FOR THE NEWCOMER
As newcomers, we often feel lost and don’t know how to live sober and are uncertain with what we should or should not do in order to recover. We are confused, scared, and typically have doubt about being able to stay sober. All of us who have recovered have experienced what you are going through at this time. Fortunately, there are others in Heroin Anonymous who can relate to your experience and are eager to help you find a new way of living. What we found that was most helpful, was to be guided by someone who is grounded in the 12 Steps. This person can offer guidance, support, and direction so that you can learn how to cope with daily life and assist you in developing a life of freedom from heroin addiction. There is no right way to recover, we cannot do it wrong, yet there are several suggestions we have found to be very helpful in our sobriety. The first suggestion we have is to immediately begin working with a sponsor. A sponsor cannot help you if you will not let him or her help you. If I am not willing to be honest with my sponsor, they cannot help me. It does not mean that the sponsor wants to control my life nor am I required to agree with everything they tell me. But rather, “Am I willing to have an open mind with what is being said and am 1 willing to consider what is being suggested? Something we found helpful when being resistant is to ask ourselves, “How effective or successful was I when I was relying on my ideas and plans?” It is recommended to call your sponsor on a daily basis. People who call their sponsor regularly are more likely to reach out when life becomes difficult. Be willing to meet with your sponsor face to face on a weekly basis. This way you can get through the Steps as quickly as possible so you can be freed from the obsession to use. Surround yourself with others in recovery. Newcomers, who socialize and spend time with others in recovery, often are more successful in staying sober. A great deal of support is needed in recovery and others who have recovered will understand what you are going through. We have experienced that it is very difficult and often impossible to stay sober on our own. It became clear that we are much more successful when we stick together and help each other. As heroin addicts we tend to do well when we are in great numbers and don’t do so well when we try to recover on our own. Call others in addition to your sponsor. It is essential to establish a support system in sobriety. Developing a phone list of others in recovery can be very helpful. There may be times when you cannot reach your sponsor and being able to talk to another recovered member can make all the difference in the world. By making regular contact with your sponsor and others, you will gain perspective on life’s ups and downs and you will realize that you are not alone and that you do not have to recover by yourself. Attend as many meetings as possible. All that is necessary is that you be willing to listen; there is no pressure to talk. Meetings are a good way to get to know people and to allow others to get to know you. By getting to know you, others can offer help when it is needed. Many of us recall driving across town to cop dope. Am I willing to go to the same lengths to stay sober? The newcomer who isn’t willing to do so generally does not stay sober. By following these suggestions, you will experience what the rest of us have gone through when we were newcomers. We realized there were others we could relate to and found there were many in this program who truly understood what we were experiencing. In the end, we discovered that we were not alone, that it was no longer necessary to suffer, and a life filled with joy and peace was waiting for every one of us. All we had to do was to follow a few simple suggestions and we would find freedom unlike anything we had ever experienced before.