Those who are successful in their recovery have a suite of recovery practices that keep them “on track.” They put their willingness to change into intentional, disciplined daily rituals. This is the work that triggers transformation.
Rituals support recovery. They foster psychological and spiritual growth. Engaging in recovery practices prevents you from falling back into addiction. These practices not only help you grow, they give you the freedom to be who you are and live out of love.
- Recovery activities include:Mutual help recovery meetings, including both in-person and online meetings. These different forums for working on recovery give many options to meet people’s different needs and preferences. Options include:
- 12-step meetings
- Women for Sobriety (WFS), (www.womenforsobriety.org)
- Smart Recovery (www.smartrecovery.org),
- In the Rooms (www.intherooms.org)
- Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS), (www.sossobriety.org)
- LifeRing (www.lifering.org)
- Refuge Recovery (www.refugerecovery.org), and;
- Celebrate Recovery (www.celebraterecovery.com).
- Step Work from the 12-step tradition as a vehicle for personal growth and transformation.
- Work with recovery mentors.
- Therapy, both individual and group.
- Recovery readings.
Recovery-oriented meetings serve several purposes. They allow people to develop recovery contacts for mutual support, as no one with a severe addiction does recovery alone. Meetings allow people to learn from the wisdom and experience of others. They give people inspiration and hope when you hear how others have succeeded in the face of their disease. Another benefit of mutual help meetings is that they promote self-examination followed by self-expression. This promotes personal growth.
The steps promote recovery by encouraging you to live your life for something greater than yourself, with the help of others. They promote the attachment and interdependence needed to get by. They promote accountability for your actions and a radical acceptance of who you are without shame. Yet they also help you commit to change and transformation. Finally, they promote ongoing integrity, accountability, caretaking of your relationships, and spiritual growth, including service to others. Many who work the steps achieve a fulfilling life that reduces the compulsion to self-soothe with addictive substances or behaviors.
Recovery mentors serve as guides in your growth and transformation. They help people to stay sober and navigate the stresses and complexities of life. A good recovery mentor will help you transform your life for the better.
Ideal recovery mentors are individuals with extensive sobriety (5 years or more) who are free from all addictive substances and behaviors, including smoking. They are older than you are—a parent or older sibling figure. A good recovery mentor is tough, keeping you accountable. They are also kind, showing compassion without judgment. Good recovery mentors are also wise. They give helpful guidance born of their own recovery experience.
Treatment with a substance abuse specialist, including individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, or both, is another option. The support and insight you receive in therapy promotes growth, as addiction has an uncanny way of causing you to deceive yourself.
Writing in a journal brings to the surface what lies just below your awareness. Journaling brings focus and clarity to your life. It allows you to go deeper into the truth of your existence. As you write about your daily experiences, your feelings, dreams, thoughts, and memories, new insights emerge, which you can then share with others. Journaling gives you a safe, private forum in which to work out solutions to your daily dilemmas. You can invoke the “Wise Person” within you, writing about how he or she would solve a particular problem. You will often find yourself amazed at the wisdom you discover within yourself through journaling.
Recovery requires a daily grounding in the stillness of your being. You can do this with several techniques:
- Contemplative prayer
- Reading sacred texts
- Time alone in nature or in other quiet places, free of distraction.
The amount and nature of your recovery work will change over time. Adjust your recovery rituals to meet your changing needs. Commit to a daily, disciplined practice, for you must do the work to receive the blessings of recovery.