For many addicts and alcoholics, the years spent using were like living inside of a tornado. Wild, dangerous, and totally unpredictable, that kind of life can easily kill you. But once you’re inside of it, all you can do is close your eyes and pray.
In sobriety, the winds die down. The sun comes out. The birds start singing and a new sense of calm descends. And it can be incredibly terrifying.
What do you DO with all of that free time? How can you live one day at a time, when a day is composed of 24 hours, 1440 minutes, and 86,400 seconds that you need to fill without doing the one thing that took up most of your time before? For many, the ritual of obtaining and using drugs or alcohol was the only structure to a life spinning out of control.
Sobriety is a new way of life, and like any other new skill, it takes practice, repetition, and ritual to help the process become automatic instead of intimidating.
If you’re new to recovery, you are probably already familiar with some of the most important rituals of sobriety: the rituals of the 12 Step meeting.
Though every meeting is different, each one tends to stick to the same format of readings, announcements, prayers and shares from week to week, creating a sense of safety and continuity, and making the meeting a home for its members.
It’s easy to create that same sense of safety and structure outside of the rooms, too. One popular method some like to recommend is to start the day with Steps One, Two, and Three, and end them with Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve.
That means that every morning, you can admit your own powerlessness and turn your life over to the care of your Higher Power. Prayer, meditation, or journaling can be a good way to start your day from that perspective.
And at night, Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve will help you take an inventory of your day, connect with your higher power through prayer or meditation, and think about how you might work to be of more service to others in the day to come.
The particulars of your own routine will vary. Some people like to start or end their day with recovery readings, or a gratitude list, for example. Talk to your sponsor or other people in your fellowship about how they bring routine, order, and meaning to their lives in recovery through ritual. And get ready to experience a whole new way of life.