A newcomer might ask the question: “How can I increase my odds of staying clean and sober?”
The typical response to this question will be a list of suggestions ten miles long. “Go to 90 meetings in 90 days.” “Get a sponsor and call them every day.” “Stay away from those old people, places, and things that used to get you into trouble.” And so on.
Because of this laundry list of suggestions, the first few months (or even years) of recovery can be absolutely overwhelming.
Is it really necessary to juggle this laundry list of suggestions? Isn’t there an easier way?
The power of vision
For the bewildered newcomer in recovery, it is only natural to take in all of the suggestions and try to apply them in your life. And there is certainly nothing wrong with this. But can you imagine trying to live by these same suggestions, day in and day out, for the rest of your remaining life?
Now I’m not saying that you can actually “graduate” from recovery and stop working a program. And I’m not suggesting that you can be “cured” of addiction, either. What I’m saying is this: in the beginning, we have to break it down to the individual processes. Go to 90 meetings in 90 days. Get a sponsor. Call them every day. And so on. These are step by step instructions to get us through early recovery. It’s a process-oriented approach. Do this, and you can achieve recovery. It’s process-driven.
Because of this, the newcomer starts to associate these processes with success in recovery. They think “If I do these things, I will recover.” This is not entirely accurate. Several people have done those things, and still managed to relapse. What is more accurate is to say “If you hold a vision for a successful life in recovery, then following these processes will help you to attain it.”
Ever heard a recovering addict say that “you really have to want this program in order for it to work? They’re talking about the creative vision that you need to have.
The power of creative recovery is when we let go of the individual processes and start letting our vision for the ideal life guide our actions.
It is the difference between the newcomer who says “I’m going to go to one meeting each day in an attempt to stay sober,” and the person who is living the creative life in recovery who says “I go to a meeting each day because that is part of my vision for myself and my life. In doing this, I help other alcoholics and I get help from them myself. The meetings are not just a part of who I am, they are a part of who I want to be and who I want to become.”
See the difference? It’s not about going to meetings or not going to meetings. It’s about living up to your own vision for the creative life in recovery.
So how can we increase our odds of staying clean and sober? Find your vision.