A personal sobriety plan has been one of the most successful tools for my recovery. Innately, I am a planner. I don’t like surprises, but more importantly, I take on a lot. Therefore, when something needs to be accomplished, I have to plan for it to make sure it gets done. Now, I literally cannot function properly or tackle the commitments I’ve been blessed with until I put my recovery first. When it comes to planning, my sobriety is at the top of the list. It has to be, unfortunately, I learned the hard way so I know without shadow of a doubt that my recovery is my No. 1 priority.
How to plan for sobriety
Having a sobriety plan isn’t just keeping a routine to keep your recovery in check. It’s also playing the tape through and knowing how to stay sober during certain triggers or “life on life’s terms” scenarios pop up. It is also self care and “adulting” (aka having a budget, going to the doctor, showing up even when you don’t want to, etc.). You know, all the stuff that seems like a chore, but after you do it, you feel satisfied. Paying my bills makes me cringe but because I am sober, I can pay my bills. That was something I couldn’t say in the past.
What goes into making a personal sobriety plan
Having a threefold personal sobriety plan works for me. This means I have an organized way to tackle my recovery, responsibilities, and self care … and doing so allows me to live a happy, sober life. In the beginning, I had to be more diligent in planning every little thing out, but once I got the routine down, I just needed to fill in rest.
Your recovery is the most important piece of your sobriety plan
This part of my plan is where I lay out the meat of my sobriety, so to say. On a day-to-day basis, I read my meditations, pray during certain times (and throughout if I am feeling it), call my sponsor, talk to my therapist, go to meetings, do stepwork, meet with my sponsorship family, etc. In early sobriety, I literally planned out all of this on a weekly scheduler.
Now, with 4 years sober (God willing) this month, a lot of it has become second nature. I may not go to meetings everyday, but I don’t pick up a drug or a drink no matter what. I have also learned to recognize and lean on my support network to call attention to when I need more recovery in my life. Stay open-minded and humble is important 100% of the time. On some days, it can be a lifesaver.
Adulting is No. 2
Ohhhh the responsibilities. Like I said, they may not be fun but reframe those thoughts. Be grateful that sticking to your sobriety plan has gifted you with the ability to take care of yourself. Of course, these are tasks that seem to accumulate the longer you stay sober. In the beginning, I needed help paying my rent and even had to give up my car because I couldn’t afford it. Now, I pay all my bills and even save money to tackle the unforeseen … now that is a forward-thinking idea not even on my radar in early sobriety.
Being accountable goes beyond the financials. How about showing up at a family gathering even though you don’t want to or saying sorry to a friend because you were in the wrong. Being a sober adults means we show up and keep our side of the street clean. We help others and get outside of ourselves, even when we don’t want to. Relationships are important and setting time aside to show up for them is definitely a priority for healthy living.
Self care is the icing on the cake
This good stuff can also feel like a chore. I work 2 jobs and run a nonprofit kinkajou sanctuary fulltime so I am basically working 3 to 4 jobs sometimes contingent on the needs of the animals and admin work. Let’s add responsibilities in to that … and my goodness, I barely have time for myself. In fact, most of the time, it is uncomfortable for me to take time for myself. Self care is beyond spending time with others. It is important to spend time with oneself to rejuvenate and even enrich the relationship you have within. Some people meditate, color, binge watch their favorite show, or go for a peaceful walk. I like to throw a massage in there every once in a while, because working on cages and then sitting at a desk 8 hours a day can sure take a toll on my body.
A sobriety plan is like a good recipe. I just gave you the ingredients but you can change it to support what your successful recovery needs. You have a plan to follow, but you’ll soon have it memorized and can execute it by heart. And when all the pieces come together, the outcome is delicious. Taste that sweet, sweet “happy, joyous, and free.”
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