7 Things for Your ‘Welcome to Sobriety’ Care Package
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7 Things for Your ‘Welcome to Sobriety’ Care Package

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Whenever anyone is taking on a new endeavor, it’s nice to have a guide—someone or something to tell you what you might need to be prepared for your journey. Getting sober is no different; in fact, a lifestyle change as drastic as sobriety certainly calls for some kind of instructional pamphlet. Some might say the Big Book or a sponsor can tell you everything you need to know and they are right, but there are definitely some insider extras that I have stumbled upon along that way that I wish someone had told me to invest in when I was new.

1) Snuggie

As seen on TV! Yes, at first glance this is horrifying—a sure sign that you have given up on life—but the truth is, what you have given up on is destroying your body with drugs and alcohol and all the crappy behavior associated with it. Now is the time to get comfortable and cozy with yourself as you nurture your body and mind back to health and nothing that says self-care like a fleece blanket that’s also a robe.

2) Subscription to Netflix

Netflix is a no-brainer for nearly everyone these days but for someone embarking upon a transition from the leather-pants-and-lines-of-cocaine lifestyle, having a plethora of movies, documentaries and full seasons of television shows to binge watch will be key. Not to mention the fact that Netflix original programming, like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, is stellar.

3) Popcorn Maker

A less obvious necessity than the previous two, my $20 air popper, has brought me an endless amount of joy over the 10 years I have had it. It helped me get through my first year of sobriety and then my second as I took on the challenge of quitting smoking. There is something about movies + popcorn that just = happiness. And the air popper (along with the Netflix) can give you that experience without shelling out $20 at a theater. You can curl up with the first season of 24 and an embarrassingly large bowl of fresh buttered in the comfort of your own home. Newly sober alcoholics need as many enjoyable non-drinking activities to look forward to and this is one that is sure to please.

4) Amazing-smelling candle

Before I got sober, I never understood the point of expensive candles or fancy room spray. I could think of about 10,0001 ways I could better spend $30 than on a scented votive. But as the years went on and I got deeper into sobriety, I learned the value of indulging my senses with things other than nitrous oxide. Through the process of recovery, I came to understand that part of my self-care was splurging on what I previously deemed a senseless waste of money. It sends the message to myself that I am worth more than the bare bones necessities in life—which at the time for me was 7 Jeans and Marlboro Lights. Since turning the corner on life’s little extras, I have seen a huge improvement in my self-esteem and the way my apartment smells. Go figure.

5) Candy

Obviously this list is in no particular order or this item would have been number one. I have yet to meet a person who starts walking the path of drug and alcohol addiction recovery that doesn’t succumb to the White Satan—it’s the quickest, cheapest and most pleasant way to change your brain chemistry—something that a newly sober addict (and let’s face it, everyone) desperately craves. It’s been over a decade since I had my last drink yet I still fight my battle with sugar—mostly with RJ’s raspberry licorice, which is chewy and delicious and shoots the sugar drug directly into my veins. It’s not good for my teeth, my waistline or me but those in early sobriety should enjoy it. It is a beautiful time in an addict’s life when they have permission—and are often instructed—to cease “shouldn’ing” all over themselves and indulge in sugar, smoking cigarettes and having 20 lattes—hey, whatever it takes to stay sober another day. C’mon, do it for me.

6) An assortment of notebooks

One thing that many don’t realize is that getting sober is work and, if you’re going the 12-step route, I don’t just mean the internal struggle and commitment. There is actual homework—reading and writing—involved in getting sober, sometimes a lot depending on your sponsor. If reading isn’t your thing, no worries, the Big Book and the Twelve and Twelve are both available on CD. And if writing isn’t your thing, too bad—this is a matter of life and death so you better believe that you are going to have to get out of your comfort zone to save yourself. With sobriety, there are no short cuts. You might think you are doing just fine going to meetings only and not doing the work but I can guarantee you that it all comes out in the wash. Most likely, you will relapse or if you are like me, you will become “dry” and experience the worst emotional and mental pain you can’t even imagine (unless you have gone through it). It is where most people decide to end their lives. So on that upbeat note, you are going to need lots and lots of notebooks throughout your sobriety. Some will be for general journaling, some will be for assignments your sponsor gives you and some will be for step work. I know for me, my first fourth step was seven notebooks strong—what can I say, I am an angry bitch.

7) Something to read

If you weren’t much of a reader before getting sober, getting through the first 164 pages of the Big Book will begin to work that muscle again. And it’s a good thing because reading will be a skill that will come in handy at all sorts of points in your sobriety. Reading gives you a way to kill time before a meeting starts, while you’re waiting for a sponsor or sponsee to show up, riding on the bus—any chunk of down time that might have been filled with drinking or being high can be replaced with losing yourself in a good book (the same goes for audio books, which I often have going in my car). And for an addict, there is nothing more interesting or pleasurable that a good book about alcoholism like Party Girl by AfterPartyChat’s very own Anna David, Dry by Augusten Burroughs or Living Sober by Anonymous, a fantastic book and must-have manual for anyone new to sobriety.

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.