The law of sobriety is essentially the idea that we can take the law of attraction and apply it to the concept of addiction recovery.
Meaning that what you focus on and what you put your energy into will be returned to you from the universe.
So what does this mean for a person in addiction recovery? How can we use this law of sobriety in a specific way in order to succeed in recovery and live a better life?
I would suggest first of all that you cannot necessary just wish your way into good living, and I don’t think that anyone toting this law of sobriety idea would suggest that either. Thoughts and intentions are meaningless without action to back it up. In a spiritual or a religious sense, this idea is often explained by saying “You can pray to your higher power, but you also have to meet him halfway by taking some action.” Meaning that you cannot just sit at home on your couch and say prayers and then expect miracles in your life. Instead, you have to actually put some ideas into action.
I do think that most people in addiction recovery could certainly benefit from using the law of attraction. So what you might do is to go to an AA meeting, find the person who has the kind of life that you are attracted to, and then focus on learning how to achieve that life. How would you go about doing this? You would ask that person to sponsor you so that you can learn exactly how they built that life for themselves. In some ways this is nothing new, there are not really any special ideas here when it comes to the law of sobriety, but there are new ways to present those ideas and different ways of thinking about certain concepts or implementing them. And that exactly what certain people need in recovery–a fresh and unique way of looking at a concept so that it works in their own mind for them.
I think that it can be a little tricky to implement the law of attraction when you are still struggling with an addiction and may even still be stuck in denial. At that point it can be difficult to convince yourself that you have the ability to hope for a better life, or that you can give yourself permission to dream of a better life for yourself. You have been stuck in addiction for so long and you have gotten used to the chaos and the misery of it all, and you may not believe that recovery is even possible for you.
Given that, how can you really expect the newcomer to recovery to be able to visualize the life that they really want in sobriety? Given that they do not even believe that this life is possible for them, this is quite a stretch really. So I am not so sure that the law of sobriety and the law of attraction is a realistic goal for someone in denial, or maybe even for a newcomer.
However, as time goes on and the newly recovering alcoholic or addict finds their footing in sobriety, they will become more and more stable. At some point they will shift from the mode of “lost newcomer who needs directions for everything” to “recovering alcoholic who is able to envision their goals and purpose.”
Let me explain how this transformation happened for me, because I think that will illustrate the extent to which you can realistically expect to use the law of sobriety in your life.
At some point I got sick and tired of my disease and I surrendered to all of it. When I say “surrendered to all of it” I mean that I was completely done with trying to figure out how to make myself happy any longer, because what I had done up until that point had failed so spectacularly, and I was completely miserable. I just wanted it all to stop. So I surrendered and I asked for help and I went to rehab.
At rehab they started to tell me what to do and how to live my life. I was not visualizing anything at this point yet. To be honest, I was not sure that recovery would even work for me. I was skeptical. I just knew that I was sick of being so miserable that I wished I was dead. I wanted something different for myself. So I went to rehab.
I realized that if I were to succeed in recovery I could not sabotage my own efforts. Therefore I made a decision, which was essentially the third step of AA: I would not use my own ideas any more, but I would only listen to the advice of therapists, sponsors, peers in AA, and so on. I would, in effect, get out of my own way. So I decided that, and I started living it.
Again, I had no great vision at this point. I went through the first year of sobriety just doing what people told me to do. I went to AA every day. I got a sponsor and worked the steps. I lived in a long term halfway house. I did what I was told. I was not visualizing.
Somewhere around the 18 month point I started to “wake up” a bit. Meaning that I started to want things for myself again, and I felt confident enough that I could pursue new goals that I set for myself without self sabotaging them.
At this point the “law of sobriety” kicked in fully for me, and I started to visualize and focus on what I wanted to achieve, even to the point that I created some vision boards, did journal writing, did some meditation sessions visualizing what I wanted, and so on.
And essentially these things worked, and I had an epiphany at some point in which I realized that I could pretty much achieve whatever I wanted to.
I was sober and I was stable. I had learned discipline and I had laser focus now in my recovery. I could ask for help and tap into a wealth of resources that were all around me. And I if I visualized something and focused all of my energy on it, I could pretty much achieve it and get what I wanted. It was simply a matter of priorities, of deciding what I wanted to focus on.
So I did some things: I finished a bachelor’s degree, I ran a marathon, I got a new job, I started a side business. Every time I visualized the goal and then I focused on it fairly intensely until I had achieved it. And in most all of these cases I had chosen a goal that had a pretty significant side benefit: Running a marathon got me into shape and hooked on fitness, which still benefits me to this day. Going back to school pushed me forward in a number of areas that later helped me to accomplish numerous other goals, and it furthered my career. Today I work with people in recovery on a number of different levels, and in several different ways. I am blessed to be able to participate in life so deeply, so richly.
My hope is that you can do the same.