The 5 essential components of a successful sober program are:

The 5 essential components of a successful sober program are:

2020-03-16 11:21:28

Let’s be clear. There are many paths to a sober life. Yet this is one of the major disagreements within the recovery community. We all seem to be so deeply entrenched in our own method and utterly convinced that our way is the only possible way to get sober. To the point that if you don’t do it my way, we believe you will drink and then you will die.

The use of medication is also similarly debated. Some view medically assisted recovery not ‘real recovery,’ and others consider it life-saving. It’s true that in the hands of people with a history of abusing substances, prescribed medication may be abused and cause people to relapse. But it is equally true that medication has made the difference between life and death for many substance abusers. Some people need to take medication for the rest of their lives, others need to take it for a set period of time.  But this is still recovering. When medication is used appropriately it can make the all the difference in someone’s recovery.

Over the years I’ve met lots of different people in the recovery movement who all have dramatically different approaches but have full, balanced and satisfying lives. What I’ve observed from this is for sobriety to last and be sustainable* then it must have the following components:

A permanent emotional change – from emotional unmanageability to emotional balance. Without alcohol to manage our feelings and emotions  we need tools that enable us to achieve emotional equilibrium. Tools that can easily be picked up and applied when we need them. Tools that allow us to process difficult feelings so we can continue to grow.

Meaningful connection with others – the facilitation of consistent, meaningful and purposeful connection with people. Loneliness and isolation eat away at our soul when we have a problem with alcohol. It can be a long road back for many of us who have hidden our away true selves. The path back is via vulnerability as it is only when we are vulnerable can we foster meaningful connection. 

Discipline (Empowering habits) – Doing the stuff that is good for us. Over and over. It’s not that any of us are stupid, it’s just that we forget really, really quickly what it is that’s good for us. Being able to establish habits that are built into our daily lives to serve and support us. This is the bedrock of sustainable sobriety.

A shift in perception – the world hasn’t changed but we have. When you see the world differently, you experience it differently, when you experience it differently, you get different results and you feel different. Instead of perceiving the world and other people as a frightening, hostile unfriendly place. We see it as warm and welcoming. We can discern that nothing is ever personal. When we don’t take things personally we are then able to discern that what other people do and say is about them, not us.

Resolving the past – a purposeful method that enables you to process past trauma and pain, learn from it, and let go of it. Trauma and painful experiences weigh us down and impact our present and future. Freedom is possible, as is acceptance, forgiveness, and empowerment. A supportive, gentle, loving process that enables to move through these past events to freedom is essential as for many of us. The past is why we drank.


*Sustainable sobriety, is sobriety that sustains itself. It doesn’t take daily effort to not drink rather it is held up by our positive habits and shift in perception.

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