it, not “in” it. I don’t think I’m worried about a relapse, or falling to pieces when it’s over. I think I have a good enough handle on this recovery stuff—for right now—that I’m just able to do what needs to be done.
I keep asking myself if there’s anything I could be doing that I’m not doing, and the answer is always, “No.” I can’t ask for more than that.
As far as art goes…OMG. How did I not know how awesome acrylic paint is???? I’ve been awash in watercolors for years, never ever dabbled in acrylics. I am having SOSOSOSO much fun. I’ve been doing THIS project over and over again. I even got all the kids to do one, as well, and they loved it!
I’ve also been working on silly little additions to my girls’ room: I made fairy light jars and we put up lots of our artworks and made tons of paper butterflies with clothespins attached, to hang from strings around the room. We’ve made mobiles and colored from adult coloring books and added those to the walls. Window stars, paper flowers, you name it.
So I’m hanging in there. Life is so much better sober. It’s insane, even thinking of messing up my ability to be present for all the pure craziness that’s going on now. Alcohol simply cannot be a part of my life if I want to live it in the best way I know how. I’m so glad, so grateful, to have found recovery.
Have a wonderful Thursday, all.