Early Recovery: The Perfect Day
“Recovery is something that you have to work on every single day, and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off.” Demi Lovato
I struggled with recovery for almost fifteen years before I figured it out. I never figured anything out; I simply and painfully ran out of ideas. Through trial, error, and suffering I learned maybe one of the most important lessons there is in early recovery, stop trusting yourself! I didn’t know how to live, and worse I didn’t know that I didn’t know. I had to be both willing to learn as well as be taught. It’s not the things addicts don’t know that block their growth the most. It’s the things they are sure about that are false. We call it “surrender.”
Most have heard of the membership requirement for the rooms of recovery. The third tradition opens the doors to all, requiring only “the desire to stop drinking or using.” But that is only for the fellowship. The program, the 12 steps, have a different requirement. During the explanation of the third step, the literature states, “The first requirement is that we are convinced that a life run on self will, will hardly be a success.
Through good sponsorship and solid support of others with practical experience, I learned that recovery is a set of spiritual skills that can be practiced daily, over and over. Here are those practices broke down into what I call “the early recovery perfect day.”
How to start your day in recovery
How we start a day sets the tone for the rest of the entire day. Most alcoholics open their eyes and have a committee meeting that they involuntarily are in attendance. The committee is run by fear, self-pity, dishonesty, anxiety, and resentment. It’s been said some alcoholics can make life-destroying decisions between getting out of bed and taking a morning piss Interjecting truth and spiritual insight can be a game changer.
- Pray – place shoes or smokes under the bed if forgetful. The template prayer for the newcomer is “Please remove the obsession to drink and use. Please help me get through the day clean and sober.” (You choose What or Who you pray to.)
- Morning Devotions – Adding new positive information through a daily reading is a great start. There are many online. A list below this article will be provided.
- Meditate – There are many forms.
How to balance out your day
- Meetings – know ahead of time which meeting you’re going to. Plan how you are going to get there ahead. Be as resourceful as you were getting drugs or alcohol and this will be simple. Choose with intent. Literature formats, same-sex meetings, and groups with a healthy chore of individuals working the steps are best.
- Literature – Read daily! It will familiarize you with the solution. All 12 step meetings are literature based.
- Call Supports – Call people who are experienced with recovery and let them know what’s going on in your life. Everything you don’t want to talk about. A list of topics include dating, money, work, family relationships and the things that burden you.
- The 3 P’s -Avoid people places and things. Old playgrounds and playmates detract from all spiritual work. No half measures.
How to end your day
Inventory (10th step)– Some form of review for the day. Evaluating your day allows for correction of mistakes which we all make. This avoids build-up of self-judgment, minimizes harms to others and streamlines growth. The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous has a format that is both simple and effective for the morning and evening on page 86. Another example if a simple four-question inventory would look like this:
1. Who did I help today?
2. What did I enjoy in the world today that was beautiful yet had nothing to do with myself?
3. Where did I overcome my emotions today?
4. Where did I fail today?
Prayer – A simple, “Thank you for getting me through the day clean and sober.” is sufficient. Anything added is gravy.
This day repeated over and over will lead to consistent will pave the road to a smooth recovery. Just add a sponsor and step work, please.