Choosing a New Sponsor

choosing a new sponsor

When you're new to recovery, you're told to get a sponsor and check in with them. Usually, you're given simple suggestions by your sponsor, such as attending a meeting every day or learning more about the first step. Choosing a new sponsor is easy when you're brand new to recovery – after all, anyone who's been sober a year or so has a lot of sobriety experience to share.

However, as time goes on, for whatever reason, you may end up switching sponsors. This can happen for various reasons, but hopefully, you're doing it for a cause that will help you change and grow.

When to NOT Switch Sponsors

If you're new to recovery, you may be skeptical of your first sponsor. After all, who are they to tell you what to think about or do?

A sponsor is a person who has knowledge of the 12 steps and staying sober in general. Typically, they will have a year or more of consistent sobriety. They will have also gone through some struggles and stayed sober. They usually have worked at least four or five of the 12 steps. (It's best if they've done all 12 – they'll have a lot of experience!)

For a newly sober person, your sponsor's sober experiences are a testament to the importance of the 12 steps. Your sponsor knows how to stay sober, but you don't quite know how to do it yourself. Listening to them will help you learn the basics.

Switching sponsors because you don't like their suggestions won't help you stay sober. In sobriety, you'll have to do some things that you don't like. Most people will give you step work and other tasks that you might find unpleasant and help you grow. So stick it out. You're worth it! Don't sabotage yourself because you're afraid of the challenges they give you. You're resilient.

Switching Sponsors

There are many legitimate reasons you may want to switch sponsors.

You may feel like he or she is just a wrong fit, or maybe they are moving away from the area and won't be able to see you regularly. Sometimes you'll find that you don't feel that your sponsor has enough time for you.

You may even want to switch sponsors because you've found somebody you relate to. If you are gay, you'll feel more comfortable with another person who is LGBTQ. Or, you might simply relate to another person's story and feel like you want to learn to live like them! There are no requirements for choosing a sponsor, only suggestions! Sticking with your gender and somebody who has at least a year sober will help you avoid drama and focus on your recovery.

You don't have to tell your sponsor that you're looking for a new one right away. You may be worried that you'll hurt their feelings. Even if that were to happen, in recovery, you have to put your own needs first.

You can also always ask somebody to be your "temporary sponsor" until you find a permanent one. This way, you'll have a new friend that you can also check in with until you decide.

Getting Help for Addiction

In sober housing, you can be among your peers and learn to live life on its own terms. You’ll also develop meaningful friendships, learn to take responsibility, and learn to have fun in sobriety. Give us a call to learn if our programs are right for you. Reach out at 760-216-2077.

As a person of the modern age, you probably have a social networking account. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all used by hundreds of millions of people a day. No one is going to ask you to withdraw from the online world just because you’re sober. However, using social media wisely is something that you need to be mindful of while you’re in recovery.

Consider Your Privacy on Social Media

Many people want to announce their lives to the world as soon as they’re in recovery. How do you approach social networking as a newly sober person?

Not all social networks are “anonymous.” Consider ditching old accounts and creating new ones. Unfortunately, using an account with your first and last name may be something to consider.

You may want to create a new account if your old partying friends are a part of your online network. You may have to de-friend some people who are triggers for you to go back to your old lifestyle.

Do you want future employers to see you talk about your life in recovery from addiction? Maybe you want to start a “recovery only” account for yourself. It’s okay to keep work and recovery separate and disclose your addiction to only the people you choose.

Don’t “Stalk” Old Using Friends

One of the most troublesome behaviors in the online world is “stalking” old friends or relationships. This is a slippery slope for a person in recovery.

While you’re at it, keeping up or following people who glorify drug and alcohol use is a big warning that you’re heading into relapse mode.

Choose your online friends wisely, and stick to people who post in ways that touch and uplift you. There is plenty of inspiration online, including from your favorite celebrities in recovery from addiction. There are plenty of Twitter accounts and Facebook pages dedicated to recovery, as well. Also, ask people from your support groups to connect on social media.

Strengthening Your Support Network

There’s nothing better than having people you know in real life to turn to, as well. Shoring up your support network is a great way to make new friends. Sober living homes offer discipline, aftercare, and plenty of ways to participate in living life to its fullest in recovery. Learn more about your housing options by calling us at 760-216-2077.

If you were asked at any point during your active addiction “why” you used, you probably said you did it for an “escape,” a “reward” or to relax. Both escapes and rewards are also ways people try to relax. Relaxation is a common reason people from all walks of life say that they use alcohol or drugs. Drugs and alcohol tap into the “reward” part of the brain, making people feel more relaxed and less stress. For people with a substance use disorder, their drug of choice is the only skill they know when it comes to relaxation. It’s challenging for some people to relax once they have gotten sober.

