The Need for Other People

The Need for Other People

I had worked on sobriety for quite some time before I understood that I was missing the magic ingredient of other people. I did not want to trouble anyone. I did not want to be different than anyone. And I felt no personal connection to women in recovery. I wanted to quietly change one tiny part of my life and then get on with the rest of it. So I took the isolated approach. I troubled no one; was no different than anyone; and developed no personal connections.

Recovery Consciousness: With or Without God?

Recovery Consciousness: With or Without God?

Why is the idea of “belonging to something greater than oneself” such an intense psychosocial need? More importantly, is “God” the only path to that sort of belonging? And is sobriety — and even regular garden-variety self-improvement — really out of reach if one does not believe in the supernatural? Many people believe so… What is the benefit of twining religion with addiction recovery? And is there hope for addicts who prefer a different type of motivation than “spiritual guidance” for turning their life around?

The Importance of Emotional Sobriety

The Importance of Emotional Sobriety

We give much attention to getting sober from drugs and alcohol but emotional sobriety is something that, in alcoholic or dysfunctional families, everyone loses. And everyone needs to get back. The essence of emotional sobriety is good self-regulation… when we can’t bring our feeling and thinking into some sort of balance, our life and our relationships feel out of balance too. The ability to self-regulate, to bring ourselves into balance, is key to emotional sobriety.

Recovery Consciousness: Resolutions Done Right

Recovery Consciousness: Resolutions Done Right

If you take the time to create actionable goals for yourself, your New Year’s resolutions can be an important tool in promoting a lasting recovery. Most New Year’s resolutions fail because they are too vague or the person making the resolution hasn’t thought about how to achieve their goal. To set effective goals, the SMART goals framework is well-suited for people in recovery because it provides concrete suggestions for breaking down the vague goal of “sober” into a series of steps that provide a foundation for success.

Spend a Fantastic New Year’s Eve—Sober

Spend a Fantastic New Year’s Eve—Sober

During my first year of sobriety, the mere thought of New Year’s Eve had me panicking months in advance (like, September). I couldn’t fathom the idea of spending such a holiday without my two besties: drugs and alcohol… Now, two years later, I find myself less and less preoccupied (read: obsessed) with these two formerly-preferred party favors of mine. I’m by no means cured of my addiction… All I have are my own experiences and ideas to share. In the past 24 months, I’ve actually managed to enjoy several smashingly jocular holidays without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Recapturing Holiday Magic–Sober!

Recapturing Holiday Magic–Sober!

It is not the abstaining from alcohol that’s difficult and isolating—it’s the stubborn insistence that you either play along with faux revelry or keep quiet and drink your juice with a smile. It’s a false dichotomy: one that says you must either lie to yourself and others, or be miserable. You are either the whole, happy town of Whoville or the Grinch, determined to abscond with everyone else’s joy. This is why we sober people get quiet in groups of holiday revelers: We can’t quite play along, but we also don’t want to get in the way of your fun.

A Toolkit for Sober Holidays

A Toolkit for Sober Holidays

A lot of people experience the hardest parts of sobriety during the holidays — when family, friends, constant partying around alcohol and substances, and even past traumas from this time of the year — all seem to be in full force. The holidays may be an extremely difficult time, and experiencing them through sobriety (for the first time, or for the thirtieth!) can sometimes feel daunting. Everyone’s journey is different, but I wanted to be able to share some of my coping mechanisms with you in the hopes that it might help. Whether you yourself are sober, or you know someone who is newly sober, I hope you find these tips helpful in your own way. I like to call them my ‘tool kit’ for living.