Recovery from substance abuse requires a plan. So many times an individual will know they need change in their life and make a statement such as, “All I need is a plan”. Well, here it is, a daily plan/routine that if followed could be the beginning of something new, exciting, and different. Stopping substance use is difficult. Finding direction and getting the appropriate help in your corner is critical. The following acronym for Masterplan will help to add structure to a daily routine of self-discovery and improvement.
M – Meditation: Each morning should start with some type of Mediation, Prayer, Quiet Time, or whatever you would like to use to get you in touch with the universe. Meditation provides reduced stress, lower anxiety, improved emotional and physical health, enhanced self-awareness, a stronger attention span, reduced age-related memory Loss, and increased self-control which helps battle addiction.
A — Alcoholics Anonymous: Get involved in Alcoholics Anonymous or any self-help group that embraces your chemical use. If each day I plan things around recovery, recovery will continue to be the focus of my day. When I call a sponsor, go to a meeting or read literature in regard to my recovery, my recovery becomes part of my life and that becomes a daily habit. Part of this path will include step work. Being in recovery means I should be involved in Step Work. A general misconception is that if I am not a person of addiction, then step work will not help me. Going through guided Step Work will benefit anyone, with or without addiction. Step Work is a well-designed program that leads to structured self-improvement. You can better yourself at any time, step work gives you clear-cut directions.
S – Spirituality: It’s time to get spiritual. Like it or not, we all have a God hole to fill. You must go on a spiritual journey and be open-minded to ideas that you at one time may have thought implausible. Recovery is about spirituality. You will research, you will listen, you will ask questions, and you will see through your participation with others that embracing a spiritual concept was the biggest piece missing all along. This enlightenment will also include the acceptance that others may have a theology that you do not believe in. We are not asking that you believe in it, we just ask that you let people be where they are, your counsel on their belief should only be used when invited.
T – Talk: Do not be afraid to talk about what you are going through. Yes, you should learn discretion concerning your audience; however, you will increase your discernment about whom to share information and experiences with. The spoken word has always been powerful and can lead to powerful healing experiences. Getting a sponsor and accountability partners can help tremendously.
E – Exercise: It is time to get physical. Many of us have let our physical shape lapse due to our alcohol and drug use. In recovery, you MUST embark on a plan of action that includes exercise to help your body cope with the chemical adjustments that are happening both in the brain and in the body. Exercise helps to regulate these changes and helps you to feel better faster. The endorphins that are released through exercise are a chemical reward system produced by the brain for our benefit. If we feel better after a workout we will tend to do it again. In fact, it is not unusual for a person in recovery to find that exercise has become a new addiction. That’s ok, it’s better than the one your leaving behind.
R – Review: As the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous reads on page 86, “When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse, or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken” This is a crucial step in our plan. We must review each night. If I start the day with the structure I must end the day with a review of that structure. This review also helps us to finally see that we are now starting to do more right than wrong, which for many of us, it’s been a long time coming.
P – Plan: You may ask, is not this entire sheet about the plan? Yes, it is; however back to page 86 of the big book and we will find additional information that helps us structure this plan even more. “On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonesty, or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions, we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.” This speaks of the new self-awareness and the raising of consciousness that we know is so important to our recovery. By using that morning meditation time to set the day up mentally for positive progressive thought, we begin to find new enlightenment that we may have never experienced before. Once this enlightenment is experienced, each day begins to bring new revelations that help to strengthen our conscious contact with the God of our understanding. This conscious contact provides the direction we have been seeking all along.
L-Live: In recovery, it’s time to start to live again. Have you not been living all along? No, most of you have existing and there is a big difference. To live is to become fulfill the term Human Being. For so long most of us have been Human-doings. We have been doing drugs or alcohol, doing the wrong things, doing what brings us pleasure, and doing without a full life. Well, now it’s time for a change. We now become Human-beings. We will be good husbands, wives, or partners. We will be good employers or employees; we will be responsible. We will be honest. We will be good mothers or fathers. The change is happening. Due to our cessation of alcohol or drugs we have the capacity to be what we were meant to be, a contribution to our family, our community, and our own lives.
A-Action: You have a plan so start doing it. Nothing happens in the universe unless something moves, and that includes you. You must take the steps to put all of your newfound knowledge and energy into action. This action is not just “doing” something. This action is with a purpose. The purpose is to fulfill the life that the universe has always wanted for you. This life cannot be led by simply sitting by and waiting for it to happen. You must begin every morning with the consternation that recovery is the goal, spirituality is the gift and serenity is the prize. A good sponsor or accountability partner will help you stay on task and be the sounding board when the direction is needed.
N-Nothing: Why nothing? At one time you either said or believed that “Nothing” can stop you from drinking or drugging. You said that “Nothing” was wrong with you. When people offered to help, you said that there was “Nothing” for them to be worried about. Therefore upon inspection “Nothing” has been a big part of your life and unfortunately for a lot of people, “Nothing” is all they end up with. Let’s change that around and do the work. Let’s find the spirituality that will bring fulfillment to our lives. Let’s open up our minds to knowledge that we previously thought was boring or meaningless.
In this new life you will give up “Nothing” but the things that harm you and your family and you will gain everything that the new you deserves.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.