Friday, February 28, 2020

Sponsors Walk You Through the 12 Steps

recovery sponsor
If you have been in recovery for even a brief moment, then you may have heard the saying: "Stay in the middle of the herd, so you don't get picked off." This means attending 12-step meetings regularly will help you protect against relapse.

In sober living or transitional living homes like HAUS Recovery, our clients are instructed to attend 12 Step meetings on a regular basis. Each client also attends house meetings and weekly beach meetings (one of the benefits of being situated on the California coast).

The goal is simple. One must firmly establish him or herself in a recovery community following residential or outpatient treatment. We have written about the benefits of 90 meetings in 90 days in the past; hopefully, you read the post, especially if you are in early recovery.

“Meeting-makers make it” as the saying goes. If you attend mutual-help groups for addiction recovery, then you are acutely aware that healing depends on more than just meetings. You know that working the steps is instrumental to your ability to stay the course, and you cannot work the 12 Steps alone.

A sponsor is a man or woman who has worked all 12 Steps and is able to walk others through them as well. Such people usually have more than a year of sobriety, although 365 days sober is not a mandate. Each case is different. Either way, it's vital to make a connection with another individual in the program and allow them to walk you through the process.

One day, you will pay what you learn from your sponsor forward and become part of a decades-old chain of recovery. You cannot keep what you have unless you give it away.

Choosing the Right Sponsor in Recovery

Sponsors come in all shapes and sizes, and from a myriad of backgrounds. No two sponsors guide newcomers in the same way. Once you are out of treatment and hopefully residing in a structured sober living home, it's time to seek out an individual who can help you with step work.

It's alright to be discerning about who you choose to serve as your guide. After attending several meetings, you will have heard several people share. At least one individual's words likely resonated with you. Approach said member of the group and ask them if they are taking on new sponsees after the meeting comes to a close.

If they agree to take you on, then you are on your way to unlocking the secret to achieving long-term recovery. It's also possible that the person you ask to sponsor you already has too many people under their guidance; a sponsor needs to be able to provide each sponsee with the attention required. Taking on too many sponsees is a disservice to each individual. If that is the case, then please do not dismay or become discouraged. There is always another in the program that you can relate with, so ask them for guidance.

While there aren't strict guidelines for choosing a sponsor, there are few suggestions worth heeding. Search for an individual of the same sex; members of the opposite sex can be a distraction for people in early recovery. A sponsor's age, in relation to you, is not as important, but you may find it easier to talk to someone older, or maybe you will find it more comfortable working the steps with a contemporary.

Always look for the similarities and not the differences when choosing a sponsor. Some newcomers benefit from picking a sponsor who is nothing like themselves. Again, you have to decide what works best for you. What's more, choose one who you think can hold you accountable.

Attending meetings and working with a sponsor is the best way to stay in the middle and keep recovery a priority. In time, your sponsor will become more than just a guide; he or she will likely turn into both friend and trusted ally. Please also keep in mind that you are helping your sponsor stay sober by working the steps with them—nobody can keep what they have unless they give it away.

Southern California Structured Sober Living

Those who choose HAUS Recovery will receive guidance on sponsorship and how to work the steps effectively. Sober living is a protective coating for men and women in early recovery. If you or a loved one is about to be discharged from treatment, then we invite you to reach out to HAUS to learn more about our program.

We can significantly help you maintain your abstinence while you reside in the company of active, inspired, and grateful people. Our caring, supportive team is committed to aiding you in reaching your full potential.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Coping with Cravings in Recovery

cravings in recovery
Cravings are part of early recovery; learning to cope with them in healthy ways is instrumental. If you are in your first year of sobriety, then you are fully aware of what it feels like to crave drugs and alcohol. The temptation to use is a common occurrence that is challenging to escape at times. However, there are many things you can do to lessen their frequency and manage them when they arise. 

Many of our readers have undergone detox and treatment, but are still on shaky ground. Some of you have gone into sober living for extra support to strengthen your program. Perhaps you are residing in a transitional living home now? If so, then you made a sound choice and one that could make all the difference.

Relapse is most common in the first year of recovery. The mind and body are still healing, and working a program is still relatively foreign to you. In treatment, you experienced cravings, but you were in a safe environment amongst supportive counselors and peers. Now that you are out of treatment, you have to put what you learned in practice.

Undoubtedly, you learned some tools for avoiding triggers and coping with cravings while in treatment. You know that they can pop up out of nowhere seemingly, but they tend to dissipate relatively quickly. Still, it's essential to take action to protect your program when unwanted urges come up.

Dealing with Cravings in Recovery

There are several healthy things you can do when you experience a desire to drink or drug. First, call someone in your support network or speak to peer in your sober living. Second, get yourself to a meeting as soon as possible; it will place you in a safe space and give you a forum to share how you are feeling.

Naturally, you may not always be able to get to a meeting for support, and if you do not live in a sober living home, then you may not have a close ally nearby. It's uncommon, but let's imagine that you can't reach anyone over the phone (remember there are 24-hour support lines for people in recovery). Fortunately, there are several methods of abating your cravings on your own such as meditation.

Meditation is a simple technique for clearing your mind and grounding yourself. There isn't one way to meditate, so find what works for you; there are many resources online that can help guide you in the practice. Anything you can do to ground yourself, such as breathing exercises, will counter a craving.

The critical thing to remember when dealing with cravings is that they are temporary. With that in mind, it's best to prioritize distracting yourself when facing the urge to use. Reading your Big Book or any piece of literature can help take your mind off of drugs and alcohol. Turn on the television or, better yet, take a walk. Nature has a cleansing effect on one's psyche.

As long as your choice of distraction is healthy, you are heading in the right direction. Lastly, one of the most effective ways to combat a craving is by playing the tape forward. Think about what will happen if you act on the urge to use, and you will quickly realize that it's hardly worth jeopardizing all your hard work.

Structured Sober Living in Southern California

HAUS Recovery is a co-ed sober living facility located in beautiful Santa Monica, California. Our team of dedicated counselors and addiction specialists can help you or a loved one maintain a program of recovery and acquire the skills needed to make positive changes last.

We are committed to making our clients feel safe, grounded, and accepted. Please contact us today to learn more about our structured sober living.