Tools of Recovery

 The latest news with Real Deal is that we’ve acquired Complete Nutrition, a shop selling various nutritional supplements like vitamins, protein, and BCAAs. People use these as tools—tools to increase their performance in sports and life in general, tools to recover from a hard workout faster, and tools get bigger, faster, and better. And it got me thinking—these are the tools people use to maximize their success when it comes to fitness. So what are the tools that maximize success when it comes to recovery and staying sober?

               I was one of the lucky ones who got to go to treatment for my addiction. In fact, I got to go to several treatment centers (since I was also one of the ones who didn’t quite get it on the first few tries). There, they really tried to teach me the right tools to use to stay sober. The lessons didn’t stick right away, but I learned eventually (obviously, or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this).

               My most important tool has been the people around me. During active addiction, the people I surrounded myself with pushed me deeper and deeper into it. My friends all used drugs like I did. In fact, they were the ones who introduced me to progressively more dangerous substances. I also found myself hanging out with progressively more dangerous friends. Funny how that works. When I tried to get sober and keep hanging out with them, it’s no surprise that I went straight back out again. But in recovery, it’s been a different story. I met people who have been through the same things I have—and lived to tell about it. Today, I surround myself with positive people who genuinely want the best for me and others. It might sound cheesy, but it’s true. Having a network of supportive people I can reach out to for help has made the difference between sobriety and relapse for me more times than I can count.

               Another crucial tool for me has been discipline. In active addiction I had no discipline at all. I was completely ruled by whatever feeling I had at the time. And usually, I was feeling like getting as high or drunk as possible. I was completely controlled by impulse. But recovery gave me the chance to change that. Discipline started out simple for me. I got up and made my bed every morning. It’s a habit I learned in rehab. And it grew from there. I decided to get in shape, so I developed an exercise and diet routine, and after a few tries, I was able to stick to it (most of the time). I went back to school and actually paid attention. I even managed to graduate and get a job. Having a routine, staying busy, and being accountable for my actions made me strong. It also filled my life. How could I want to get high when my life is so busy and full? Happy, fulfilled people tend not to get high.

               The person I was when I first came into the rooms never would have been able to stay sober—and he didn’t. But over time, I learned to be different. I developed the tools and skills I needed to succeed—and became who I am today along the way.