We are taught in recovery that it is dangerous to believe what we did yesterday will be enough to keep us sober tomorrow. Recovered alcoholics and addicts throughout history have demonstrated that the foundation of long-term sobriety is living purposefully One Day at a Time. Yet, complacency creeps in with stale routines, old ideas, failed actions, forgotten promises, dangerous contentment, and a loss of desperation. Oldtimers have referred to this deception as our built in “forgetters!” When achievements and a life of ease seem to come without much difficulty, the very gift of our sobriety can be taken for granted.
GOOD NEWS! There is a SOLUTION. Before the bedevilments on AA page 52 begin to emerge again in our lives and relationships, we must renew a decision to put “work” back into our recovery program. A decision followed by ACTION. Below is a checklist of 25 Tools presented by Angela McClung at a recent workshop session entitled “How to Avoid Complacency.” Remember to fan the flames of your recovery as a fire left untended will go out!
1. Start every day from scratch. New routines. Open mind. Open heart.
2. Surround yourself with friends that hold you accountable. Reengage with the “WE.”
3. Focus on process, not outcomes.
4. Seek out recovery tools in the literature. These tools can be used for all negative emotions and character defects (Pride, Lust, Gluttony, Fear, Jealousy); for example, AA pages 66-67: “This was our course. We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person was offended we said to ourselves, ‘this is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.’”
5. Daily readings and prayer first in the day.
6. Pray on knees morning and night.
7. Working the steps in order! Ongoing process! Not “one and done.”
8. Recommit to regularly CALLING Your SPONSOR!
9. Reach out to others! Especially, someone that you don’t always reach out to or a newcomer.
10. SLOGANS! Use them in day-to-day life and pass them onto others.
11. PAUSE! AA page 87: “pause when agitated or doubtful, ask for the right thought or action”
12. CHANGE up meetings! Take notes in meetings.
13. Chair a meeting for a month.
14. Share in meetings.
15. Sit in different locations (we tend to be creatures of habit…sometimes just sitting in a different place in the room gives us fresh perspective).
16. Do 90 meetings in 90 days: Annually or anytime a major change occurs …move, relationship, etc.
17. Ask for a meeting list and numbers: Especially, once in recovery longer (we tend to stop adding numbers to our phones).
18. Get a new Big Book, 12/12, or NA textbook to use in meetings. Don’t rely on old notes or highlights!
19. Read BB with highlighters (Doctor’s Opinion – 164 pages…Pink for promises, Blue for prayers, Yellow for instructions, Orange for caution).
20. Make a service commitment of any kind.
21. VISIT out of town meetings on vacation!
22. Focus on Unity/Service/Recovery (the 3 sides of the triangle). What am I doing for each?
23. Seek ways to be healthy – physically, mentally, and spiritually! (3-fold disease-3-fold recovery).
24. Listen to recovery speakers. You can find them at recoveryaudio.org.
25. Explore recovery apps and online resources at recoveryreadings.com.