Alcoholics Anonymous recommend that members ‘keep it green’ no matter how long they have been sober. This advice has nothing to do with gardening or taking care of the environment – in recovery, ‘keeping it green’ is the idea that it is best to keep a ‘beginner’s mind’ no matter how long you have been sober. Below are just six ways that you can keep in green in recovery.
1. Spend Time around People Who Are Newly Sober
The most powerful way to keep your recovery fresh and energised is to spend time around newly sober individuals; although, you should only try to help others when your own sobriety is strong. If you are a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, you may keep things green by occasionally attending a beginner’s meeting.
2. Never Believe You Have Made It in Recovery
It is important to always keep in mind that you are just one drink away from a relapse – it does not matter how long you have been sober. As soon as you begin to take things for granted, you start to put your recovery at risk. The way to keep things green is to always think of yourself as a beginner; in AA, this is summed up with the slogan ‘just for today’.
3. Develop a Beginner’s Mind
You do not have to become a Zen Buddhist to benefit from a beginner’s mind. This is just an approach to life where you are always open to new ideas and willing to let go of old ones. When you are in early recovery, you need to develop this type of attitude in order to progress. The problem is that after a few years in sobriety, you may become set in your ways. It is highly recommended that you make an effort to remain open-minded. In order to get the most out of sobriety, you have to be always willing to change and try new things.
4. Continue to Absorb Recovery Material
There is no graduation day in recovery. It is important to be always learning about recovery and finding ways to improve your new life; it doesn’t matter if you have been sober forty years. By continuing to absorb this material, you will not only be engaged in life-long learning, but you will also be getting a constant reminder of making your sobriety a priority. Remember that there will always be more to learn in life; when we stop learning, we start to die.
5. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Another great way of keeping things green in recovery is by maintaining a gratitude journal. It only takes a couple of minutes each day to write down all the good things in your life and doing this could increase your positivity as well as strengthen your sobriety. The problem is that without consciously trying to remember the good in your life, it becomes too easy to take things for granted. As soon as you take your sobriety for granted, you increase your risk of losing it.
6. Occasionally Change Your Routine
It is recommended that you develop healthy habits in sobriety that you engage in every day, but it is also important to occasionally mix things up as well. They do say that a change is as good as a rest. The problem is that if you become too dependent on doing the exact same things all the time, you can become very resistant to change; this is dangerous because life is full of change. There is also the risk that if you constantly do the same thing, you may feel that recovery is a bit stale.