In any endeavor in life, whether it is business or personal, the chances of success go up significantly when there is a good plan in place and that plan is followed. You may have heard the phrase “plan the work and work the plan”. Recovery from addiction is no exception to this rule. Some might be able to find sobriety without a good, solid plan, but most will not. So what does a good plan for recovery look like? In my experience, those who find sobriety and serenity generally incorporate each of the following elements as a part of their recovery plan. There is certainly more that could constitute your plan, but these are some of the fundamentals of recovery.
A critical part of recovery is understanding that we are not alone and that there is hope. Attending meetings regularly helps us to see that we are not the only person in the world who has struggled with addiction. It also allows us to meet others who share our struggles but have found a path to sobriety. A good recovery meeting will be a place where we hear “experience, strength, and hope” from others who have walked this path before us. It is also a place where we can share our own experience, strength, and hope. The relationships that we form in these meetings will hopefully lead to people that we can call when we are triggered or need guidance. They can also lead to sponsorship – another critical element of a good recovery plan.
Many addicts have wounds from trauma in their lives. Professional counselling and therapy is a great way to address this trauma and learn how to cope with it. I recommend seeing a professional therapist who specializes in sex addiction and I also recommend some form of intensive counseling, such as the Roots Retreat offered by Awaken. Our addiction has a mental health component – the Big Book refers to it as “insanity” – and professional help is generally a big part of the recovery process.
Staying in regular contact with friends in a recovery program is very helpful when we find ourselves triggered or need advice on what to do in a particular situation. As we attend meetings, many of us exchange phone numbers with friends that we meet so that we’ll have a list of people to call. I recommend that you have at least 5 people in your list of recovery friends that you can call. If the first person on your list can’t take your call, move to the next person on your list. And don’t just wait until you are in a tough situation to call. Exercise those thumb muscles and call regularly, even when you are having a great day. Getting in the habit of calling friends in recovery will make it much easier to call when you find yourself triggered.
Sponsorship & The 12 Steps
Most of the people that I know who have found long-term sobriety have done so by working the 12 Steps with a sponsor – and continuing to work them on a daily basis. This simple program (yes, it’s simple, but it’s not easy!) outlines a plan of surrender (steps 1 -3), action (steps 4 – 9), and daily maintenance (steps 10 – 12) that will almost always lead to a spiritual awakening and freedom from addiction. As you attend meetings, look for someone that “has what you want” when it comes to recovery. Then ask them if they would consider being your sponsor. If they say “yes”, call or meet with them regularly and follow their advice as much as possible. If they say “no”, keep looking for someone else who has what you want.
Work the Plan
Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to take action. Making a plan is only part of the job. Start doing the things in your plan. Work on it every day. Recovery doesn’t come easy – do the work and let God begin working on you!
-A grateful member of the Awaken community
Awaken is a Birmingham, AL based ministry walking with individuals, couples, and ministry leaders who have been impacted by sexual brokenness & addiction. Our goal is to help people experience hope, connection, and healing through the gospel and the recovery process. If you want to know more about Awaken or our resources, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!