You CAN live a SOBER LIFE again - CALL NOW for treatment options
1-800-259-1361

The Power of Pledges and Sobriety Contracts in Your Recovery Journey

 

Never underestimate the power of getting something down in writing. Seeing a commitment on paper and making the conscious choice to sign the dotted line can be a powerful step in recovery. For this reason, one of the first assignments I give to my clients is the creation of a sobriety contract. While I often keep a copy of the document, it is far more about the commitment that the client is making.

The Language of Gains Sobriety Contract

In keeping with my empowerment-based approach, I encourage clients to employ a language of gains in the sobriety contract. More importantly, I insist upon a highly personalized commitment.

An example sobriety contract may read:

I, ____________, choose clarity for the next ____________ days. When cravings or triggers arise, I will reach out to ___________(list members of your support network)__________. I have identified the following five activities to be healthy distractions when my cravings persist __________(list 5)__________ and will engage in them until my desire to drink or use drugs subsides. The gains I experience when I choose clarity are __________(list 3 or more)___________.
Sign____________
Date____________

Some clients prefer a one-day-at-a-time approach and elect to renew their sobriety contracts each morning. Others take on time-limited challenges, like 30 days, as they begin the recovery journey. The contract can be written with your personal parameters in mind and is there to serve as a tangible reminder of your goals.

The Sobriety Pledge

Another powerful recovery tool that has grown more accessible in the digital age is the sobriety pledge. You’d be hard-pressed to find a recovery forum that doesn’t incorporate some type of daily commitment. Essentially, it’s a “call to clarity” and the means through which many addicts daily recommit themselves to sobriety. Sites like Women for Sobriety and the No Alcohol forum on Coach.me regularly employ the community pledge approach.

It can be quite powerful to see the list of names grow on a digital sobriety pledge. And for some, that written commitment can make the difference between slipping up or holding strong on particularly challenging days. More than once, I’ve had clients indicate that the pledge alone prevented a near slip-up.

The Benefits of Sobriety Contracts and Pledges

In addition to enhancing accountability, contracts and pledges can prove key in highlighting an addict’s patterns and limits. With the contract, for example, a commitment of 30 days may prove too lofty for someone just beginning the journey. Tweaking the contract to set more achievable objectives can be quite empowering and allows each person to build momentum in a way that is both personalized and comfortable.

While a sobriety contract is written by the client and for the client, sharing it’s contents with appropriate supports can prove quite useful. It wasn’t until my client, Mary*, shared her contract with her husband that he fully grasped the severity of her struggles. For Mary, the contract was a way to say, “Hey! This is a real problem and I’m taking positive steps to address it.” A really productive dialogue resulted and Mary still considers that moment the turning point in her own recovery.

As you navigate the road to recovery, consider incorporating a written commitment into the process. Reflect on the gains of clarity and include them in your sobriety contract. Take control. Pick up the pen. Give yourself the gift of signing the dotted line.


jen-anderson-addiction-counselorJen Anderson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), sobriety coach, former alcohol enthusiast, and writer living in Florida.

Related Articles

How Exercise and Nature Helps With Addiction Recovery There are numerous options that can help you with addiction recovery, including 12-Step meetings, counseling centers, or a religious institution. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong and the choic...
College Alcoholism: Signs and How Parents Can Help With Spring break in full swing, many parents are concerned that their college-age child is engaged in risky behavior, including destructive drinking patterns, which may lead to alcoholism. Every pare...
The Power of the Unfollow in Recovery I got really angry at HuffPostWomen on Instagram the other day. They shared with their nearly 200,000 followers an image glorifying alcohol. It was a cartoon of a pink wine glass with the words, “...
Losing My Childhood to My Mother’s Alcoholism When I was 8-years-old, my mother and father got a divorce. They were always arguing and yelling at each other, so the divorce was probably for the best. My father was always a workaholic and during t...
The Lowdown on Medication-Assisted Treatment Nearly 2 million Americans have a substance abuse disorder related to prescription pain medications classified as opioid drugs and nearly 600,000 have a similar problem with heroin, according to the A...
Forgiveness in the Recovery Journey “Bring it up, make amends, forgive yourself. It sounds simple, but don’t think for a second that it is easy. Getting free from the tyranny of past mistakes can be hard work, but definitely worth the e...
Redefining Rewards and Celebrations in Recovery “I really mean when I say that my biggest fear in early recovery was that I would never have fun again. The beautiful truth is that recovery has given me the freedom and the confidence to go out in th...
New Methods of Treating Addiction Proven treatment methods like individualized therapy sessions, 12-step programs, medication management and follow-up support will always have a place in helping individuals seeking meaningful recovery...
Top 10 Gifts for Your Newly Sober Friend A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer. ― Seneca When a friend or loved one enters recovery, it’s safe to assume that they’re experiencing both ph...
Addiction Treatment Centers: What to Look For If you are suffering from an addiction, seeking treatment from an accredited and licensed treatment center can help you on your road to recovery. There are plenty of options available depending on the...
Naltrexone Decreases Relapse and Overdose Rates Among Opioid Addicted Offenders Patients who receive naltrexone after leaving prison are less likely to relapse and overdose on opioid drugs than those who take other kinds of treatment, according to a new study published by The New...
The Long -Term Effects of Heroin Heroin is one of the most addictive substances in the world. In 2012, the National Survey on Drug Use estimated  that over 650,000 people in the United States had used the drug in the preceding year. ...