New to Sobriety and Recovery?

If you're new to sobriety and recovery, you might be wondering, "What the heck do I do now?"

Here are some ideas to get started:

If you're considering professional treatment, be sure to read How to Choose an Addiction Treatment Program.

And hang in there. It gets better. 

The Recovery Book



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The Holidays are Coming! Sober Help is Here.

The holidays will be here before you know it. They can be tough for some people in recovery. Our #soberholidays tips can help: 

Don't miss our guide to finding a meeting no matter where you travel: Find a Recovery Meeting

 >> Stay focused on recovery! << >> Download 3 free chapters of The Recovery Book  at Amazon. <<

Use the hashtag #soberholidays to share your own tips on Facebook and Twitter

Please share these resources! If you'd like to reprint the entire set of holiday tips, please see our Freebies page. 

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Is a Personal Inventory Part of Your Recovery Program?

Doing a personal inventory is an important part of maintaining your sobriety and recovery. In fact, Step 10 suggests you do it regularly. But just how do you do it?

In The Recovery Book (page 362),  Dr. Al suggests asking yourself a number of specific questions, all sorted into our familiar Recovery Zone System categories. 

Read through the questions below, or download a printer-friendly version with space for writing. 

Recovery Activities

  • Did I have a plan for the day, and did I follow it?
  • With whom did I spend most of my time?
  • Where did I spend my time?
  • Did anything threaten my sobriety recently? What?
  • What specific work did I do on my recovery program (attending meetings, doing meditations, reading fellowship materials, or listening to recordings, etc.)?

Continue Reading →

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Writing a Recovery Journal

Excerpted from Chapter 10 of The Recovery Book.

Many people who are sober and in recovery keep a journal. Writing things down can be a very powerful way to process your feelings and get them “out of your head.” Often, problems don’t seem quite so big or so awful once you’ve worked through them on paper.

A journal is also a great way to keep an eye on your progress as you move beyond active addiction and into recovery. A year or two from now, you might look back on what you wrote and be astonished at what you have accomplished. And proud of yourself.

Your recovery journal doesn’t have to be fancy—you can get your thoughts down in a notebook, email memos to yourself, use a recovery app, or just start a computer file. You can write about whatever you want. And no one has to ever see a word of it, so be honest.

What should you write about in your recovery journal? Anything you want, really. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Your emotions today
  • Feelings about being in recovery
  • Your overall recovery plan
  • Your feelings after an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting or therapy session
  • Triggers you have identified
  • Your plans for avoiding addiction triggers and dealing with cravings
  • Things you are grateful for
  • Thoughts on running into old friends
  • Thoughts on making amends
  • Thoughts on patching things up in relationships
  • Your current priorities
  • Your motivations to stay sober
  • Your current strengths and weaknesses
  • Thoughts about finances, work issues
  • Your victories and progress in recovery
  • Your new view of yourself
  • An exercise log and new activities you want to try
  • Meditation and relaxation practices you’d like to try
  • Thoughts on your eating habits and new foods you’d like to try
  • Short and long-term goals
  • Reflections on your progress over time
  • Your hopes and dreams for the future

  The Recovery Book

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How to Choose an Addiction Treatment Program

Excerpted from Chapter 5 of The Recovery Book.

Addiction treatment programs—inpatient and outpatient—can be quite varied. Some specialize in alcohol rehab, others focus on drugs. Some are just for women, others are just for men, and some are for teens only. Some focus on the LGBT community, particular ethnic groups, or chronic pain patients.  

Addiction Treatment Programs - Basic Criteria

When you start looking for a treatment center, first consider several basic criteria:

Location. Can the patient as well as others in the family travel to a treatment center that is across the country, or is a center close to home preferred?

Treatment. What types of treatment are offered and what is the philosophy of treatment?

Certification. Are the counselors certified? Are there doctors on staff?

Expense. How much does it cost? Do they accept insurance? Do they have a payment plan?

Aftercare or continuing care. Is an extension program available near your home?

Success rate. What does the program claim?

Reputation and reviews. What do others say about the program? Using the SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator and your own networks, find some programs that meet the basic criteria of most concern to you, perhaps location and costs. Then take a closer look at those programs and see which ones measure up, using the more detailed criteria listed below as well as the Recovery APGAR score. Continue Reading →

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How to Choose an Addiction Treatment Program – The Recovery APGAR Score

Excerpted from Chapter 5 of The Recovery Book.

When a baby is born, doctors do a quick assessment of its condition using what is known as an APGAR score. You can do a quick screening of treatment programs using our Recovery APGAR system, which rates treatment programs on a scale of 0 to 10 on the basis of whether or not the most critical components are present. Any program that gets a score of 7 or higher is probably good.

You should be able to get the answers from websites or program materials, or by asking a program director, counselor, or admissions person the following questions. Award one point for each positive response. Unknown, ambivalent, and negative responses all score zero.  

Alcoholism as a primary disease: 

Does written program material state that the staff believe that addictive illness is a primary disease? ___

During the program is a patient required to complete a written life history? ___

Continue Reading →

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