You’ve been in recovery for a while now. In the beginning, you filled your calendar with sobriety meetings that were an invaluable tool in early recovery. Now you’re starting to wonder if you still need to attend sobriety-related meetings multiple nights a week. Will this be for the rest of your life? At what point does it become safe for you to ease up on the meetings?
You probably have a plethora of programs from peer support to 12-Step groups cluttering your calendar while somehow fitting in time with your sponsor, but which ones could go and which ones are the most important to maintain?
Communicate Your Feelings
There might come a time where you feel a little burnt out from all of your sobriety meetings. You might feel like you’re just going through the motions. There might be some programs where you’ve gotten all you can possibly get from these programs, as far as you’re concerned. Around this time, it’s important to assess how you’re feeling and communicate it to the people involved in these programs. Talk to your therapist one-on-one if you feel like you’ve gotten all that you can get out of it. They might agree if they’ve seen major improvements and breakthroughs.
If you feel things are okay with you and your loved ones, ask them how they feel about family therapy and whether they still benefit from it or if work needs to be done. If you are in a 12-Step program, talk to your sponsor and express to them if you feel burned out or that you’ve got all you can. They’ve probably felt the same way before. No one should pressure you to stick with these programs if you feel you have nothing to gain, but it helps to keep people on the same page and gain additional insight for how to stay motivated.
Weigh Your Obligations
If you are someone’s sponsor or mentor or are attending family therapy, consider whether or not you have obligations to others when it comes to deciding which meetings to let go of and which meetings to keep. You aren’t obligated to keep a sponsor if it isn’t working with your schedule or life direction, but if your obligations concerning meetings are more important than what you’d rather fill your schedule with, then it might be better to keep those obligations up.
There’s nothing wrong with prioritizing yourself, but it has to be for the right reasons. Your mental health and physical health are the most important aspects to consider, and making room in your schedule for self-care and avoiding burnout can be beneficial.
What Are You Making Room For?
If you are considering letting go of some meetings, think about why you want to let them go. How would you rather spend that time? If you’re unsure, it might be best to wait before quitting meetings that you could still benefit from. If it’s to make more time for yourself, either to fulfill a goal or give yourself time for self-care between other obligations like work or school, then that’s a good reason. As long as you aren’t leaving that space free to be bored or do nothing, then it may be a good idea. There’s a difference between downtime and bored time.
Change Things Up
You might want to consider rearranging your obligations or trying something new. If you are going to 12-Step meetings, consider becoming a sponsor if you’ve been sober for a year or more. Talk with your therapist one-on-one about tackling something new. Try taking on a leadership position and becoming more engaged in the group.
However, if stress is the issue, taking on more responsibilities might not be the best option. If you feel overburdened, then it’s best to consider what aspects of these meetings are the most and least important to you.
Prioritize What You Get The Most From
The truth could be that you just need to let go of some of the meetings that aren’t serving you anymore. Now that you’ve gotten this second chance at life, you are allowed to live your most fulfilling life. You get to decide what your life is composed of.
While there was a time when these meetings may have done wonders in early recovery, not all of them require a lifelong commitment. It’s common for therapy patients to no longer benefit from treatment after they’ve built their life back up and learned healthy coping mechanisms and positive thought processes. Think about what you are getting from meetings that fill your week. What more could you get in the future? Keep things that serve you and let the others go.
You get to choose how you spend your time in recovery. You know yourself best, especially in this new life that you are leading. If you aren’t sure what’s best, reach out to your support system for guidance. Your sponsor, therapist, friends, and family are aware of your progress, where you’ve come from, and where you want to be. If you are feeling burned out or overwhelmed, it might be time to lighten the load and find something else that’s just as, if not more, fulfilling. Cornerstone Healing Center offers aftercare for all of its clients and treatment alumni. We also provide navigators who can coach you on life choices for the future. We are happy to provide you with information and resources about our programs and how they can benefit you in the future. If you’d like to know more about life during recovery and the best track for you, contact us at (800) 643-2108.