Strong boundaries are the foundation of my self-care. I began by saying no to a glass of wine, but now I’m able to say no to other uncomfortable holiday activities… When I look at my calendar in December, I often feel like I might hyperventilate. This holiday season, I encourage you to listen to your own little voice. Set boundaries, take care of yourself, and remember… Your sobriety is the best gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones.
Addiction causes changes within your brain that rob you of the ability to feel joy without the presence of alcohol or drugs. One of the biggest challenges of recovery is finding new ways to have fun. You may even have to force yourself to do things while your brain chemistry returns to normal. But here’s the good news – if you “fake it ‘til you make it”, you will find that engaging in healthy, positive activities can promote the natural production of your body’s “feel-good” chemicals. You will start enjoying yourself IN SPITE of yourself…
I stopped drinking almost 20 years ago, and I sometimes think that my real life began on that day in 1991. Getting sober was one of the best things I ever did, and, strangely, one of the most liberating. Drinking was one of the worst things I did, and I did it continuously and abusively from the age of 18 into my late 40s… I once thought that life couldn’t be fully experienced without alcohol: but the truth is the opposite – life can be more fully experienced without alcohol.
Gratitude is thrown around a lot in recovery. You hear the hard-core sober men and women say: “Get off your pity-pot and get in gratitude.” You hear gratitude is a necessary component of sobriety,” and “Write a gratitude list when you get in your head.” Why does everyone talk about gratitude so often? Because gratitude is scientifically proven to take the focus away from your struggles, shortcomings, and misfortunes, and redirect it to the goodness in your life.
In active addiction, I had no clue what enough was, so noticing quiet contentment takes practice. To savor moments of connection, beauty and inner peace—such as laughter before a meeting, a hug or word of care afterwards, or someone honestly telling her story—is the joy of lifelong recovery. Gratitude makes a difference because it shows me the subtle changes that occur over the months and years of recovery.
Spirituality can be defined in numerous ways but it largely refers to a belief in a power governing the universe that is greater than oneself, the sense of interconnectedness with all living beings, and the quest for self-knowledge, meaning, and purpose in one’s life… A regular spiritual practice allows us to find meaning and purpose in our lives … and can be a powerful tool in recovery from any condition.
For people in recovery, the line between “sober” and “not sober” is typically clearly defined. Alcohol and illegal drugs are a definite no. But along the way, many of us have been faced with decisions regarding more subtle dangers such as cough syrup, cooking wine, and pain medication, to name a few. Our guest post today discusses the potential challenges engendered by the proliferation of cannabis products as they become legalized in more and more areas.
Today, I truly believe that there is a Higher Power that cares for all of us. I still do not believe in socialized religion but that’s ok. I have admired many Christian prayers and I have been able to rely on many Buddhist teachings… I have actually been able to feel the guiding power in my life and in times of need it was always there to protect me and steer me in the right direction…