Counting the minutes, days, hours, weeks, and years we have been able to maintain sobriety is advantageous in recovery for many reasons. First, quantifying sober time helps direct the newcomer to individuals who have worked a solid recovery program and who can help guide them through the first steps of their journey. Quantifying time also serves as a way to gauge progress and provides a way for the sober community to support the continued work of each individual as they achieve different markers for periods of time. Beyond these applications, however, it seems that is where the utility of counting time begins to run thin. This way of conceptualizing progress can actually work to be counterproductive because if we believe in the idea that the totality of our progress, personal evolution, and success is defined by the amount of time we have achieved in abstaining from substances, we necessarily set a lower bar for achievement. Obviously, getting sober and remaining sober is one of the greatest achievements an addict can earn, but the problem lies in the belief that no achievement could top this and that we have completed the journey. Getting sober and staying sober isn’t the destination, but rather it is the starting point from which we begin the real excursion into life.
Living a quality life means different things for different people; some people value family as their top priority, others might value work or schooling as primary, and some may choose an entirely different path. The point is that only we can truly quantify the quality of our lives in recovery and therefore we need to be able to look within ourselves in order to direct ourselves on the right trajectory for us. Some people need not even to quantify the quality of their life through achievements or accolades, but through their journey of recovery, they discover that living in honesty, integrity, compassion, and forgiveness actually provides them with adequate contentment and success. This is not a call to discontinue the act of keeping track of time, it is merely an attempt to show that we are much more than our addiction and we are in control of the extent to which we experience a quality life not just through sober time, but through action and experience.
Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon uses cutting-edge techniques in individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction. Taking a holistic, sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help- our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at (503) 850-2474