Once you’ve completed rehab you might think that the road to ongoing recovery is a breeze. While not as challenging as the first few days of recovery, there are a lot of challenges that life will throw at you—like losing a loved one, or dealing with stressful situations—any of which could lead you to a relapse. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a well-sourced list of recovery resources and supports that can help you sustain your recovery.
Helpful Recovery Resources: Phrases and Tools
These are helpful phrases, tools, and advice used in the rooms, by therapists, and by rehabs to keep you on track:
- Journal: This was perhaps the most helpful tool for my recovery, especially in the first year. My recovery peer suggested that I start off writing what my plan was for the day, and then reflecting at the end of each day. You might want to create a gratitude journal or just pour your heart out on paper. Either way, it’s a really effective way to keep track of your recovery and enable you to reflect on how far you’ve come.
- Make a list of daily achievements: My first sponsor told me to make a list of “credits” at the end of each day. I didn’t know what she meant, so she started me off by suggesting the following credits (but you can always add your own!):
- You’re sober today
- You went to a meeting
- You checked in with friends in recovery
- You ate three meals and drank lots of water
- You have stuck to your commitments.
- Stay in gratitude: A daily gratitude practice has shown to be a really effective way to stay sober and stay in the recovery mindset. Try and make a note in your journal of two different ways you’re grateful every morning or evening in your journal.
- Look for ways to be of service: Whether you attend a peer group meeting, or decide to volunteer to speak at a treatment center, it is helpful to find ways to give back. Retelling your story can inspire others in their journey and serve to remind you how far you’ve come. That’s what I call a win-win.
- Remember: Recovery comes before anything else. It’s easy to let recovery take a back seat as you progress with your life, getting a decent job, starting a family, and feeling good. Many sponsors might remind you that you can’t have any of those things without recovery—that’s why it’s worth keeping your hand in regular recovery activities, even if that’s meeting recovery friends for lunch once a week.
- One day at a time: Perhaps one of the most famous sayings in Alcoholics Anonymous, to remind us that we cannot tackle the rest of our lives all at once. We make lasting progress, day-by-day. In difficult times it’s easier to commit to sobriety one day at a time.
- Stay connected: It’s super important to stay connected with recovery peers, mentors, and/or a therapist. Think of it as physical therapy for your brain.
Top 10 Recovery Books
Another great source of recovery resources is books. There are hundreds of books out there that share compelling recovery stories, and show you how to create a healthy life to sustain recovery.
Here’s a look at ten recovery books to get you started:
- Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker: Recently featured in the latest Sex and the City TV series, this book is a popular modern look at recovery by shining a light on just how damaging alcohol can be.
- We Are the Luckiest by Laura McKowen: This popular book is a glorious insight into the gift of sobriety.
- Soberful by Veronica Valli: This book is written by the founder of the Soberful program that helps create a thriving recovery.
- 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery by Allen Berger: An insightful book into the things people do that risk their treasured recovery.
- Codependent No More by Melodie Beattie: Perhaps the most helpful book to read once you’ve gotten sober. Many folks find that sobriety reveals that we have trouble with relationships and Beattie delivers incredible insights and tools to create and maintain healthy relationships.
- Russell Brand Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions: Popular author, comedian and actor Russel Brand is highly relatable and his book is packed with a roadmap of how to navigate recovery.
- The Weight of Air: A Story of the Lies About Addiction and the Truth About Recovery by David Poses: This beautifully written book shines a frank and honest look at how heroin addiction impacted Poses’ life — a really inspiring read.
- The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk: More than 70 percent of people with addiction have a history of trauma. This book reveals what trauma looks like for different people, how it manifests in the body, and how to heal.
- In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Dr. Gabor Mate: Perhaps one of the most well-known books about recovery. Psychiatrist Gabor Mate shares his first hand experience of close encounters with addiction in Canada. This isn’t just a book of stories; it is a book that provides compassion that is so often missing in the medical field.
- The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray: As the title suggests, this book shows how Gray experienced addiction, the science and psychology of drinking, and also explains how intoxicating recovery can be.
5 Popular Recovery Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to keep up-to-date with your recovery journey, gain insights into other people’s stories, and learn some new skills to maintain your recovery. They can also be entertaining, fun, and a great way to chill out instead of watching TV.
Here’s a list of five recovery podcasts you might want to check out:
- Soberful: Run by a popular recovery coach and a psychotherapist, this podcast covers a variety of topics that people experience in recovery. It’s full of advice, experience, and insights.
- Recovery Rocks: Hosted by recovery advocates Tawny Lara and Lisa Smith, this podcast discusses recovery from addiction, mental health, and trauma.
- The Sober Therapist: Master coach and experienced sober therapist, Lynn Matti provides a “modern and meaningful” insight into mental health.
- Love Sober: This podcast is for those who are sober and sober curious. Hosts Kate and Mandy discuss popular recovery topics over a cup of tea and interview people in recovery about their journeys.
- Home Podcast: Perhaps one of the most popular recovery podcasts. While no longer in active production, this podcast is still accessible and full of very valuable information about big life questions through the lens of recovery. Hosted by author Laura McKowen and founder of Tempest, Holly Whitaker.
SOS Recovery Resources
It’s highly likely you’ll experience difficult times in recovery. Losing a parent, separating from a partner, being fired from a job, or struggling to make ends meet can all be risk factors for relapse. We’ve listed our top SOS recovery resources to help you in those times of need.
These are some of the top suggestions of how you can take action when feeling overwhelmed or dealing with something challenging:
- Call your sponsor or recovery mentor
- Get virtual support from Recovery Link who can connect you with a recovery peer
- Go to a meeting or visit a recovery center, like an Alano Club
- Check out online resources like WEconnect and Unity Recovery
- Call your therapist or treatment center and check in
- Read something that reminds you why you’re in recovery, or check out the book When Things Fall Apart, below.
- When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron: This book is a balm for times of distress. Pema guides you through reflections that help provide calm and centeredness. Reading this book is best suited to people who don’t feel like they may imminently relapse and perhaps someone who is a little further along in their recovery. That said, it is a good supportive resource combined with some of the other more immediate, connection-type resources available.
- The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie: This is a daily reflection book that is incredibly helpful for relationship fights, disagreements, and challenges. Similarly, this is a good companion to taking action to get support.
Emergency Recovery Resources and Mental Health Hotlines
If you feel you’re experiencing a crisis you may find the following recovery hotlines helpful:
- SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
- SAMHSA National helpline: 1-800-662-HELP
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988
- Veterans Crisis line: 1-800-273-8255
- Befrienders Worldwide provide confidential emotional support worldwide: locate your local state guide in their directory search.
- If you, or your loved one is in immediate danger, please dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
For information about treatment options for you or a loved one, call 800-926-9037 (Who Answers?) today.
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