I told my therapist yesterday that I am surprised how motivated I am by the monthly AA chips (I just got my 2nd, 30 days, last Friday). She said oh, you like the positive reinforcement?
Why yes. Yes I do. As evidenced, perhaps, by the 3 (THREE) sobriety tracker apps on my phone?
I’ve known that about myself for a long time, actually. I remember putting it in a paper for a creative writing class in high school and the teacher wrote “Great job! Way to go! Love your writing!” when he graded it.
I do well when expectations are clear, deadlines are firm, and gold stars are handed out at the end (or, alternatively, punishment doled out for failure).
I need outside accountability. I am an Obliger, according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies.
My principal love language is Words of Affirmation, per Gary Coleman’s The 5 Love Languages.
So I am finding the IOP program both extremely helpful in staying sober and also quite enjoyable. The program provides a ton of external accountability and the expectations are clear (be here on these nights at these times, do these assignments, participate, stay sober).
Plus, you get positive reinforcement from others in the group and the therapists when you are succeeding.
I also just love self-help. I recently took a version of the Meyer’s Briggs personality test online and these are my results:
Personality type:“The Defender” (ISFJ-T)
Individual traits: Introverted – 76%, Observant – 80%, Feeling – 85%, Judging – 75%, Turbulent – 61%.
Strategy: Constant Improvement
See that last part? “Constant Improvement.” How many times have I said that my goal in life is to get a little better every day? Answer: A bunch.
I’m very curious about myself, what might be “wrong” with me, what “caused” my addictions, and in discovering defects in my thinking and behavior and learning how to improve them. I’ve read countless books on addiction and recovery, which has been helpful. But this program forces me to actually dedicate a large portion of my time to doing the work, and pushes me to set up support systems that will last after the program is over. Those are two things I identified as contributing to my relapse last year. I quit drinking, and replaced it with other enjoyable healthy activities (mostly various forms of working out, and crafting). But I didn’t do much emotional work. And, just as important, I didn’t have a sober network. I never tried a single AA meeting (not for me, I was sure). I did go to SMART meetings for awhile but then fizzled out. I didn’t have any sober friends and most social activities in my life still involved other people drinking, and then, later, me drinking, too.
So I think it makes sense that I’m enjoying this IOP process. For some people it may feel like failure or punishment to be there. But I am so grateful to finally have help and support and to be doing something about what I’ve known was a problem for so long.
As for the apps, in case you’re interested, the first is called Sober Time, the second is Goal Tracker, and the third is I’mQuit (all for Android). I like them all for different reasons.
SoberTime – Prettiest tracker, and gives motivational quotes and has other features I honestly haven’t used.
Goal Tracker – This is my favorite right now because I physically get to check off the days when I don’t drink, which I find very satisfying. You can only track one habit with this one, unfortunately.
I’mQuit. This is the first app I used and I like that it has a widget (the circle in the screen below) that shows the number of days without having to open the app (but is still kinda discreet as to what you’re counting). It also keeps a good history of tries and failures and shows your all time best record (the yellow and half orange circle around the day count. The shorter yellow line is my current streak), and other things. You can track several habits at one time and toggle between them.