A LifeRing Keeper: Building a Plan for Sobriety

A member of one of the LifeRing email groups asked for examples of a “plan” for staying sober, since LifeRing places the responsibility for building a plan or program on each of us as we each develop our own approach to getting and staying clean and sober. This is a reply that explains very well what we mean by a “plan”:

About a plan…..I’ll share a bit about mine and try to give you some ideas of what you can do to empower your sober self.

In the past when I quit for 5-6 months I did it without any support. Eventually  I would literally forget why I quit to begin with, I would start feeling better and convince myself I could control or moderate my drinking…NOT.

I knew if I was going to succeed this time I had to do something different and for me that meant reaching out for support (amongst other things)

First and foremost I quickly made my sobriety the number one priority in my life, nothing or no one comes before it.

Educate yourself about addictions, you can surf the internet or read books.  A book that really helped me a lot is Empowering Your Sober Self by Martin Nicolaus….available on the LifeRing website.  This book is based on facts , not myths.  Also LifeRing’s  Recovery By Choice Workbook.  These 2 books will make you aware of how your addicted brain works. You know the saying…. knowledge is  power.

Dedicate a certain amount of time each day to your recovery…..for me it’s posting emails ….sometimes I get up a couple of hours early just so I can post before going to work. I start my day by reading the list and end it that way too. As an aside here, I’ve seen many people join this group claim they don’t have time to do all this.  When I was drinking I wasted hours and hours every day, I always had time for my addictions.  Now I make time for my recovery.

Develop a support network of sober people…maybe there are meetings in your area.  LifeRing, SMART, SOS , Women for Sobriety or AA if you can handle it. I attended some meetings at our local mental health clinic in the beginning but soon realized I get much more from my participation on this list …..I post a lot!

Counseling….I was very depressed in the beginning and felt I needed to get counseling.  Some people warned me that some of that stuff is better left alone for the first year since our emotions can be all over the place, but I went anyway.  uh….turns out they were right.  I soon realized that I was coming home from my sessions very upset and would be for several days afterward (a possible trigger for drinking). I stopped going and may resume in the future.  Right now my focus is on stabilizing my moods….only YOU can decide what’s right for YOU.

I have a phone meeting with my sister in Arizona every day; she’s in recovery too. ( I live in Canada) We talk about how much better our life is now that we’re sober!  It’s important to give your sane sober voice as much air time as possible, it will make you stronger!

Share with people in your life that you trust that YOU no longer drink…make yourself accountable.

Change your patterns…i.e.: if you used to stop at the liquor store on your way home from work, change your route! Some people even rearrange their furniture, a certain chair could trigger your brain that it’s time for a drink.

Eat properly
Get lots of rest

Avoid dangerous situations.  Example…this weekend I was invited to a BBQ…first question, will there be alcohol there? OH…NO thanks, I’ll pass. There is not one single situation that requires my presence if people will be drinking.  Weddings, funerals, family reunions…you name it!  Weddings, I can go to the ceremony, not the reception. Funerals, I can go to the service , not the wake.  Family visiting, (just had that) I arranged my visits early in the day when I knew they wouldn’t be drinking.

Align yourself with people who have what you want, pay attention to what they’re saying, with time you’ll start to believe that YOU can do it too, and YOU CAN.

Be willing to change your plan as your needs change, be flexible!

I have a grateful attitude for my sobriety, I take the  time to notice and talk about all the wonderful gifts sobriety has brought me. It makes my sober self POWERFUL!

Today I’m celebrating 8 months of sobriety!  Everything,  and I do mean EVERYTHING, in my life is better now that I’m sober!

PS Hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching….these are just examples of what YOU can do to Empower YOUR Sober Self……in the end it’s about whatever floats YOUR boat!


  1. Isaya Adamson on December 4, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    We can assist those who addicted with drugs and alcoholism if we will work together as a team. From family level to the national levels, lets say this is our problem and look the better way to overcome it.

    in my country, we do prevention, counseling and harm reduction for people who use drugs. Also we do treatment for people who inject drugs.

    I will appreciate to hear about recovery stages for people who use drugs.

  2. Lars in stockholm on August 29, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Great suggestion for a “Plan of recovery”. It was as if I wrote it myself. In notime a took a while to write down your suggestions and add a few of my own, in swedish of course. I will distribute it to my friends in the group. Hope its ok with you

    • Craig W on August 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      Copy freely! And best wishes to all our Swedish LifeRingers!
      — Craig

  3. Terry on August 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I made it for one year. Sure enough…as time went on I thought I could handle it in small doses. (alcohol and xanax) My relapse is my dirty little secret. I definately need help. The AA meetings out in my neck of the woods are people I can’t relate to.. I’m sooooooo tired of living this way.

    • Craig W on August 27, 2012 at 9:07 am

      I’ll be in touch by email. I vividly remember that feeling of being “sooooooo tired of living this way.”
      — Craig

  4. parker on August 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

    i need help with drinking ,it is out of control and im scared right now ,im just trying to find what is going to work for me ,this is the first step…. thank you .

    • Craig W on August 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      i’ll be in touch by email.
      — Craig W.

  5. Craig W on August 13, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Deborah and Roseann,
    I’ll contact you by email later today.
    — Craig

  6. Deborah Morgan on August 11, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I need help.

    • RASOLOMANANA Holiarisoa Fanjanirina on August 13, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Dear Friends,

      I am happy to write directly to you by mail if you want.
      We are ready to share you what we do in uor country.
      fanja from Madagascar

  7. roseann teece on August 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    can you help me.

  8. Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy - Los Angeles on August 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    “or AA if you can handle it.”

    I used to say, “First I had to survive sobriety, then I had to survive the other members of AA!” Nonetheless, AA saved my life. Long term sobriety and recovery would not have been possible for me without the, “Understanding Fellowship.”

  9. Fanja Rasolomanana on August 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    We are all with you and be happy to have, to require a lot of experiences about “empowering your sober self”.
    I was not alcoholic but I lead groups in my country.
    Maybe one day I can meet you and share our experience in Madagascar.
    Thank you so much
    Friendly, Fanja,
    Blue Cross Madagascar

    • Craig W on August 9, 2012 at 9:16 am

      I would love to meet you! Thank you for all that you do.
      — Craig