Newcomer tip # 7: Become Disciplined
This is a blog series that will be focusing on one tip every few days for newcomers. These tips are not a replacement for going to meetings and working the 12 steps. They are to be used in addition to meetings and steps. The first few months of sobriety are hard. These are some ways to help get you through it.
Our last blog was about the importance of getting connected. We need to make those personal bonds and build trust if we are going to stay sober. Today we will discuss the necessity of developing some discipline in our lives.
Boredom May Lead to Old Behaviors
I know the word DISCIPLINE might make you cringe but it’s not as bad as you think. If you like, use the word structure instead.
In many cases, former alcoholics and addicts have been meandering around with no plans for the future. Unemployment is common with newcomers so there is no need to get up and be somewhere on time. Having nothing to do and nowhere to be all day during early sobriety can lead a newcomer to have extra time on their hands. Boredom may lead to filling that void with old behaviors and “checking up” on old using friends or drinking buddies. Eventually you will pick up again. There’s an old saying in the fellowship, “If you go to the barbershop enough times, you’ll eventually get a haircut.”
Another concern with being bored is many people fill up that time by sleeping all day. This can lead to an erratic sleep schedule where you sleep all day and you’re up all night. Eventually this cycle can lead to depression. It’s important to stick to a healthy sleep schedule.
So what is the solution?
Create a Sense of Order
- Decide a time to get up and go to bed. Do the same thing every day and always stick to your agenda.
- Plan your day around the meeting(s) you’ll be attending. If you are unemployed, attend more than one a day. We are lucky to have Maple Rock in our community which has morning, noon and evening meetings. Plus, you can hang around there throughout the day and chat with other alcoholic/addicts.
- Plan to meet up with recovering friends before and after meetings. Fill your weekends up with fellowship too.
- Meet with your sponsor on a regular basis. This is your time to really check-in and talk about your progress in recovery. Also, make a time to call your sponsor daily. This will keep you accountable in your recovery.
Keep your schedule simple in the beginning. Eventually it will become a routine and you won’t have to think about it.
Don’t Become a Statistic
If you are working the steps (which I hope you are), set a daily time to do your step work and read your recovery literature. If are trying to squeeze it in when it’s convenient, you will find yourself skipping days. This is a dangerous proposal. You may get away with skipping step work for a while but eventually, your disease will catch up with you. I’ve seen it waaaay too many times. People relapse because they lack discipline in this area. Don’t be a statistic.
Call, Call, Call
Make a time to call a few recovery friends and check in with them. Have a list of numbers of people you can call. Lots of them! Chances are you will get a lot of voice mails. Just dial the next number. One of my sponsors made me call three people in recovery a night. I hated it at first, but do you know what? Two of those people turned into my best friends. I’m still close to them to this very day.
I know at first glance these things may seem tedious but it’s really pretty simple… Get up, go to a meeting, do some step work, hang with friends, go to another meeting, call your sponsor and some friends, go to bed. Keep your schedule simple in the beginning. Eventually it will become a routine and you won’t have to think about it.
Of course you will eventually have to get a job but if you are really early in sobriety, just work on becoming disciplined first. The rest will come later. Remember, you are taking it one day at a time. The next tip in this series is about finding the right sponsor to help you in your journey of sobriety. You don’t want to miss that article!
What did/does your schedule look like as a newcomer? Was/is discipline a difficult task for you to accomplish? Share your experience. It may help someone else.
Peace, Love & Sobriety,