What’s the Deal with All the Rules?
It’s 7AM, I haven’t even switched off my alarm yet, and my sober living manager is already in my room barking at me to get my bed made and my chore done. I know I’ll have to be out the door at a certain time, can’t come back until a certain time, and have to hit two meetings at some point today. If you’ve lived in a sober living home, this kind of a day is probably pretty familiar to you. I’m sure some of you who have gone through this, though, are still wondering “What’s with the house manager’s obsessive attention to the details of my life? I’m not using. My UAs are clean. Isn’t that good enough? Why all these extra rules? How is making my bed going to keep me sober?”
Structure Leads to a Routine
Some of these “extra rules” are in place, of course, to keep the house running smoothly. One example is a curfew. You can’t have a house full of people coming and going as they please at all hours of the night. It creates chaos and disorder and from those things, stress and cravings are born. Some of the other rules, though – for example, making your bed every morning or being out of the house from 9AM to 5PM – are designed to provide some structure and encourage a daily routine. Speaking from personal experience, I never would have made it through the chaos of early recovery without a strong routine.
Some Direction in Early Recovery
Emotions and thoughts run wild in early recovery. Obviously, a large part of this is due to the chemical changes in the brains of recovering addicts. However, the newly-sober often feel rudderless and lost at sea and the reason goes beyond brain chemistry. When I was drinking, I had a particular schedule, at least when I was still a functional alcoholic. After I quit, I felt adrift without that daily regimen. A strong daily routine provides a sense of structure and purpose that turns feelings of emptiness into a blank canvas on which to start painting a new life.
Ideas to Help Create Your Daily Routine
If you’re newly clean and sober and don’t yet have one, I highly recommend building a daily routine for yourself, whether you’re in a sober living home or not. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few ideas:
- Get up and go to bed at a set time every day.
- Eat at regular intervals
- Prayer, meditation, and journaling.
- Try to work regular hours, if possible.
- Attending meetings or spending time with members of your sober support network.
Sometimes, however, the chaos of early recovery can be too much to handle on our own. The residential program at Ocean Recovery includes a daily regimen designed to give clients a sense of structure during this difficult time. If you or someone you know is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please don’t hesitate to give us a call today.