You’ve done it: you have made it through the holidays and into the new year. And you have done it sober. This is no small accomplishment. After all, the holidays are a notoriously tricky time to stay sober—give yourself credit! But now it’s time to shift your focus to staying sober AFTER the holidays. And a key component of doing this includes keeping up with your amends.
Staying Sober After the Holidays
A lot of focus is placed on the challenges of staying sober during the holidays, and this is for a good reason. There’s plenty of excitement, emotion, and temptation surrounding Christmas and New Years Eve, it’s no wonder relapse is all too common during this time.
But now that we are well into January, we are going to share what you need to know about staying sober after the holidays by keeping up with your amends so you can continue on your sober journey toward the best years of your life.
First, let’s go back to the basics and review the 12 steps of the AA program.
The 12 Steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous Program
The Alcoholics Anonymous program involves 12 key steps on the path to getting–and staying–sober:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Today, we are going to focus on steps eight and nine and utilizing amends for staying sober after the holidays.
What is the Amends Process?
The amends process involves a lot more than just saying “sorry.”
In some cases, words might be enough, but it can also mean demonstrating your willingness to change, your commitment to recovery, and aligning your actions with your values. Understandably, steps eight and nine of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program often take the longest.
How Do You Make Amends?
Making amends can look different for everyone. But once you have made a list of those you have harmed and who you are willing to make amends to, this serves an incredibly powerful role in staying sober after the holidays and beyond.
Maybe it means repaying the money you owe to someone you stole from when you were using. Or perhaps it means giving your time to someone whose time you took advantage of when you were using. For some, it could mean acknowledging your wrongdoing, which is often a bigger and more difficult process than it seems.
Again, the amends process looks different for everyone. In fact, there are three different types of amends, and whenever possible, direct amends are best.
Direct amends involve directly confronting the person you wish to reconcile with, perhaps a friend or family member. And it’s important to emphasize the “except when to do so would injure them or others” aspect of amends. Essentially, this means that if making an amends would cause additional harm, then it may not be the right choice to do so. It is best to discuss with a sponsor individual situations to determine who you should make direct amends to.
But when direct amends aren’t possible, there are two other ways to make amends: in-direct and living.
Sometimes there isn’t a direct path to making amends. Sometimes, irreparable damage has been done, or it isn’t as simple as paying back the $5,000 dollars you owe. In this case, in-direct amends can be made. This can include things like volunteering your time, changing your attitude, and reflecting on your values.
Finally, we get to living amends. In the simplest terms, it really means amending the way you live. Think of it like practicing what you preach, and living the values you have set for yourself in your sober life. Living amends are often best for individuals who have passed away and you don’t not have the ability to make amends to directly, or indirectly.
This type of amends is one that never ends. You continue living this way, showing up, and demonstrating your willingness to change, reflect, and accept responsibility each day.
Now that we’ve covered the different types of amends, let’s discuss some specific and actionable examples of keeping up with them.
Stay Connected To Your Sober Network
Establishing a sober network is one thing, but staying connected to them is entirely different. Lean on this network anytime you need to, and even when you don’t! Regular contact with this network serves as an important reminder for why you are determined to stay sober and keeping you accountable.
Continue Meeting With Your Sponsor
In addition to your sober network, keep up with your meetings with your sponsor. Meeting with your sponsor on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and continuing to reach out will help to ensure that you stay connected and continue to work on your steps.
Conscious Contact With Your Higher Power
Take another look at Step 11 of the 12 Step Program: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Whether your higher power is God or another entity or being, establish and maintain conscious contact with them throughout your sobriety journey. This can be especially helpful in times of uncertainty, temptation, or feelings of hopelessness.
Meditation: Tips & Tricks
Mindfulness and meditation plays a scientifically-proven beneficial role in addiction recovery. Implement a mindfulness and meditation practice into your plan for staying sober after the holidays, and don’t give up on it! It can be challenging at first, but even just a few minutes a day is a great place to start.
Here’s a helpful resource if you’re ready to get started with mindfulness and meditation: What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Keep Up With Medication And Medical Appointments
Even when it feels like things are going well on your path to staying sober, it’s still important to continue to take your medication as prescribed and keep up with medical appointments.
Whether it’s visits with your counselor, psychologist, therapist, or another medical professional, these appointments often serve as important check-ins and shouldn’t be missed. When they can’t be done in person, virtual options are almost always available for most patients.
Don’t Miss Your Home Group
Along with your sober network, your home group plays a crucial social role in sobriety. In addition to the friendship and fellowship aspect of home groups, it’s also important for accountability, stability, and it’s also a good place to find a sponsor when you need one.
A.A. Home Group meetings are now being conducted via Zoom, and you can view the meeting schedule here.
Involve Yourself In The Sober Community
Involving yourself in the sober community can not only help you make amends, but it also serves as an important accountability tool. Whether you volunteer your time at local meetings, sponsoring a fellow addict, or helping the sober community in another way, your role in this community can contribute to helping you remain sober.
Drug and Alcohol Recovery in Florida
We have covered keeping up with amends as a tool for staying sober, but we know more urgent help for active addiction and recovery might have brought you here. Just Believe Recovery Center in Jensen Beach, Florida, is here for you.
Our goal is to assist you in beating addiction and reclaiming your life with our evidence-based program. Contact us today, or click here to learn about the drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs in Florida we offer.
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