Maintaining Priorities in Recovery

priorities in recovery

Table of Contents

Life is complicated right now for just about everyone, but especially for people with health challenges. All the craziness in the world today can be extra difficult for those with mental and emotional health issues. Many alcoholics and addicts in recovery today also experience mental and emotional health issues. Whether we have additional issues or not, being in recovery and keeping in healthy spiritual condition comes with a list of certain things that we must do. Despite the pandemic and all that has come with it, life still has its regular ups and downs as well. For those of us in recovery, we must turn some of our thoughts and energy to keeping our priorities in line. This is a straightforward way to ensure that we keep our recovery stable and safe.

What Are the Right Priorities?

The specifics are going to look a little bit different for each of us. We all have different circumstances, obligations, and responsibilities in our daily lives. Deciding on these specifics in the best and healthiest way will be discovered as we turn to our higher power in prayer and meditation and work the 12-Steps with our sponsor. Some of us have significant others who need us, children, new jobs, or relatives we help care for. Sorting these priorities is best done with the guidance of the 12-Steps and our higher power. The specifics might be a little different for each of us, but it does bring us to the list of priorities we all have in common.

For most of us alcoholics and addicts, we wouldn’t have much of a life to prioritize if we weren’t in recovery. This should clue us into our number-one priority — our recovery. Or more to the point, the relationship with and connection to our higher power that we develop and strengthen through living the 12-Step program of recovery lifestyle. The 12-Steps help us access the power, through our higher power, that we need to receive the daily reprieve of recovery. Continuously working the 12-Steps improves this contact with our higher power and helps us improve in all areas of our life.

The benefits of the 12-Step program of recovery are the very things that helped us build a life. It stands to reason that our top priority should be maintaining and growing our recovery, for from it stems our ability to participate in all the wonderful parts of our life. Without recovery, we wouldn’t have a full life to prioritize. Beyond this, there are myriad things like work, relationships, friendships, family, and anything else we are lucky enough to have in our lives. Prioritizing these things will be much clearer when we have a strong foundation built upon the practices and principles of the 12-Steps.

Keeping our recovery, our relationship with our higher power, and the 12-Steps as the top priorities in our life isn’t selfish or out of whack. Most of us find it to be absolutely necessary. If we keep these things first, they help us be our best for all the other parts of our life. Many of us find that the quality of our recovery parallels the quality of the rest of our life.

Defining Our Priorities

Defining our list of priorities is complex and unique to each of us. Holding our recovery and our higher power in the top spot is what allows us to maintain all our other priorities. Is there anything we can do to clarify this list?

Yes, we can break our recovery up into “the three sides of the triangle” — Unity, Service, and Recovery. This means fellowship and meetings, service to alcoholics, addicts, and everyone else, and working the 12-Steps with our sponsor and sponsees. Those three words and their corresponding actions are an easy way to make sure we are fully participating in and growing our life in recovery. Are we going to enough meetings to connect with the recovery community, be of service, and carry the message? Are we of loving, helpful service at every reasonable opportunity to people in and out of the recovery community? Are we staying active and current with our sponsor and our 12-Step work, and are we sponsoring others?

If we are checking these boxes to the best of our ability, that goes a long way in prioritizing and clarifying our responsibilities in recovery. A further benefit of working a solid recovery program is that through the natural course of 12-Step work, we will be able to arrange and clarify what our next priorities should be. We will also be shown the things that we can work with our higher power to improve upon, and any helpful actions that we may need to take as we address our daily priority list.

There is no cut and dry answer for what we should prioritize after our recovery — each of us has a different life. But for alcoholics and addicts like us, recovery should always come first. That will allow us to be our best, do our best, and give our best to everything else in our life. When we make our recovery the highest priority, it helps us clarify our actions and efforts in everyday life.

Alcoholism and addiction are a destructive and often deadly disease that can disrupt every element of a person’s life. There is a solution, and this program of spiritual action can help people who suffer from alcoholism and addiction rebuild their lives entirely. The 12-Step program of recovery can restore lives and often does. Those who are willing, honest, and open-minded enough to work the 12-Steps with a sponsor will almost always find that they have undergone the necessary psychic change and will have what is known as the vital spiritual experience. These two phenomena produced by the 12-Step program are the crucial ingredients for freedom and recovery from alcoholism and addiction. At Jaywalker Lodge, we firmly believe in the hope and promise of recovery. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve struggled in the past. Recovery is not a punishment for our disease. It is the promise of a brighter future and a life filled with purpose, meaning, and joy — and it is available to all. Call Jaywalker Lodge now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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