Today marks 200 days since my last drink of alcohol. I’ve said from the beginning that the one year mark is when I’ll truly be proud of myself. I celebrate all these milestones along the way and I am proud of them but there’s something about one year, a complete cycle of getting through every calendar-related excuse, that sticks out to me. It’s not by any means the finish line, it’s just the mark at which I’ll truly feel like I can do this for the long haul.
With that being said, I want to dive right into talking about some of the tools and resources that have helped me get to 200 days alcohol-free. You’ll hear me talk a lot on here about how I’m taking a holistic approach to sobriety. Holistic meaning using a wide range of tools to encompass all areas of a sober lifestyle. I’m not just doing one or two things, I’m taking advantage of all of the resources I can. The first set of points are professional services and are separated out because I realize that isn’t an option for everyone. The second set is more general and accessible.
- Inpatient Detox – I had to be medically detoxed. Eight days in a treatment center set the foundation for my recovery.
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) – Upon release from detox, I began an IOP which consisted of three-hour group meetings three nights per week for seven weeks (21 sessions).
- One-on-One Counseling – I meet with a therapist weekly or every other week, depending on what’s going on in life, for about 45-60 minutes per session. Forget about the stigma of seeing a therapist, it has been the single greatest help in my journey.
- Relapse Prevention Group – After my IOP ended, I began attending a relapse prevention group led by my one on one therapist once a week for an hour and a half per week for 16 weeks.
- Case Management – I also take advantage of case management services offered by my local treatment center. My case manager helps keep me organized and accountable with the slew of goals I have.
- Med Management – My local treatment center also offers medication management services. It’s been a journey to find solutions to help manage my anxiety and tremors.
- Vivitrol Injection – I receive a monthly Vivitrol injection to help reduce cravings. Since I do so many things to maintain my sobriety I’m not always sure what is working individually but I do know that I haven’t had any major cravings or close calls in the 6+ months I’ve been clean and on Vivitrol.
- Aftercare Group – The facility that I detoxed at and attended the IOP at offers a free one-hour weekly aftercare group for those who successfully complete the IOP.
- A Higher Power – For me, that’s God. I have my beliefs and a relationship with my God. I understand it’s a hangup for many people in recovery but I can’t skip over the role that God plays in my personal journey.
- This Naked Mind by Annie Grace – This book is awesome and reading it is the #1 thing I recommend to do regardless of the treatment path you choose. Annie also has a website, blog, podcast, courses, and community built around the book. I could rave about it forever and I will in a separate post. Buy the book on Amazon.
- Meditation & Mindfulness – Oh, how I wish I were better at this. Early on in my recovery, I was learning the art of proper meditation and it was a great help. However, over time as life has become more busy and stressful, it has been harder and harder for me to get back into being able to really meditate. It’s something I admit I need to work on. I do highly recommend the app Headspace for some great basic guided meditations to get started.
- Journaling – Writing, for me, is super therapeutic. I enjoy writing the good old fashioned way with a pen and a notebook. I’m about to fill up my third 100-page notebook in the six months that I’ve been sober. It also helps to track my recovery activities and take notes about my day to use as a reference when I’m meeting with my therapist and case manager.
- Exercise – Since I do a lot of work at a computer staying active and getting the endorphins going, even for a short time, helps my mood and energy level big time. I’ve always been a skinny guy but it’s still important to get exercise. I have a membership at the local city gym that I don’t use as often as I should but if nothing else I try to at least get in a 30-minute walk even when I don’t feel like it.
- Diet – Eating regularly and eating right is a huge battle for me. With my anxiety, I often have an upset stomach and don’t feel like eating. Getting into a routine and healthy eating habit affects my energy and mood and makes it so much easier to deal with daily life.
- Meetings – Early in my recovery I attended AA and NA meetings on a regular basis. Now, it’s more from time to time. I do enjoy going to new meetings and hearing new stories and perspectives.
- Facebook Group – I’m a member of a private Facebook group for those in recovery. Being an online group, there are some bad seeds and drama and such. It’s important to focus only on the people and posts that are constructive to sobriety.
- Reading – I’m constantly buying new books to read. In fact, I have a stack of probably six or seven books that I have bought in the past couple months alone that I haven’t even opened yet. Again, I prefer the old fashioned way of buying a physical copy of a book and reading it. But, I’m constantly reading recovery related blogs and articles online as well. I get so passionate about recovery from addiction that I want to learn all there is to learn about it.
- Gratitude – Taking time each day to be thankful for three things. Even if I sat at home on the couch and did nothing all day, I can find three things that I’m grateful for. For example, I’m grateful that I have a roof over my head, a couch to do noting on and the freedom to nothing. Do that on a regular basis and it becomes a habit to be mindful of what you are grateful for. I use a simple app called HappyFeed to enter my three daily gratitudes each evening.
- Relaxation Beverages – It may seem a little strange but since I drank alcohol all day every day for so long, I still feel the need to have something to drink with me at all times. I can only drink so much water and I have to limit my caffeine intake so I’ve been turned on to what is called relaxation beverages. Neuro Bliss, Just Chill, and Sipp are some of my favorites.
I did mention that I take a holistic approach to recovery, right? This list isn’t even everything. It is a pretty good look at what has worked for me though. You don’t have to do it all. The point is that there are so many ways you can work on sobriety. The concept of OWN Sobriety is to make sobriety a lifestyle that lasts for the long haul. For me, it’s about being open to trying new things and finding what works. If I have a bunch of tools and resources to choose from when I’m struggling, I’m much more likely to find something other than a drug or alcohol to help pull me out of my funk.
That’s all till next time. To get notified when I publish my next post, subscribe to mailing list under Get Updates in the sidebar. Own it ODAAT. Love y’all.