12 Step recovery gives us a set of tools (sometimes called suggestions) that we can use throughout our day. Here’s an overview of those which have helped most during my recovery journey.
Calling fellows / your sponsor
You get inundated with phone numbers when you’re new to recovery which can seem daunting at first. It seemed strange to me that people were constantly trying to give me their phone number or calling me out of the blue to ask how I was doing.
While strange at first, calls have become a core part of my recovery, phoning either my sponsor or other people in the programme helps me to get out of my head when times are hard. Having people there to listen who have been through similar things before helps with overwhelming emotions or feelings of isolation and loneliness. It works the other way too, phoning newcomers or other fellows and being there to listen, passing on any guidance is a form of service which in turn strengthens my own recovery.
Reading programme literature such as the Big Book or 12 Steps and 12 traditions also helps when I’m feeling out of sorts. Either re-reading pages or chapters of the Big Book or the Stories at the back can be a quick way to focus on something else and helps by strengthening my understanding of my programme. The Daily reflections, Just for Today and readings from As Bill Sees it are also great ways to quickly impart some programme inspiration into your day.
Doing Step / Programme Work
Whether doing core step work for my programme or working maintenance steps by practicing prayer, meditation or inventory, putting work into my programme always helps if I’m feeling like things are getting too much.
Going to meetings and doing service
Going to a meeting is the quickest way I can help my own recovery. Meetings immediately surround me with friendly and supportive faces where I get to hear messages of experience, strength and hope, this usually always helps by giving me a sense of connection and calm.
Doing service is hugely important to recovery. Service isn’t always just directly helping at meetings or within groups, we can also look to be of service indirectly by sharing a message of hope or reaching out to anyone who is new or struggling, or simply being there to listen to others who are going through a hard time.
Am I being of use to those around me, am I doing the next right thing? Looking to help others wherever I can always helps me to feel better, by doing this in our daily lives we get to build our own self-esteem through esteem-able acts.
I’ve written a post before on just how important and powerful gratitude is to recovery. Ensuring I write a list each day helps me to remember just how good my life is thanks to my programme.
Prayer and Meditation
Clearing my mind and ensuring I have a strong and constant contact with my higher power ensures that I’m not focussing on myself or my own self will. Through prayer and meditation I look to ensure that I’m being a better version of myself by asking to live not as I would, but as my higher power would instead.