sober living habits

Sober Living Habits

In our NOLA Sober Living program for women we help each woman develop the following characteristics in their own life.  These are not sequential steps, the are 12 areas focus, with a goal for each area. The goals are list the minimums elements for each habit.  Creating these habits in each area will help you on the journey towards that rich new life.

Find a woman who has already traveled the journey that you are on.  The woman can be a 12-step sponsor, a therapist, or a spiritual leader; but it must be someone you can meet with weekly (at least at the beginning).  Even when your recovery is going great and you have years of sobriety, even when you are a mentor or sponsor for women yourself, you will still need this person in your life. 
Join 2 groups that you can be committed to: The first is a recovery group, most often a 12 step group. This group is where you will learn about living a sober life with people who are learning with you.The second group is outside recovery.  You need to be part of a group in your community. It can be anything – church group, reading club, bowling league – as long as they affirm your recovery, and as long as they are fun to be with.
Commit to attend 3 recovery meetings every week. There will be times when you know that you need more frequent meetings, when things are hard, and you need people who understand you to be with you.  Experience has shown that people with 20, 30, or 40+ years of recovery, achieve this by being part of meetings regularly. 
There is more to life than recovery.  This habit is about connecting with a wider world by creating at least 4 events each month that feed your soul. These can be big things like a concert, sporting event, movie, or gathering of friends – or little things like a walk on the beach or park, a bike ride, enjoying a latte by yourself in a café. You should have a mix of big and small things.  The only rule is – it must be outside your house – you must go somewhere else.
Build relationships that nurture you, find at least 5 friends.  Friendships happen at different levels; some will be people who know everything about you and will come and help you no matter what. Others are friends that you like being around a having fun with.  At a minimum they are people that you could invite out for coffee and you would feel comfortable being with them. Have at least 5 before you graduate from NOLA – more is better.
Set for yourself 6 Goals for your life. What some people call short term goals – something that you want to accomplish this week or this month – go on your schedule as tasks – they are not goals. Your 6 Life goals are longer term, a target to move towards gradually, but not so far off that they don’t impact your daily decisions. Try to have about 2-4 one-year goals, something that you want to achieve by the end of the year – or by this time next year. These goals help you decide what groups, classes, or opportunities you need to focus on. You need 2-3 five-year goals.  These are accomplishments that will shape your life; like finishing college, earning a professional certification, buying a house, starting a business. These goals will also shape your one-year goals. Staying sober is not a long-term goal; sobriety is what makes it possible to have goals.
Make time each day when you can take 7 minutes to meditate. Time to be calm, reflect and pray. You may find reflections that are helpful (24 Hours a Day, or Daily Reflections, or others) there are many to choose from.
Find 8 sayings or thoughts that feed your heart and mind. Print them carefully on paper and post them where you will see them each day.  Have always at least 8, if you find a new saying you like – add it to the others.
A healthy life is fed by a healthy diet. Learn how to cook at least 9 healthy meals from basic ingredients. This is a great opportunity to learn from others and share what you cook together. Basic ingredients – raw vegetables, meats, starches, etc. are what you start with – the result can be very complex, interesting, and delicious.
Just 10 Minutes of Exercise each day can have a huge impact on your health and life. It doesn’t have to be that complicated, just start by walking.  More time is better, 20 – 30 minutes a day is recommended but committing yourself to even 10 minutes every day will take you a long way towards feeling better, looking better, and having more energy.
Make a list of 11 movies, songs, books, or stories, that inspire you to believe that you can achieve your goals.  Find things that make you laugh, cry (happy tears), and that speak to your heart.  Make sure to experience at least one of these each week.You can always add to this list, and new experiences count right from the beginning.
You need to live the 12 Steps every day, they aren’t just about recovery, they’re the basis for positive relationships and a healthy, happy life.  You won’t do steps 1-9 frequently, but what you did remains a part of you. You will live every day in steps 10, 11, & 12.  Step 10 means taking time each day to examine your conduct throughout the day; is there anything you regret? Is there a relationship you need to amend? Act as soon as you can to repair damaged relationships.  Step 11 is in your 7 minutes of meditation. Step 12 means sharing your great new life with others, especially people who are still in addiction and need someone to show them the way out.

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