Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recovery: A Labor of Love

We are coming into the Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., the traditional end of summer holiday celebrated with parties, picnics and - usually - heavy drinking.  Labor Day was originally created as a recognition of the American worker, and it is in that spirit that I suggest we use this holiday weekend to honor the hard work that goes into our recovery.

It is especially fitting to do this in that September is National Recovery Month.  If you are still struggling with getting sober, take this weekend to rededicate yourself to that sobriety.  Here are some ways to jumpstart your sobriety or to fine tune your recovery.

Do you have a sobriety plan? This booklet will help you in setting one of up you don't.  If you do, pull it out and update it for your current situation.
Do you know the warning signs of relapse? Knowing the things to be wary of is the first step in maintaining recovery.  Staying Sober by Terence Gorski is an excellent book on relapse prevention.  The accompanying Workbook is also great.
Do you belong to a support program? If not, you should find one which meets your needs.  For women, I obviously recommend Women for Sobriety, especially for its strong online component.
Do you regularly attend f2f/online meetings &/or read recovery materials? Maintaining a connection to other sober people and reinforcing the importance of sobriety through reading are both important in preventing relapse.
Have you had a recent checkup? Physical well-being is important, especially during early sobriety.
Do you eat right and exercise? Both of these things contribute to your sense of wellness, both physically and emotionally.
Do you journal daily? Journaling, whether gratitude lists or stream-of-consciousness writing or something in-between allows us to keep track of the health of our lives and recovery, and can be invaluable in discovering the answers to questions that threaten our sobriety.
Do you meditate?  Meditation, prayer, or simply taking time each day to be silent and reflect are great ways to reduce stress, which in turn reduces drinking urges.

These are just a few suggestions, and I encourage you to spend some time this weekend looking at other ways to strengthen and support your recovery.  Recovery is truly a labor of love, so love yourself and watch the world unfold before you.

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