How do you know when you are on the right track in your recovery?

The day that we admit our powerlessness over our addiction is the day that our recovery begins.  Surrender brings victory.

The day that we actually get into action and start working a recovery program, is the day that we move from addiction to long-term recovery.  If you choose to work the 12 Steps, then your initial program begins with Steps one through five.

The day we begin writing our Fourth Step is the day that we are in the program, rather than on the program. The Fourth Step is the first tangible action that demonstrates our commitment to building a new sober life.  Are you in the program, on just on the program?

We need to ask ourselves, what system or recovery plan are we following or are we just “doing it your way”?  Most addicts would agree that our best thinking got us high, our best thinking got us arrested,  many of us are now forced to live the life of probation.  So our way brought us disaster or significant consequences.  We can either accept help and change our choices and change our life, or we can return to our old destructive lifestyle.  The 12 Steps provide a straight forward method to build a new sober life.

How do we know when we are on track to recover?  We are on track to recover when we stop doing things our way and adopt a way of living that in many ways will be the opposite of how we were living during our days of addiction.  When using, addicts were usually not practicing a spiritual program.

We were caught up in an addictive and self-destructive lifestyle and we had very little spirituality, because we were essentially selfish and self-centered.  Our perspective on life was turned inward to our own selfish needs, while we served the Dragon of addiction.

There was no time or motivation to think or care about others.  We had entered the dead zone.  Our thinking was delusional, our emotions were blocked or made numb, and our long-term dreams had been taken from us by our addiction. As our addicted burned out of control like a raging forest fire, we damaged our relationships and our spirits were crushed.

So many of us arrive in treatment dazed and confused, carrying the terror of our past and fear about our future.  We carry the burden of tremendous accumulated pain and we want to hide our emotions because the pain of our life and our past is overwhelming and scary.

Some addicts in early recovery will retreat into their minds and try to protect themselves from revealing who they really are.  Other addicts in early recovery will take courage and share their experience, strength and hope with the group, knowing that sharing their story will help them and other members of the group.  Sharing in group is the first return of reaching out to others and moving away from a selfish fear-filled destructive lifestyle.

Remember, being selfish is a concrete sign that our spirituality is damaged, weak or ineffective.  The truth is, “the more we give, the more we receive”.  Recovery provides numerous ways for us to give back and strengthen our spiritual lives.

What can you do to give to others?

It all starts with our current recovery program.  Are we engaged in our treatment or our recovery program?  Are we reaching out to others and sharing our story.  Are we in the action step of early recovery, for example, working with a sponsor to get guidance in actually doing the 12 Steps or recovery? Remember, the 12th Step guarantees that we will have spiritual a awakening after working the Steps: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps…”

If we choose not to work the proven system of the Steps, then what is our program of action or are we trying to do it our way?  Just sliding by or doing the bare minimum of work on our recovery will back-fire on us and lead us back into relapse. Our way did not work and got us where we are today.  All of us can choose to take responsibility and ownership of our own recovery, or we can sit back and watch the nightmare of our  past addiction gradually come crashing back into our lives. Do not put yourself in the position of the person who wasted the treatment experience and the opportunities to recover and now has relapsed with even more serious consequences then in the past.  Please choose wisely.

Recovery is a precious gift.  It is right here and right now, grab for it like a drowning man reaches out for a lifeline.  Millions of addicts worldwide have recovered from the ravages of addiction and you can receive this gift too.  It is waiting for you when you do the work.  If you continue your recovery journey, someday soon you will be offering encouragement, guidance and love to someone else who is new to recovery.  This is an honor, a privilege and this is where the fun starts.

Other addicts need you!

May God bless you every day!




About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.


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