Procrastination is huge problem in the early stages of Sobriety. We often think that we will begin working a program after we have gone to a ton of support meetings; after we get our finances in order; after we get out of a destructive relationship; etc. Believe me, I have used every excuse to avoid putting recovery first. There is always a reason for not doing something right now. This article will demonstrate ways to move forward and put these delays behind us, as there is no time like the present.
Admitting There is a Problem
Before anything can be accomplished, admitting that a problem exists is paramount. If your car began shaking on the highway, pulling over would be a necessary first step. Let’s say you inspect the tire and notice two of the five studs had been sheared off. It would be obvious to most that continuing down the road with the vehicle in this condition would be disastrous. The car would continue to shake and shed studs until the wheel eventually fell off. This could easily result in a fatality to yourself of others.
So it is with putting the importance of sobriety on the back burner. If we continually avoid looking to see if there is a problem, we will do irrefutable damage to our bodies, relationships, and self-worth. During my addiction, I have hurt my loved ones countless times, which always made be feel terrible as a person. Frankly, I feel blessed that I did not cause more damage.
It was not until I actually took a hard look at myself that I was able to make a change. When we are honest with ourselves, it is hard to discount the string of broken relationships, the self-imposed financial strain, or the effect it is having on our physical and emotional health. It becomes obvious our lives would be better if we removed this active addiction choosing sobriety instead.
Asking For Help
Not one of us has ever jumped for joy that we actually had to seek help with our addiction. I certainly tried every method under the sun to get maintain sobriety by my lonesome. Now that we have admitted there is a problem, where do we go from here? While there are many options, it will depend on how deeply your addiction controls your life.
For example, if physical withdrawals occur shortly after you stop using your drug of choice, it may be necessary to check into a detox facility. Personally, I did not experience tremendous physical withdrawals. This is not to say the weren’t present; I just started feeling physically normal after a few days. (Had I continued down this path, however, I am certain I would have fell victim to much worse withdrawals.)
After detoxing, entering into an inpatient treatment facility is often the best course of action. I went through this stage for two months. We were required to attend many individual and group therapy sessions, participate in outside (Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous) meetings, and learn other healthy lifestyle changes.
Throughout this process, I discovered that exercise was one of the best ways for me to reduce stress and experience a natural high, I was not much for meditation, and I enjoyed assisting others. The revelations have no ceased since I got sober.
Getting a Sponsor
Frankly, many people take forever before choosing a sponsor. I relapsed several times before I eventually got a temporary sponsor. All I can recommend is to not make the same mistakes I did. The most intelligent people try to learn from others’ mistakes rather than their own.
I thought I had to find a sponsor that would “get me.” I went through several sponsors because I was choosing what I thought was best for me. Instead of looking for someone who would hold me accountable and take me through the steps, I chose people who shared similar interests. I really did not want anyone telling me what to do. This is the wrong way to approach this most important stage.
A good sponsor possesses the following attributes:
- They are sober.
- Obviously, someone who is in and out of the program or is not actively sober is out.
- They have worked the 12 steps of the program.
- Working the steps is very important, and choosing a sponsor that is only one step ahead of you will readily cause problems. The steps are like the spokes of a wheel. Removing any will eventually weaken the wheel until collapse.
- They are readily available.
- Although we cannot expect any person to be at our beck and call, a good sponsor will try to be in contact at least every other day. This is especially true in early sobriety.
- Too many people enable us alcoholics and addicts, which only progresses our illness. In contrast, a good sponsor will call your bluffs or at least be honest about your actions.
- At least a year of sobriety.
- While this may not always be possible, it is a good rule of thumb. This was not possible in the early days of AA, as people seeking recovery from alcoholism had to reach out to those who in extreme cases had only been sober a month themselves.
- Has what you want.
- In a general sense, Your sponsor should possess some quality that you aspire to yourself. If a sponsor is miserable, sobriety will not seem at all worth it.
The important thing is to obtain a sponsor. This could very well be a temporary situation, but there should be at least one person you will feel somewhat comfortable calling when life rears its ugly head.
Working the Steps
This is a subject that draws a lot of controversy. While recovery is a lifelong process, working the steps is not. In the first days of AA, alcoholics experienced around a 75% recovery rate. This means they never drank again! Today, that number is closer to 5-10%. Recovery was achieved by TAKING the steps, not sitting around and talking about them.
Early AA’s were taken through the steps in four 1-hour sessions. You simply did not hear someone continually say at a meeting that they have been working on their fourth step for the past 3 months. Many addicts/alcoholics are perfectionists by nature; thus this never ending pursuit to get it just right. This procrastinating in taking the steps has led many to return to their addictions, and it is simply not necessary.
Stop Delaying Your Happiness
In this article, we have laid out how to stop procrastinating in sobriety. Take a look at your innermost self and assess your situation. If you have not had enough, try some more controlled drinking. It certainly never worked for me.
There are so many people out there that have gone through the same things as you, so give yourself a break letting other people assist you in recovery. You’ll find that there is a great sense of camaraderie in sharing experience, strength, and hope.
Finally, get a sponsor even if he/she is temporary. Any happy, sober person who has worked the steps can help you start working the steps yourself. Fairly soon, you will experience the fulfillment of helping another person out of a pit of desperation!
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