Relaxation Tools

Sometimes people in recovery realize right away what their lives have been missing. If you quit doing the things you loved to do when you started using alcohol and drugs, you’re not alone. Substance use is a dream-killer because it keeps people from their passions and using takes over your life.

What did you use to do that you enjoyed? Even if you used drugs and alcohol for decades, you probably had interests. Maybe you loved to write when you were in high school, or perhaps you used to go jogging. Both of these activities can be therapeutic, helping you work out stress and anxiety.

Finding activities that make you feel relaxed should be a priority throughout your life. After all, having hobbies is rewarding and helps give you purpose as well as relaxation. There are many ways people relax. For some people, it’s just going for a walk, while other people may meditate or try yoga.

A list of activities that you might find relaxing:

  • Going for a walk.
  • Meditating.
  • Yoga.
  • Mindfulness exercises.
  • Reading a book.
  • Sipping tea.
  • Taking a long shower.
  • Taking a long bath.
  • Aromatherapy.
  • Massage.
  • Journaling.
  • Breathing exercises.
  • Counting backward to 20.
  • Taking a 15-minute nap.
  • Creative Visualization.
  • Thinking of your “safe place.”
  • Acupuncture.
  • Acupressure.
  • Getting a manicure.
  • Getting a professional shave.
  • Looking through magazines.
  • Painting watercolors.
  • Paint-by-numbers.
  • Nature walks.
  • Hiking.
  • Surfing.
  • Cooking.
  • Petting the cat.
  • Playing with the dog.
  • Going to the library.
  • Squeezing a stress ball.
  • Stretching.
  • Watching Hulu or Netflix.
  • Listening to your favorite music.
  • Creating a collage.

If you aren’t sure what any of these items are, you can Google them. You may notice that a lot of these activities involve exercise, some form of meditation, and creation. Finding things that you enjoy in these categories may take some time, but you’ll learn to enjoy yourself, let go, and have fun while you’re relaxing.

Consider Sober Living

Living in a sober home can be a less stressful way to transition from treatment and start your recovery. Learn more about sober living and aftercare programs by calling us at 760-216-2077.

 

 

Many people in recovery from substance abuse disorders start discussing goals after they’ve been sober for a few months. The future is a little brighter, and there is more time to focus on what you want to do with your life. During active addiction, personal goals have gotten off track, sometimes completely. The ability to have goals is a good sign that your recovery is on track.

This means sitting down and doing a bit of homework to help you get familiar with goal setting.

Three tips on setting goals:

  1. Ask yourself, what are your overall goals? Usually, the answer will be something vague such as “be happy” or “change my attitude.” Think about the things in life that are giving you the most pain or trouble. Write them down.
  2. Think about specifics. You need a list of personal recovery goals that will help you move forward in life. Will spending more time with your children make you happier? What kinds of activities will help you have a better attitude? Make these your goals.
  3. The goals you make need to be manageable and straightforward. Break them down into things you can schedule on a calendar. Some things will need to be done every day, while others will probably involve tasks that are about once a month. Be specific about the action you are going to take.

Keep your goal list in your wallet or on your phone in case you need a reminder of what you’re working towards.

Sample goal list:

  • Spend an hour helping the kids with homework.
  • Manage my physical health by taking my pills daily.
  • Maintain my mental health (anxiety) by keeping meetings with my therapist.
  • Attend 12 step meetings every day.
  • Learn to meditate.
  • Spend less time on social media (less than 1 hour every day)
  • Get to sleep by 11 pm daily.
  • Create a resume for job hunting in January.
  • Buy a used car at an auction by March.

Having this list is just the beginning of a recovery journey. Knowing what want you want in life is an essential driving force for change.

Sometimes you’ll have to change your goals due to unforeseen circumstances. That’s okay, too. Life changes and we often have to adapt to that.

Achieving the goals feels great. Celebrate your accomplishments, big and small. And when you meet a goal, it’s time to set a new one.

Learn About Sober Living

Sober living can help you work towards goals while making your home in a caring, safe environment around other people in recovery. Many people choose to transition from treatment to “the outside” by taking advantage of sober living homes.

Learn more about your options for sober housing by calling 760-216-2077.

Staying positive in recovery can seem like a battle, at least when you first get clean and begin to sift through your emotions. Negative self-talk can be harmful to you and hinder your progress in sobriety. Learning to become more positive will help you achieve more of your goals, build your self-esteem, and stay on track in your new way of life.

