Some of you, those who have been here for a number of years may have seen this before , but that's Ok. This is for the benefit of newer members.
Tools Of Recovery
The following list was compiled from various sources. These sources include, but are not limited to: AA, NA, and CMA.
90 in 90. People who "keep coming back" have a much better chance of recovering. We reccomend 90 meetings in 90 days; try out lots of different meetings and fellowships.
"A drug is only an arm's-length away." Slipping is really easy: a moment's inattention; wrong time, wrong place.
"A slip is the end of a process." (Also: "On the road to a slip, the first step is to get rid of your sponsor"; "A slip occurs before you pick up.")
Abstinence. We can't get high if we don't pick up that first drug or drink. We've learned that using other drugs-- alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, poppers--can lead us back to crystal meth ("tina") or into other addictions. Abstinence means drug free, recovery means dealing with the emotional things that led to substance abuse
Acceptance. "...Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." We can't fix everything--certainly not our addiction; we just had to calm down and accept that. And remind ourselves with the Serenity Prayer as needed.
Act as if. Also: "Fake it till you make it." Life is totally different when we're first getting clean. It is full of crazy feelings and fears, excitement and gratitude. When we don't know what to do in a certain situation or state of mind, we ask for a suggestion from our sponsor or another person in the program (see Suggestions). We can't "think" our way to right actions, but we can "act" our way to right thoughts. For example: Most of us had to act as if there was a Higher Power for a long time when we first entered the program.
Action. "...The courage to change the things I can." Life is a program of action; most of us started small with things like going to meetings or making our beds.
Big Book. The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, is the fundamental text of recovery. Most of us read it from time to time; some of us are in study groups where we use it to work the steps.
Bookending. If we need to do something or go somewhere that may make us want to use-meet an ex, the office holiday party, a first date-many of us check in with a program friend before we go and after we're done.
Burning desires. If a meeting is ending and we have not been called on, but think we might use if we don't get a chance to share, we take the "burning desire" when it is announced. If we are still not called on, we grab someone right away after the meeting to talk.
Chips. When we were counting days, most of us raised our hands and shared our progress with the groups. Those plastic key chains we receive from various meetings as we reach new sober anniversaries are among our most valued possessions.
Choices. A recovery bookstore, Choices carries basic recovery literature: Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book), The 12 and 12, Living Sober, Came to Believe, Just for Today, plus Step workbooks. www.amazon.com has them all.
CMA. Crystal Meth Anonymous 12-step recovery that is meth specific www.crystalmeth.org/
Coffee. Between fellowship, meetings with friends and sponsors, and just generally showing up for life on time now that we're sober, a lot of us drink more coffee than we used to. This can make us very anxious; if we have trouble sleeping, researchers suggest avoiding caffeine within five hours of bed.
Compare and despair. We try not to compare our insides to someone else's outsides.
"DON'T file em', DIAL em'." How to treat phone numbers you get at meetings.
"Easy does it." We tried not to take on too much in early sobriety.
Feelings are not facts. Just because we feel that everyone hates us doesn't mean they do.
Fellowship. The meeting after the meeting. We go for hamburgers and coffee,
discuss topics and feelings brought up by the meeting, and chit chat.
"First things first." We learned to prioritize.
"Give time time." Getting sober takes time, and we addicts tend to
be impatient people.
"Go to any lengths." We did some sick stuff in our pursuit of drugs; we try to work just as hard to stay sober. If we drank or used every day, we can go meetings every day.
Good Orderly Direction. One popular conception of a Higher Power: doing the next right thing. (Grandmaster Of Destiny)
Group Of Drunks. Another useful concept of a Higher Power (from AA): people helping each other get and stay sober.
"Half measures availed us nothing." We have to give sobriety our all or we won't succeed.
HALT. Don't get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. An afternoon spent struggling with cravings can be explained with these four words. We check in on our physical and emotional condition throughout the day. Hungry? Eat regular meals at regular mealtimes. Angry? Talk about it a lot with your sponsor and others. Lonely? Go to a meeting, call someone. Tired? Take a nap, go to sleep early, schedule less. (gay version: HALTF don't get too hungry, angry, lonely, tired, or fabulous.) (Sfj version: Horny, angry, lonely, tired)
HOW. Honesty, Open-mindedness and Willingness, the basic tenets behind Steps One, Two and Three. This is HOW it works: we get honest, we open our minds, and we become willing to surrender and work a program.
Just for today. We stay sober one day at a time. (Also the title of a daily
devotional type book from NA)
"Keep it simple." Also: KISS "Keep it simple, stupid." We
tried not to do anything too drastic while we were learning how to live sober, on the proven principle that anything we put in front of our sobriety would take
us back out.
Keep right size. When we are feeling really lousy--or really super--we try to keep our objectivity. Our low self-esteem and grandiosity led us into addiction in the first place.
"Keep the memory green." We must never forget that were powerless over crystal and other drugs.
Literature. CMA is still writing its own "Big Book." But many of us found Alcoholics Anonymous, The 12 and 12, Came to Believe, Living Sober, As Bill Sees It and other AA, NA or CA literature valuable in helping us understand the program. NA has just released the 6th edition of the "Basic Text," titled "Narcotics Anonymous."
Make your bed. This is just one example of how we take care of ourselves in small ways we couldn't when we used--we deserve a nice clean bed at night.
Meditation. We found this is not as mystical as it sounds: We just sit quietly somewhere for a few minutes and listen to our breath-- in, out, in, out, in, out... Anxiety melts away, and our Higher Power comes in.
Meetings. At meetings we share our successes and struggles, learn about the
steps, explore our spirituality, make friends. We have seen how "meeting makers make it."
