Many early recovery tips and slogans are focused on making the process of getting clean and sober super-simple.
Stay away from the first drink.
That last one, however, can be one of the more confusing recovery slogans. What does “Stay away from the first drink” really mean? Is the second or third drink OK in that case?
Simply put, part of working a program of recovery requires admitting to yourself that you never can have “just one” drink, pill, or hit.
“The first drink” inevitably leads to the second, third, and more, which leads to many problems.
(Some people even like to joke that whenever they drink, they break out in handcuffs!)
At first, that can seem overwhelming: You can’t even have a sip of alcohol again.
But at the same time, it can be a relief: All you have to do is stay away from one drink – that first one.
It’s also much easier to stay away from a drink or a drug when you’re sober, than it is to refuse a second or third when you’ve already opened the floodgates.
All that stands between you and a lifetime of recovery is that one little drink, pill, or hit.
How can you avoid that temptation? Here are five quick tips, for early recovery and beyond:
- Remember that the average craving only lasts 10 to 20 minutes at most, and can be as short as 30 seconds. If you can ride the wave by calling a sponsor, going to a meeting or even just praying, you’ll make it through.
- Fruit or other sweets can also often help soften cravings.
- Avoid situations where there will be drugs or alcohol, so you don’t put your willpower to the test. People in the rooms like to say, “If you hang around a barber shop long enough, you’ll eventually get a haircut!”
- If you do find yourself in a situation where you’re faced with a drink or drugs, just leave.
- Go to meetings, work the steps, and work a full program of recovery to keep yourself spiritually fit and craving-free.
If you do you’ll be better equipped to stay away from the first drink and build recovery that lasts – one day at a time.