“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” ~Anonymous
At some point along our journey in recovery we are going to come upon rumble strips that will alert us when our spiritual vehicle has reached a dangerous point along our travels. Rumble strips are a series of raised strips across a road or along its edge, changing the noise a vehicle’s tires make on the surface warning drivers of speed restrictions or of the edge of the road. We, as the driver of our recovery, need to heed the warnings and take action to prevent a relapse when life serves up “its own terms.”
In my own recovery, I have hit many rumble strips that have been out of my control. I have had setbacks, loss, unfortunate circumstances, and now, I have come upon unemployment, global chaos, and times of great uncertainty. None of which I could, nor can, control. The only thing I can control is how I respond to what is happening within me. If I am on autopilot, I risk drinking again. I would then lose my sobriety and everything I have built along the way. I value my sober journey and I do not want it to end. So, to ensure I am protected from my stinking thinking, I listen to the rumble strips that tell me when I am veering too far off from where my spiritual center is. I must heed the warning and get back on course ASAP.
Here are 3 tips to help you create a “road map” for your recovery that will help you when you’re in danger of veering too far off the sober path. As with all recovery, these tips are suggestions based on what has helped me, and others, overcome obstacles and celebrate sober victories. We don’t tell people in recovery what to do and we don’t give our opinions as that can cause resentments and irreparable harm to a person’s sobriety.
3 Tips to Help You
- Create a Safety Net. If you are thinking about drinking as the result of living life on life’s terms, it is suggested that you act fast. A safety net can catch you and support you if you fall down. A safety net can be anything that supports your recovery whether it be list of numbers, a certain meeting, coffee with a sponsor, or a group intervention. If you’re on the edge of something you feel you cannot recover from without drinking, try these suggestions before you pick up a drink. A safety net will also help you by creating a barrier between you and the problem. You create a safety net for yourself when you can inform your sober circle what your triggers are and what they can expect when you feel you’ve gone beyond the rumble strips. A safety net was, and is, essential for me to remain healthy. Like a parachute, just knowing it is there can help ease the tension caused by fear and worry of situations that you feel may cause you to relapse.
- Clean House. Do not keep things around “just in case”. This is true of substances, people places, and unhealthy vices. When we clean our spiritual house we must also clean our physical houses too. This means that anything that is “left over” needs to be put out in the garbage can. We cannot recover when we are holding on to things that remind us of what we feel we may have lost. We are gaining so much more when we choose to “give up the high cost of low living.” When we are stressed, freaked out and we are facing hardships, it is easy to fall back into old patterns. This is especially true if we have not properly cleansed our physical and spiritual houses.
- Help Others. This has saved my sober soul more times than I can count. When I am lost in self-pity, sadness or the “woe is me” I lose track of how far I have come. I then risk losing my perspective on what it is that I am able to accomplish in my recovery. If I am sitting in my crap and feeling sorry for myself, I miss the opportunity to carry the message to those who are still suffering. Not once, have I ever regretted showing up to be of service to a newbie or to an old-timer who needed a friend and/or sober companionship. More times than not, we have helped each other and to my surprise the person I thought I was helping turned out helping me with something I thought nobody could understand.
The Next Right Thing
Now is the time to make a plan for if and/or when the crisis may come. I am not saying you need to be in a constant state of hyper-vigilance, what I am suggesting is that you make a disaster plan because in the moment of chaos, it may be too late. Just like you did when you were a kid practicing for a fire drill, make a plan now so that when the emotions come down like an avalanche, you can stay calm and sober on. We are all in this together sober friends. We are here to help.
There is a detailed list of help numbers on my website. Please seek help in you are feeling hopeless.
www.rebeccaledwards.com (Blog-Helplines article post date 2/8/2020)