Narcotics Anonymous: http://na.org/
Naps. Coming off crystal (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) we were very, very sleepy. We weren't too hard on ourselves when we needed to lie down. Everything in moderation of course: Sleeping all the time can be a sign of depression.
No major changes ... in the first year. This probably sounds impossible and even backwards-why did we get clean, after all, if it wasn't to change our lives? But the reasoning behind it is sound. During the first year, we tried not to plunge into new romances, change jobs or homes, or confront long-standing problems in our families. People said to us: Who you are will change. Who knows what you'll want in a year?
Non-discrimination. Meth addiction does not discriminate, - rich or poor, urban or rural, young or old, male or female, ignorant or educated, gay or straight.
One day at a time. It's too overwhelming to think we'll never use again; we focus on doing whatever it takes to stay clean today. We worry about tomorrow when it comes.
Outside issues. If we are depressed, we get help--therapy, group counseling,
antidepressants, economic assistance.
People, places and things. We stay away from anything we identify that reminds us of using. Dealers, party/F*ck buddies, friends we ran with, or others in our lives who throw off our equilibrium; bars, clubs, baths, certain streets or corners, or other places we associate with copping or using; stems, vials, lighters, cocktail glasses... There's an AA saying: "If you hang out in the barbershop, eventually you'll get a haircut."
Phone numbers. Telephone numbers are our lifeline. Members who have been
around for a while are happy to share their experience, strength, hope--and time. If we want to call our dealer, we call someone from the program instead. For
this reason, we always carry the numbers of friends in the program. Many of us make a habit of calling someone, our sponsor or a friend, in the program daily.
As for our own phone numbers, many of us changed them to avoid getting tempting calls from dealers and using friends.
Play the tape through to the end. When a using craving starts to overwhelm
us, we remember one of our last runs all the way through to the end: from the first hit to the bumps in the bathroom and crazy sex, to desperation, paranoia,
STDs, hospitals, lost jobs, evictions, busted relationships-whatever brought us into the rooms of recovery. After a while, by playing the tape the whole way
through whenever we get a craving, we associate using less with the thrill of escape and more with the reality of our addiction and its consequences.
Prayer. Reaching out to a higher power--whether we believe in one or not--has an incredibly calming effect on us. Many of us pray in the morning, asking for help to stay sober another day, and at night, saying a simple thank-you when we make it to bed sober.
"Principles not personalities." This means a couple of things.
First, people in the fellowship may sometimes let us down; but the principles of the 12 steps never will. We never let someone else who is working our nerves
keep us from seeking the recovery we deserve.
"Progress, not perfection." We try not to be so hard on ourselves. Even Bill W., the founder of AA, had problems.
Shelf. As in "just put that on the shelf." We may feel we have
other problems (cigarettes, debt, sexual compulsion, job problems, family issues) in addition to our addiction to crystal meth (methamphetamine), but we
postpone dealing with those other problems directly for a while, until we've begun to lead a life free from crystal meth addiction. The stress of dealing
with these other problems can make our recovery from addiction more difficult. Just staying sober helps most of our problems start resolving themselves; in
time, when we have some recovery under our belts, we take problems off the shelf to be addressed.
Smart feet. Knowing when and where meetings are; having a usual routine; attending meetings even though we are busy, bored or don't want to be bothered, because we know its good for us. "Smart feet" is the impulse to get to a meeting whenever something happens that makes us want to use.
Spirituality. Not to be confused with religion. CMA is a spiritual program of recovery, but the spiritual path in CMA is very personal and individual. In CMA, everyone finds his own higher power and his own way of communicating with it. Someone said, "Religion is for those who are afraid of going to hell, Spirituality is for those who have been there."
Sponsors. A sponsor is another recovering addict, preferably with a year or
more of clean time, who helps mentor us in our recovery.
Steps. There are 12 of them, and they work. The process of self-discovery they describe unfolds organically the longer you stay sober, but it's best to really work on them--with a sponsor. Everyone works the steps in his own way, at his own pace. The only step we have to work perfectly is Step One.
"Stick with the winners." We try to hang out with people who have good attitudes and some clean and sober time in the program.
Suggestions. Most of us needed a lot of humility to come to our first CMA meeting. Admitting that we don't have the answers to our difficulties, as hard as it is, is the source of our serenity. People in CMA and other fellowships often offer us feedback. Whatever we may think of them and their "advice," however much we might not want feedback, we have to remember that they wouldn't be telling us something that didn't work for them.
Surrender. Also, "Surrender to win." This is the core of the
program; it's really explored in Step Three. Surrender is not defeat, it's joining the winning side. Basically, we are willing to try some other
way-ours wasn't getting us anywhere.
"Take what you can use and leave the rest." If a suggestion or
concept is confusing or seems contradictory, we set it aside until we are ready. We try not to complicate our programs unnecessarily.
Traditions. There are 12 of these, too. The code of conduct for the
organization, they are the principles that guide CMA meetings and the group as a whole.
Triggers. People, places and things that remind us of using, and anything
else--a fight, depression, being hungry, angry, lonely and/or tired--that upsets our equilibrium enough to make us want to use.
We are not serving as professionals in 12-step meetings. We are not doctors.
Therefore, we seek professional help for physical or mental problems such as depression or mania; financial counseling; or job training.
"We are only as sick as our secrets." Openness takes the toxic strength out of shame. If something is eating away at us, we share about it at meetings and with our sponsor.
Yets. These are things we have yet to do but that, knowing the way our minds work, we might encounter on our next relapse-smoking, shooting up, heroin, crack, prostitution, jail, homelessness. Addiction is a progressive disease; if we go out, it will most likely be worse next time. Y.E.T. = "You're Eligible Too."