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Lesson 1: What Does Recovery Look Like?

Throughout this process we have used the tools in this workbook and the support of this group to help us gain a new perspective on managing love, sex, and relationships. We have done the work to keep us on the path toward lifelong healing. However, as we continue to move forward, we must consider all aspects of our health and the application of everything we have learned. What does it look like to live in recovery every day?

I have struggled with a love addiction for many years. For several months, I have worked diligently to gain health in this area through a support group. Although I experienced relapse a couple times early in the process, I have been making great strides in my recovery, recognizing the family of origin issues that influence my addictive behaviors. I have processed the shame of my unhealthy relationships and behaviors: having sexual relationships with married men, men in general, and with a couple women during college—thinking sex was an action that reflected love and acceptance.

As my group is coming to an end, I am worried that without the daily work and continued support, I will fall back into my old behaviors. I am determined to keep moving forward in my healing, committed to establishing sobriety one day at a time.

Every day, I will spend time meditating on God’s Word to keep my mind focused on healing. I will focus on eating healthy foods and getting the appropriate amount of sleep at night—I know that feeling hungry and tired can contribute to relapse. I will walk with a friend three times a week because I know I won’t do it on my own. I will monitor my thought-life, paying close attention to negative thoughts or feelings that might pull me toward unhealthy behaviors.

I also plan to maintain weekly contact with my accountability partners—and more frequently if I am triggered or find myself sliding into dangerous behaviors. Due to our strained relationship, every time I plan to spend time with my mother, I will call an accountability partner before and after the visit.

Recognizing the benefit of community, I have decided to join a weekly Bible study to meet other women in my church. When I feel ready and after seeking wise counsel from my accountability partners, I will return to the young adults group at church and begin to establish healthy relationships with single men.

I am on the road to recovery.

Lucy

Living in sobriety requires a “one day at a time” approach. We have worked hard to make sense of our past—how our pain, trauma, and life experiences contributed to our addictive behaviors—so we can freely move forward, unencumbered by the weight of our past. We need to implement healthy behaviors on a daily basis to keep us on the path toward lifelong health. We need to live intentionally.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. PHILIPPIANS 3:12-14

We have learned how to maintain health, but what does that look like on a daily basis? We need to create a sobriety plan—the positive behaviors that we are committed to doing on a daily or weekly basis to support our continued health. It is important that we devise a holistic sobriety plan that is realistic and crafted specifically to our needs: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

 Use the following space to begin creating a sobriety plan.170 Don’t worry about filling in all the blanks. Be specific about what positive behaviors you need to put in place on a daily or weekly basis to maintain sobriety. Circle whether the need is daily or weekly.
In order to physically maintain sobriety, I need:
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
In order to mentally maintain sobriety, I need:
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
In order to emotionally maintain sobriety, I need:
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly

In order to spiritually maintain sobriety, I need:
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
• _____________________________________________________________________________ daily/weekly
When we create a sobriety plan—positive behaviors we can implement in our daily lives— it help us learn how to walk out our healing in a practical way.

RECOVERY ACTION PLAN—REVIEW

Recovery is a process. As we continue to change and grow in our understanding and development of lifelong health, our needs change as well. Over the past several months we have observed significant changes. Six months ago, what we needed to maintain sobriety might look different than what we need today. In chapter 1, lesson 3, we developed a Recovery Action Plan based on our needs and expectations at the time.

Now that we have gained sobriety over many of our compulsive and addictive behaviors, it is a great time to review and make changes to our Recovery Action Plan.

PERSONAL REVIEW

Take the time to review your Recovery Action Plan during the next group. Look at the items you had listed as natural and logical consequences. Do you need to make adjustments? Have you discovered or identified more natural consequences? Look at the logical consequences next and decide if any of those need to be revised. Now that you have gained more understanding about yourself and your needs, is there a consequence that needs to be increased or decreased so it appropriately aids in accomplishing your health and relationship goals?

By this time, you may have established and maintained sobriety for a few months and need to look at what might have led to a current relapse. For example, if you were viewing pornography and masturbating before and have gained sobriety in that area, you may want to look at other things that lead you toward relapse. Perhaps fantasizing or flirting with married men is still an issue. Take time to add those things to your Recovery Action Plan while still keeping your previous relapse listed.

If you are still struggling with your original relapse, we suggest continuing to use these tools, repeat the group, and seek counseling for further investigation and guidance.

Our road to recovery may change based on what’s happening in our life. When things are going well, we may take great strides toward health, but when life is challenging, we may end up on a slight detour. Use the tools we’ve learned to maintain forward motion toward lifelong healing.

Looking Ahead

Complete the FASTER Scale, Group Check-in, Self-Care lesson, Thoughts/Feelings
Awareness Log, and Change & Growth Analysis in your Unraveled: Weekly Tools before
the next group meeting.

Assignments