There are some basic principles that can help sustain your recovery from addiction. Early recovery is not simply understanding the facts, nor is it simply talking about addiction. Recovery goes much deeper than talking about what was done in the past.
Let’s discuss what I call the Five Commandments of Recovery. These five commandments are simple and can be used much like a checklist that you would put on a wall or mirror at home (or use our app), where you can see it all the time. You may want to write the commandments down and check them off when you complete them. This is an ideal behavioral checklist for the recovering addict. It assures you that you are putting behavior toward recovery like the prodigal son; consistent daily behavior rather than just coming to an understanding about your addiction.
Coming to an understanding is not the only answer for the addict. They may have been in pain for years before and possibly repeated some behaviors hundreds or thousands of times. It is for this reason that the Five Commandments of Recovery, when put in place, give the addict an action plan they can use to begin to arrest the addiction they have been struggling with for so long.
Commandment #1 – Morning Prayer
Prayer is something that many addicts early in recovery find difficult to do, especially if they have been avoiding God because of the shame and guilt of their behavior (or possibly because of what was done to them in the past). Consistent prayer at the start of the day is simply a behavior that can change the addict’s disposition.
From all of the addictions medical science has studied, we know that an addiction is basically “self-will run riot.” This expression of addiction simply means, “doing your own thing.” First thing in the morning, put aside time to pray. Don’t do your own thing. Do Commandment #1 instead.
Commandment #2 – Phone Calls
Making a phone call can be the very thing that saves you from an acting out experience today. The first step of the Twelve Steps talks about the word “we.” “We” means that you need someone else in your program to help you. Do you remember what we covered earlier, about healing being in the body of Christ? In the past, it was the biggest focus in the addict’s world. Before recovery, the addict was powerless. In being powerless, he or she couldn’t fight addiction alone.
The addict needs to involve others in the fight for sobriety. Having someone else involved dissipates the energy that comes against the addict. We cannot deal with addiction alone. I have not experienced addiction recovery alone and maintained not only abstinence, but a lifestyle of sobriety. Nor have I met anyone who has. When you are not alone, you are accountable. A lifestyle of sobriety is a much greater goal than just being abstinent.
Commandment #3 – Reading
Reading recovery material specifically related to your addictive behavior is important. There are many books on the market you can read. It is very important to read some material every day. It is most beneficial to read in the morning. Addicts need to be reminded of what may be in store for them each day. Sometimes, what you read will come to mind in a difficult time.
Recovery thoughts you glean from your reading can be the very tools you need to get out of your tough situation; giving you the strength to fight it. It is important to involve your mind in your recovery. Your mind alone will not save you, but it may help you to behave so that you can maintain your abstinent behaviors and not cross the line you have drawn
Commandment #4 – Go To Meetings
Meetings are basically meant to support you, while at the same time, allow you the opportunity to give to others what you have learned through your own personal journey of recovery. Being around other recovering addicts who are getting free is going to help you.
First, it is going to give you increased hope as you see others with various addictive issues move from bondage to recovery. Second, you may believe that if they can do it, you can too. You can learn many things from others in recovery that they have learned through their own negative or positive experiences. I want to encourage you to go to as many meetings as possible.
Commandment #5 – Pray Again
The recovery program that is going to work is spiritual in nature. Since you were born a spirit, with a soul, living in a body, it is important to reestablish your own walk with the Lord. Make this a time of being thankful that you had a day of recovery. Even the worst day in recovery is something to be thankful for, because even on the best day without recovery, you were covered with shame, guilt, and fear. So, if you have any relief from those feelings, I believe it is appropriate to pray and thank Jesus for all he has done for you so you could be free.
Unconditional love is something we rarely get in our lives. When we do get it, it changes us. Unconditional love is often a part of groups. The other addicts in the group have been where you are, and are loved by others who have been there. Now that you are there, you can receive the love they have for you.
When they stand up to give you a hug, it may feel uncomfortable at first, but let it happen and receive the love that they have for you. As one old-timer said, “It sounds like you are one of us.” The acceptance and unconditional love you will receive from this group is something you may not have known you needed. It will feel like a weight has been lifted off you when unconditional love comes your way. Many addicts have not been loved for who they really are. The group is a place where you can be unconditionally loved because they know you and accept you just like you are.
Practicing these Five Commandments of Recovery and attending group meetings can allow you to see others who are reaching recovery. If you need to locate a group, give us a call at 719.278.3708 to locate a group near you.
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