Before you go and start the google engine up, slow down as these keys that I am about to define to you are what I use in my recovery as principles. When you first approach getting clean or sober, many say “how the heck am I going to get and stay clean and sober?” I will offer some wisdom that I have adapted being around AA for about 20 years and sober for 16 of those. My pride kept me giving up my sobriety for the first four years. So what did I learn?

First, I learned that YOU CAN NOT DO SOBRIETY BY YOURSELF !! I submit to you that the three most dangerous words in sobriety are “I got this.” I can tell you that you managing your sobriety almost never works, hence why we have sponsors. Those that white knuckle being sober will eventually drink again or they will be so miserable that they should be drinking. I have seen in my time that a person that controls their sobriety will eventually find little to no value in meetings, and then start the process of relapse.

Second, I learned that it takes 30 days to get 30 days! By this, I mean that there are no shortcuts in sobriety. Recovery is a program of action no matter what program you are associated with. Those new to sobriety are given a few things to do such as going to meetings, reading appropriate literature, and getting a sponsor. My crystal ball tells me that if you want to know the quality of someone’s commitment to their sobriety watch what they do the first 30 days of sobriety. It is usually a tale of the future, in that if you are not willing to follow the guidelines in the first thirty days then when?

Finally, I learned that recovery is a lifestyle! In meetings, we have all met that individual that can spout program wisdom like a fire hose, but you know nothing about them or their program. A recovery lifestyle to me is immersing yourself in recovery while living life on life’s terms. What the hell does that mean? AA is part of my life but not all of my life. In other words, I have a life outside of the program I am attending. My sobriety is number one priority right after my obedience to God, but I also have a marriage, professional life, terrible golf game. You get the point. Those in my opinion that view their sobriety as a lifestyle will have better long term outcomes because they have a balanced life approach. They are connected to their program while being present in their family, professional life, and communities.

A recovery perspective from one who lives it.