Addiction is like this alter ego that lives inside of us. It has its own voice and makes demands pretty frequently. Upon immersing ourselves into the nasty waters of addiction and alcoholism, we usually find ourselves struggling to tread in the deep end (as the current will surely always take us). The chaos that amalgamates usually begins as a little harmless fun here or there and grows and grows like the character “Noface” from Spirited Away. In the blink of an eye, we find ourselves powerless to the alcohol or narcotics and whether we see it or not, all the pieces of our lives are crumbling down around us. For many, they don’t make it out alive of this life-stealing scenario. Often times, the grips of this disease stop them in their tracks before they can turn around. So for the newcomers that make it out and swim across to the side of recovery, there’s a lot that must be done to avoid drowning in the future.
They’ve Worked For Others…
It can be intimidating walking into a room full or recovering drug addicts and alcoholics when you’re the new kid on the block. We’ve all been there before in some manner, being the newcomer that is. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a new career, academic education, or a meeting- you treat them all the same and dive right in. Start introducing yourself to new people and connecting. This is one of the first major pieces to the newcomer solving the puzzle of addiction. We all need help and require friendship of some sort. It’s simply human nature to want to connect and relate to something or somebody. To feel understood is something most individuals crave at the end of their day. The good news for newcomers is to not be discouraged. We addicts and alcoholics are all unique in our own ways, but we are not special. We have all experienced much of the same tears and struggles as the next. Sharing about your recovery with others brings the driving point home in that we are not alone and we are all struggling with the disease of addiction in the rooms. We all have a common enemy, and for us, it’s all about synergy you know?
Moving down the line, one of the most important things recommended to any newcomer is to find a sponsor in your program of choice and start working the twelve steps. These steps were created specifically for people in sobriety to take a step back and catalog all their doings- the good, the bad, and the ugly. The steps help individuals take a well thought out look at themselves as they jump right into a little bit of introspection. This is crucial for newcomers- or anybody in recovery so that we can commence in changing our ways and figuring out certain parts of ourselves we weren’t aware of. After all, it was our sick thinking and destructive ways that landed us a chair in the rooms of some anonymous program anyway. Clearly, our best ideas weren’t doing too much for us.
Another heavy proposition for newcomers is to perk your ears up and take any advice that’s thrown your way. The old cliché saying goes, “take the cotton out your ears and stick it in your mouth.” The idea being pushed forward right here is to start practicing humility and working on arrogance essentially. Many of us walk into the rooms and don’t realize how much we are creatures of habit. After living so many odd years, we become familiarized to our routines. We know what we like and when we like it. Well, in the world of recovery, sometimes it’s about realizing and then separating our wants from our needs. If somebody is delivering suggestions for newcomers, it’s wise to hear what they may have to say. It’s amazing how much more a person can learn when their mouth is shut.
Continuing to move forward, now it’s time to discuss keeping a routine. Random can be exciting for some and maybe make others uncomfortable. Yet at the same time, I believe we do crave change often. Being the adaptive animals that we are, we look for change alterations and things that are out of the ordinary. It’s thrilling to see something you don’t get to see every day, there’s no denying that. So as addicts and alcoholics, we go overboard with this concept and rashly make decisions without thinking them completely through. Who doesn’t love impulsivity? As fun as it may be, avoiding spontaneity in full form could benefit the newcomer a little more than you realize. More times than not, our bad decisions were made in the spree of the moment without much consideration folded in.
Another big one in my book is sticking to healthy behaviors. Getting a routine down is, of course, one thing, but getting in the habit of things like healthy eating and/or exercise can manufacture the greatest difference in any newcomer’s day. The majority of us come into sobriety feeling so very low. Finding natural ways to release endorphins and improve confidence will all go hand in hand with each other in creating your list of healthy behaviors and making this idea of recovery seem worth it when we have our heads down. Lastly, occupying free time in some form is an excellent tool for the newcomer to have on their belt. It doesn’t matter whether its meetings, video games, or knitting- staying busy is key. Having too much time to ourselves can be detrimental to our recovery. How’s the saying go again, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”? Something like that. It all centers down to keeping yourself in check really. That other voice will start shouting at some point and it’s a matter of what we do to muffle it.
Newcomer to Old-timer
It can be difficult to listen to the advice of others, especially when they have not walked specifically in your shoes. However, recognizing that others have gone through similar processes is one of the greatest realizations we can come to. Being able to accept and know you are not alone- this is where recovery begins. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, call 1-866-433-1992 or visit www.anylength.net. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that is happy, joyous, and free.