The action part of “Action”

I attended a meeting last night, and it was fantastic. One of the topics we discussed had to do with the stages of change. Even with all my relapses, I would have said that I had been in the Action phase of recovery. Action is described as:

The stage where people overtly modify their behavior and their surroundings. Make the move for which they have been preparing. Requires the greatest commitment of time and energy.

The act of quitting drinking seemed to qualify to me. What bigger action is there than that? What I realized last night, however, is that I was in the varying stages of Pre-Contemplation and Contemplation all this time.

It’s not really that I was relapsing fifty billion times- it’s that I never really stopped drinking. Sure, I stopped for a day or two- or even a week or more- but I was not modifying my behavior or my surroundings. The only commitment of time and energy I expended was to white-knuckle my way through the day, hoping like crazy I wasn’t going to break down and drink.

What was missing was the Action part of the Action phase. I have to DO something different in order to get different results. It sounds ridiculously simple, but honestly, until last night, I just did not get it.

Happily, I had already started making some fundamental changes before last night’s meeting. Now that I understand the stages better, and understand where my behavior fits in with each of them, I can confidently say that I’m finally in the Action stage of change, and I can point to concrete examples of the changes that moved me out of Contemplation and Planning, into Action.

Some of them are:

  1. Attending meetings (including the meeting I attended last night)
  2. Committing to daily meditation – I’m still learning how to do this, so I downloaded a fantastic 21 day meditation series to help me with this one
  3. Counseling – I realize I cannot do this completely by myself. I have a lot of stuff swimming in my head that makes self-medicating a very tempting proposition. I need help clearing out the muck. I MADE AN APPOINTMENT AND EVERYTHING
  4. Journaling and Workbooks – Actively working my recovery, and not sitting around hoping sobriety will find me some day.

I know that sobriety does not just happen. I have to make it happen, and then I have to make it stick. All of those things require ACTION. I’m learning that putting down the bottle, while perhaps the most important step in the process, was just that – merely a step in a series of many that I need to take.

Then, I need to keep doing it.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s