What do I do now?
After getting sober we are left with a huge hole in our lives. While it is imperative to build a support group and make sure that we are getting the help we need (treatment, mental/physical/emotional health, etc), I believe it is important to begin to learn who we truly are. Last week we discussed how to break up our lives to really evaluate who we are and where we stand on issues. This is a very important step in recovery because it allows us to get to know our true self.
A lot of time when we are running and gunning we have many masks we wear, and while I will say that those are true reflections of who we are at that time, but they are not our true selves.
I believe it is important to begin to make a list of activities and hobbies that we are interested in. Many times it is a great jumping off point to get back into something that we were previously into. This can be rather scary as we haven’t done the activity in so long. Maybe we are rusty, or maybe the times have passed us by and we require a little more education and research to dive back in. Either way, this can be the best place to start because we have less of a fear of failure.
Fear of failure can hold us back. This is something that I, myself, had to deal with. I was utterly scared of attempting anything new because… what if I failed? Once again this is something that we have to work through and can be a great point to use your support group for. Remember that it is great to have people who support you, but it is also highly recommended to have someone close who you can talk to and bounce ideas off of. Sometimes our addict mind still wants to get off on some grandiose idea.
Once I overcame this fear of failure, I was off like a wild man. I have tried and done so many things since I got clean, sometimes even I cannot believe it. I actually have projects lined up for when I have free time. Part of a fear of failure that I will mention is that we have to be okay with failure and take the key learning moments out of the experience and apply them where necessary.
Anyway, back to activities.
We could start with something new that is easy. This will allow us the opportunity to either succeed or the type of “failure” might just be as simple as realizing that this activity isn’t for me. However, through trying new and exciting things we can become exposed to new ideas and take those rabbit trails to find all kinds of new activities.
Sometimes we may have to put things on hold in order to complete a different task to only come back to it later.
I do this with school. When the school years starts I try to make sure that I crank out the content that I am consistently working on. Also when I was running for office, I actually quit the band I was playing in because I needed to focus my time on that and it would have been an even longer process had I won the primary. This is actually a great example of failure.
When I ran for a state seat in the legislature, I knew there was a good chance that I wasn’t going to win, but I did know that I would gain a lot from it. So yes I did fail. I only garnered 1/3 of the vote in the primary. However, I learned how to run a campaign, I gained far more experience in managing people, I also learned about political logistics, I learned how to message, and far more. These are all valuable skills that are typically best learned in a hands-on environment. So did I fail? Yes. Was it a complete loss? No.
A lot of people pair activities up with cravings, and I think that there is some validity to the concept, but I advise against simply “finding replacements for drugs and alcohol.” See we quit doing that garbage, now we are trying to find stuff that we LIKE to do, not stuff that we HAVE to do. If that were the case get a second job or stay late. At least you will increase your cash flow.
What I am saying is that certain activities can be part of your relapse prevention plan, but I would encourage you to find activities that you like to do because they represent who you are.
I play music because it is my emotional release and the only art form I am interested in. I ran for office because I want to help increase liberty for as many as possible. I write for news outlets because I thoroughly like writing. I Podcast because I like discovering new music, exposing others to it, and allowing good bands to get their name out there more. I write this blog because I care what happens to all of you reading. I think that it is important to help others.
A radio DJ once said that if you have a platform and an audience and you don’t use it for good, then you don’t deserve it. I will never forget that.
Take the opportunity to explore things that you like. Try different activities that you find fulfilling. That is how we stay clean and sober. We have to feel like we have purpose and self-worth. Not like we are wasting away unless we are high. That is why this is so important, even though I don’t necessarily endorse this being rigidly written into a plan.
Enjoy yourself and have fun.
If you need any help, I am available to help you come up with ideas. Remember you always have someone here.