If we were limited to one adjective that would describe the quality most needed in order to sustain our path during times that feel like we are back at square one, it would be consistency. Whether it is socializing with sober friends, attending meetings or fundraisers, working with other addicts, giving back through charity work, or even something as simple as self-care, we need to be aware at the importance of doing these things consistently. One of the primary and earliest interventions used in addiction treatment is the implementation of structure to the recovery program. In early sobriety we often felt like immature children who couldn’t tell North from South even with a compass in hand. We were directionless and blowing like a leaf in the wind. While a lack of structure and free-spirited nature lends itself to many things such as creative enterprises and the facilitation of new ideas, we, as addicts, cannot afford to continue on our path of personal growth and evolution with some type of structure. Within any structure, consistency is the backbone that ensures we are diligent with the engagement in adaptive patterns of behavior. In short, we can start minimally with keeping our routines consistent in order we don’t stray further from the path than is necessary and healthy.
If we begin to feel like we are experiencing early recovery, we can also look to delineate exactly what these underlying emotions are that creating disharmony. Often what we will find at the heart of this particular matter is complacency, apathy, and indifference. With this understanding, we see the importance of working to combat these severely dangerous states. If we start to feel as though the routine is boring, the progress isn’t happening at the pace we’d like, and that our emotions are spiraling out of control, we can work to intervene before these feelings turn into actions that could lead to relapse. Sometimes we need to get creative! If you begin to identify feelings of apathy or indifference, that is the blinking red warning signal telling us, “Something need to be changed, and it needs to happen now!” Take a different route to your home group meeting, try out a new meeting in a different city, swap out your Big Book for another recovery-focused book, or introduce yourself to someone new. No one is expected to be capable of always escaping the regimented routine, but the onus of how to solve this problem is on the individual, and if we cannot think of new measures to break up the monotony, we must remember that we didn’t get here alone, nor should we expect to be able to do this on our own. Be brave enough to reach out and ask for help!