Heath’s Eight Ideas to Get Through Early Recovery

Heath M., in recovery in Atlanta, posted this personal list of things he did to ease his way through early sobriety, on the LSR Email List (1998).

What helped me during initial sobriety:

1. Make sure you have a VCR and a blockbuster card, rent all the Godfathers, and that should keep you occupied for a while. 2. Buy a Nintendo or Playstation…interactive entertainment can be much more stimulating than watching TV…. 3. Keep sober friends and invite them over, loneliness can sting… 4. Eat well and often…be good to yourself…if you have a craving for any sort of food, eat it and eat as much as you want…initially I had weird cravings, usually sugar related, so I ate tons of Ben and Jerry’s and kept lots of mini peanut butter cups around… 5. When you feel up to it…get physically active in one way or another…. I play ping-pong (hell, I obsess over it) and activities that can only be done (well) sober are great motivators… 6. Don’t over-extend yourself…I tried to pour myself into my research…I found complete exhaustion to be a trigger of sorts…. But initially, if you want to substitute workaholism for drugs or alcohol, go for it…just remember that balance is the key… 7. Volunteer your time…. I volunteered at the local humane society…nothing gave me more of a sense of purpose than that…it keeps you busy, introduces you to great people, boosts your self-esteem, and reminds you how fortunate you are…I’ve heard of others volunteering at old folks homes, children’s hospitals, AIDS hospices, etc. 8. Get a million hobbies…make sure you have alternatives to drinking and using….

These are only a few of the things I’ve found that help me…if everyone could submit one unique idea, we could have a cool keeper, and a helpful chapter in the next edition of SOS Sobriety


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LifeRing Secular Recovery is an organization of people who share practical experiences and sobriety support. There are as many ways to live free of drugs and alcohol as there are stories of successful sober people.

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