Can you believe it? We are two-thirds through this very trying year of 2020. It is clear to everyone that it has been a very difficult year. We are about 5 months into this pandemic that has impacted many different demographics, a major one being those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Even during a normal year, which this year is anything but, I like to do a sort of ‘spot check’ on my sobriety. I do it a few times a year to be honest.
As I go further down my recovery journey, for me I just passed 5 years, it is crucial to take somewhat of an inventory of my current life in recovery and cover a few key areas in it. We aren’t talking about doing a thorough 4th step here, although that is never a bad idea. Rather, taking an honest look at the current state of a few areas of life. As the sober life begins to feel more normal (and for those who are early on in their recovery, yes, it does start to feel normal!) it is easy to slip back into old habits and old belief systems without having any intention to do so.
This practice is especially vital in a year like 2020, where there have been so many unexpected challenges for everyone.
Let’s look at a few areas of life we should take an honest look at.
Everybody has relationships in their life that have varying levels of importance. When we were in active addiction, many of the relationships became strained or non-existent. Perhaps the greatest part of getting clean and sober is re-establishing those friendships and any other relationship that you may have ruined.
So, how have the interactions in your meaningful relationships been lately? Have you been stressed and taking it out on them in some way? Maybe you have been isolating a little too much during this pandemic and haven’t reached out to see how others you are close to are doing.
Whenever I look at my personal relationships, I will pick out one person to reach out to that day that I felt I haven’t talked to in a little while. Sometimes it’s a five minute conversation, other times we talk for hours, but I have found there is always someone I haven’t talked to in at least a decent amount of time. When I do reach out I always feel great afterwards.
It’s up to you to realize if you have done anything wrong to anybody recently, whether intentional or not, and to make some type of amends for it. In my opinion it’s inevitable we are going to do something that’s worthy of an apology every now and then.
Chances are if you have strung together any amount of time in recovery, there are certain things you would do and continue to do that keep you sober one day at a time! Well, if you’re not aware yet, you are not perfect and there is a good possibility you are slipping in some areas! It happens to me all the time.
There are a lot of pieces to balance if you are living a happy, healthy, spiritual life. We all have our own practices/rituals, that we try our best to do everyday or every week. For many of us it’s stuff like:
- Going to meetings
- Meeting with a sponsor
- Meeting with sponsees
- Home group commitments
- Going to church
Of course there are also things very personal and unique to you that help you stay ‘on the beam’ as they say in recovery. While you’re checking in on your current recovery, reflect on those things that you know are crucial to your sobriety. Is there anything you are lacking in or forgetting to do recently? Maybe there is something you’ve been wanting to try but keep putting it off.
Whatever the case, remember, nobody is perfect and we all fall short in recovery. It does not matter that you fall short, it matters that you acknowledge it and bounce back. Personally, I find it extremely beneficial to talk about my recent shortcomings with a sponsor or friend in recovery. It keeps me humble and makes me more accountable.
Forget for a moment how you are treating other people, how are you treating yourself? Self-care does not come naturally to many of us yet it is one of the most important areas of our lives. In order to be available to others you need to be at your best and take care of yourself first.
Between how we talk to ourselves and what we do for ourselves, we need to really evaluate if we are truly caring for ourselves at this moment in time.
An area that I really struggle in with self-care is what am I telling myself? You know what I mean, that judge in our mind that has a habit of criticizing our actions and character constantly? I can only speak for myself, but I can be pretty terrible to myself and it can really wear me down.
Aside from that, I must ask if I have done anything for myself lately? Treated myself to anything? Have I taken a day to just relax and enjoy something I’m passionate about?
Work on some positive affirmations, think about what you are grateful for, set aside a day next week to do something you enjoy. It is imperative to have some leisure time in life, especially in a stressful time such as this pandemic we are in.
Do yourself a favor and analyze your current state of recovery. Be honest about it and I’m sure you will find some areas that need a few screws tightened. It’s been my experience that every time I do analyze my current state of affairs that I find something quite glaring that I have been missing! I am a much better person in recovery because of it.
**Please note that this article is written by a person in recovery who has vast knowledge and experience but is not a licensed professional. For professional advice and help please contact MindPath’s Addiction Recovery Center or see a licensed addiction therapist near you.**
Daniel Wittler is a writer in recovery from New Jersey who writes for sites like Stodzy Internet Marketing along with many other sites. Daniel believes absolutely anyone can get sober provided they are ready to take action.