 

What is Negative Self-Talk?

Let’s face it, we all have an internal voice that tells us things about ourselves, whether they are true or not. Many of these things are negative, and nowhere close to reality. For example, some people call themselves stupid over the tiniest thing, like dropping a plate or missing a bus. Mistakes can sometimes seem like astronomical problems when your internal voice is so negative. When we do this, it’s called “negative self-talk”. It can be a huge issue for those in recovery.

These negative self-beliefs can be dangerous and cause failure because you’re continually looking at the negative, and are also telling yourself that you are meant to fail.

What does negative talk sound like? Here are a few things people tell themselves that can get in the way of recovery:

 

  • “I'm so stupid."
  • "I'll never be good at _____, so why try?"
  • “I’m no good.”
  • “Nobody cares, so why should I?"
  • “I can't handle _____."

Negative self-talk can prevent you from trying new things because you feel shame about yourself. And it’s not true, anyway! Many of these thoughts come from a place of hurt or shame in your childhood and have been reinforced throughout the years. But they’re self-defeating at best and cause self-hatred at worst. How can you be good at something if you give up quickly? How can you learn to handle things if you give up before you try?

 

Changing Your Self-Talk

Changing your self-talk won’t take place overnight, but you can get started today with more positive feelings. One way to help yourself feel better is to write out some affirmations for yourself and practice them every day. For example, when you find your self-talk keeps calling you stupid, start your day with a statement that changes the dialogue. “I am learning new things every day, and I am feeling smarter than ever before” is a great one to try. “I’m a good person, and I do good things for others” is a good answer to when you’re feeling “no good”.

Write down all of the negative talks you can think of on a piece of paper, and make new affirmations on index cards so that you can scroll through and read them to yourself every morning.

Talk to others such as your peers or therapist to learn other ways to banish negative self-talk. As you spend more time in recovery, you’ll find more examples of being the person you want to be, rather than the person your disease says you are. Hold on to your moments of accomplishment and give yourself credit.

 

Life After Treatment

Your journey in recovery doesn’t end once you have finished inpatient treatment. A sober living situation, aftercare plan and other activities can help you stay on course as you adjust to life after treatment. Want to learn more about your options? Please give us a call at 760-216-2077.

When you first get clean and sober, there’s a lot on your mind. Recovery can be both exciting and scary, especially when you don’t know what your next steps will be. Soon, however, you learn coping skills and make friends. Life starts looking up as you begin to confront your challenges head-on and still stay sober. Some days are better than others, however, and sometimes it’s hard to focus on the positive.

Not all of us are born with a sunny disposition, and it sometimes takes a genuine effort to keep a positive attitude or see the "good side" of things.

What kinds of things can you do to change your mood on a bad day or prevent you from living in a negative rut?

 

Here are five great ways to help you stay positive in recovery:

 

  1. Learn and practice meditation. Meditation can help you calm your inner self and connect with your purpose in life. Through guided breathing, relaxation and quietness, you can let go of your anxiety, anger, and fear and just be for a short while. People who meditate often find that they have less stress, higher energy levels, and a positive outlook in life. Not sure where to start? Try Youtube or other video websites to find meditations guided by professionals.
  2. Surround yourself with like-minded people. There are a lot of positive, happy people in recovery. Pay attention to people who inspire you at 12-step meetings, and make it a point to exchange contact information. Make it a point to hang out with people that seem to feel good about the life they’re leading.
  3. Give back to the world. Start volunteering either at 12-step meetings or local nonprofits such as soup kitchens. You have a lot to give, and giving helps you connect to your community. Enjoy the feeling of being helpful and valued.
  4. Set goals for yourself. Nothing feels better than setting and achieving goals. Make goals for days, weeks and months. Start small and work your way up to the “big ones” if you’re worried about failure. After all, it’s a day at a time. Every day clean and sober is an achievement.
  5. Keep a gratitude list. Find five things every day that you feel good about and write it down in a notebook. A year or two from now, you’ll be amazed at how many things have changed. 

Staying positive is an essential aspect of recovery, but sometimes things happen that cause us emotional strife. Don’t forget your necessary tools – if you’re down, pick up the phone, get to a meeting, or find a sober friend to spend time with. There are plenty of people who want to help you stay clean and sober, and they do genuinely care about your welfare.

 

Are you looking for more information on living in a safe, supportive, sober environment? Do you want to know more about aftercare programs to help you adapt to the “real world” once you have finished inpatient treatment? Give us a call. We can help you find out more about your options. Just get in touch at 760-216-2077

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