Most people in recovery tend to always have some sort of an opinion on what a person needs to do to remain clean and sober. While many of those suggestions are usually valid and can provide great direction, I often like to discuss what NOT to do if one wants to remain clean and sober.
I only say that given the fact I didn’t listen to many of those suggestions and instead became addicted to so many things throughout my life, which in turn taught me quite a bit about what NOT to do if I want to maintain a healthy sober life. That being said, here are the top 20 things of what NOT to do in sobriety, as doing each only led me straight back into an addiction-fueled life…
- Hang out with people who regularly spend their time drinking or drugging.
- Hang out with people who are overly sexual, promiscuous, and flirtatious.
- Not get a sponsor or never call a sponsor.
- Lie to my partner, my friends, my family, my sponsor, or anyone for that matter.
- Rarely or never go to 12 Step meetings.
- Spend entire 12 Step meetings engrossed in my phone or only paying attention to the people I’m attracted to.
- Never sponsor anyone or volunteer my time anywhere.
- Hang out in places where nudity or booze or gambling are the mainstay.
- Regularly hang out with people who spend their time judging others, gossiping, or being negative.
- Don’t fully disclose everything during the step work, especially the 4th
- Peruse dating websites and profiles while in a relationship.
- Regularly hang out with someone I would date if I were single.
- Jumping from meeting to meeting and never establishing a home group.
- Spend time with someone I’m attracted to in places where intimacy could occur.
- Regularly spend time with people who put me down more than lift me up.
- Be in an intimate relationship with someone where I am in love with who they could be, not who they are.
- Be in an intimate relationship with someone who feels sex is the most important factor.
- Be in an intimate relationship with someone who doesn’t believe in anything greater than themselves (i.e. no belief in a Higher Power).
- Spend more time working on who I can be in an intimate relationship with, than doing my recovery work.
- Skipping my daily prayer, meditation, grateful journal, and affirmations.
I’m sure I could come up with a list several pages long if I continued on. The fact remains through trial and error and a whole bunch of self-centeredness, I didn’t follow the majority of suggestions that came my way over a period of many years from a number of healthy recovering individuals. Instead, I trail-blazed my own sick path and had to find out the hard way.
Thankfully though, I have a healthy recovering life now and that’s solely because I learned what NOT to do in sobriety. But, hopefully, if you are someone who’s trying to remain sober yourself, you’ll listen to those suggestions that come your way instead of trying to follow your ego and self-will like I did, as I can promise you that the latter is only ever going to lead you into a miserable existence and one that’s most likely filled with one or more addictions.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson