Recovery challenges

Am I the only one that sets myself up with recovery challenges? Do you? Please say you do. Why do it?

Earn your stripes

What are recovery challenges?

I am going to assume that it’s not just me. Recovery challenges are little tests I give myself. They do not include the big things that life throws at you (deaths, divorce(s) – don’t judge me.) Big things are more difficult to handle. Unpredictability pulls the rug from under our recovery shoes.

No. Let me suggest some recovery challenges – Going to a party alone/sober. Going to a family party where there is a free bar and several family members are functioning alcoholics. Going on holiday to an all inclusive resort. A wedding with a free bar.

We can plan for recovery challenges. We can’t plan for life. As Oprah says. ‘Life is like riding a horse.’ Recovery challenges are more like building a house of lego.

Do they work?

This is the same question as – how soon they will work? No one knows. This is not an exam or a work appraisal. There is no pass or fail in recovery (although we sometimes think of it that way. Don’t. Lose the school approach.)

A recovery challenge is something you are going to see if you can do. It encourages you to carry on. It’s like coaching yourself in a way. It shows you how vulnerable or strong you are at a certain point. And don’t worry. This will change. There is no finish line and no certificate in recovery. This is your recovery. This is your lego. This is your life.

Why do it?

To explain, I will tell you about my 2019 recovery challenges – to go to see my son’s shows (6 in a year.) The audience were the same line up as my drunk, mentalist addict years. The city was the same. It was the scene of my car crash. My challenge was to attend every show and drink water in a bar full of people I used to drink with.

Show 1 was hellish. I sat in VIP with free drinks. I pulled a nail out of someone’s nose surrounded by free prosecco. Here is the proof (note empty water bottles.)


Fast forward to Show 6 in December 2020. Better hair, no gulping of pints of water. No VIP free drinks. No photographic proof – which is proof of recovery in itself, right?

What did I learn from my recovery challenges?

  1. I am an alcoholic who cannot just have one drink
  2. I cannot order alcoholic drinks at a bar
  3. Recovery is sloooow
  4. People begin to having a grudging respect for you, the longer you are sober. But not everyone. Some people hate you more. Because they too have a drink problem. And you not drinking somehow seems to shine a big light on it.
  5. I was sooooo socially awkward being sober in the party room. But by Show 6 I felt relaxed. Progress.
  6. It’s all in the planning. Show 1 I appeared without thinking about where I would sit and the free drinks offer. Show 6 I turned up on time and sat at the back.

Over to you..

Set yourself a recovery challenge. Preferably something you can repeat. A series so you can chart your progress. It will feel uncomfortable at first. Progress is not linear. Above all, celebrate your small victories. Keep celebrating your small victories.


Find the one thing you can do and learn how to do it well. Proceed as if you were born to do it. Find the lego and build the one. The 361.

Alice Smith 2020

#soberlife #sober #sobergirl #relationships #alcohol #recovery #mentalhealth #mentalhealthrecovery #recovery #recoveryfrom trauma #recoveryispossible #recoverychallenges #writer #lifecoach #drinkaware #aa #beataddiction

Published by 361one

when I write I am a king. Listen to more at 361 live podcast

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