Keeping the Sobriety Priority fresh in our minds is helped with daily reinforcement. The following are excerpts from email posts contributed to a “Daily Do” topic..
Laura L: One thing that helped me a lot when I got sober was to actually write down how drinking made me feel, and all the guilt, shame etc., the behaviors I exhibited, etc. etc. Just having that small, folded piece of paper in my wallet helped a lot… I rarely even looked at it, because I knew what was written there. This was just a little “daily do” that helped me.
Marianne: My contribution: take a multi-vitamin with minerals each day, washed down with various flavored waters, soft drinks new to the market since you gave them up for booze, or interesting juices and juice mixes.
Aram A.: “I give myself a short pep talk when I wake up every morning.”
Kerrie M.: “One thing that helps me stay sober is a saying I found at a 12-step store. It’s pasted on my bathroom mirror, so I see it every morning. The original got waterlogged, but it goes something like this, ‘I’d rather spend the rest of my life sober, believing I’m an alcoholic, than live it drunk or just a little bit drunk, trying to convince myself I’m not.'”
Rick G.: “Kerrie … I loved your ‘Daily Do.’ Reminds me of one I saw on a small desk top daily flip chart I once owned. Got it in a book store and I still see them around, if anyone likes the idea check out your local book store recovery section. I used to look forward to the morning ‘flip’ with my coffee…. What I’m calling a “daily flip chart” was actually a small cardboard triangular shaped item about 4″ by 3″ joined at the top by a wire binding. Each card had a delightful positive affirmation on it as a sort of ‘thought for the day.’ I had it for about the first year clean and sober until I got bored with it. Looking back now, I think it may have been written by an AAer because the messages were mostly simple ‘peace and serenity’ thoughts, but without anything specifically related to AA. I think it helped, a little bit anyway, level out the irrational b.s. going on in my head in the first few months clean and sober. I still see items like the one I described above, in my favorite book store.I remember in the first few months a sober employee who has been with me for many years, would come into my office, see me sitting there gritting my teeth and say ‘lighten up a bit Rick! Jeeeezzz! We liked you better drunk all the time.’ That helped level me out for a few days.”
Mark P.: “I am a big fan of making one’s living space a constant reminder for sobriety. I have several ‘reminders’ posted about my apartment. In the kitchen I have a small ‘I will not be destroyed by my alcoholism,’ others posted about are ‘The Sobriety Priority,’ ‘I don’t drink no matter what.’ I leave some kind of recovery literature in view at all times.. I collect articles on recovery and there is usually one on the night stand. My bookshelf has many volumes on recovery which are visible. I have videos on recovery sitting by my VCR. It would be impossible to be in my house for more than 20 seconds without knowing that I am an alcoholic in recovery. That’s the way I want it. Whatever room I am in there is something to remind my brain (lizard and otherwise) that I am in recovery…. I also check this e-mail forum first thing every morning before I go to work. It is a nice way to start a sober day.”
Marty N: “I try to do something every day to remind myself that I am an alcoholic and cannot drink or use, no matter what. At first it was drinking decaf in the morning, instead of caf, that reminded me. Then I started taking B-complex vitamins to restore my depleted body chemistry, and swallowing those horse-sized pills every morning definitely jogged my brain. Moreover, the vitamins turned my urine neon-yellow, so that the reminder repeated itself throughout the day. Then I mentally associated tooth brushing with affirming my alcoholism, and that worked for a time. Lately I’ve been using my participation in this email list as my Daily Do.”
Larry D.: “Most AA slogans made me want to puke, more so the more often I heard them. But two were really useful to me:”The first was ‘Easy does it!’ I put a bumper sticker up high in the rear window of my jeep, the only time I was tempted to use my car as a temperance billboard, and I got some great reactions to it. I was surprised to learn how generic the slogan was; I got recognition from alcoholics, drug abusers, overeaters, gamblers, wife-abusers, and once from somebody in an organization for pedophiles in recovery. My sticker was transparent and faced outward, so when I looked in the rearview mirror the message read normally, left-to-right. Especially in my earliest days of sobriety (or was it because I was younger then?), I needed that message often, and I think the sticker helped me a lot. For sure, it saved me a few speeding tickets.”The other slogan is more germane to recent discussions: ‘There is no problem I’ve got that is so bad that taking a drink won’t make it worse.’ An elaboration on the theme of the slogan: ‘I don’t drink no matter what,’ it made me stop and think at a couple very critical times. I didn’t dust it off very often, but in a crisis situation, it was a lifesaver.”
Sherry F.: “My mantra borrowed from my stop-smoking days ‘Drinking (smoking) never makes anything better’ — the only response that seems to apply to most situations. Although the aforementioned is not a daily affirmation, it is an affirmation nonetheless, pulled out on an as needed basis.”
Dudley A: “I have no specific Daily Dos to remind me that drinking is not the best path for me. On the other hand, as I pack up my tennis gear for the trip to the courts every morning, I can’t help but be reminded that were I still drinking (and smoking), I wouldn’t be heading to the tennis courts at all. Not a bad trade-off, and my memory is such that I have no desire whatsoever to return to my less than blissful reality of yesteryear.”
Ben B.: “…I can offhand think of three things I do on a daily basis … that keep me sober: 1. I don’t drink. 2. I don’t drink. 3. Lastly, but certainly not least, I don’t drink. These have been the only three things that I have consistently done every day over the last eight years. Okay, so they are all one thing. I think you get the idea… I haven’t had an urge to drink in a while, so I really don’t feel the need to do any ritual around it.”