By: Marilyn L. Davis

 

We Wasted Time, Energy, and Effort in Our Use

 

 

Our addiction took on the cycle of use, withdrawal, and more use for many of us. Then we had to dodge family, responsibilities, and the authorities. While these took time, energy, and effort, there was usually much sitting around, wasting hours, or not being productive. 

We waited for hours for the dealer to show up, avoided our family until they weren’t angry anymore, changed our route to miss the cops. 

Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, summed up my appreciation of time in my addiction: “One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all.”

 

We Also Distort Time in Early Recovery

 

When we first get into recovery, time takes on a different aspect – there is either too much or not enough. We may become aware of how much time we wasted in our addiction and desperately try to make up for all the past mistakes in one day, and do things perfectly. And those are not realistic expectations. 

Or, we think we don’t have anything to do and begin to romance or develop euphoric recall for our using days. When we romance our use, we only remember the pleasant feelings or experiences, forgetting the consequences of our use. And that can lead us back to our use with a relapse. 

 

Valuing Time and Using It Productively

 

Early recovery allows us to establish priorities, and we can manage this with a simple exercise in isolating general categories in life. 

Social, Emotional, Mental, Physical, and Spiritual (SEMPS) narrows down the five aspects of humans. 

So, you’ll want to decide how your goals fit into each aspect. The following ten goal categories cover most of the things that become important to us in our recovery:

    1. Recovery
    2. Career
    3. Financial
    4. Educational
    5. Relationships
    6. Attitudes
    7. Physical Well Being
    8. Pleasure/Socializing
    9. Spiritual
    10. Volunteering/Service to Others

 

Time is a Gift

 

Are you spending minutes or even hours thinking about being productive, or are you doing things that get results? If you’re not sure, here’s a simple way to know. Create a table or an Excel Spreadsheet with the following categories:

  1. Thoughts
  2. Conversations
  3. Activities to meet goals 
  4. Desired Results

 

Ask Yourself: Was I Productive this Week?

 

Decide on Sunday night precisely what your goals or sub-goals are for the week. Write them down. Those are your priorities for the week. 

To ensure that you aren’t doing something very well that doesn’t need doing, try recording all your thoughts, conversations, and activities for a week. You can do this on notebook paper or your phone.  You insert a hash mark (III) each time you do something in a particular category.

Then transfer your results on Saturday night to help motivate you for the next week’s activities. 

 

 

This chart will help you understand how much you can get done during a day and where your precious moments are going. You might be surprised at many hours you spent thinking or talking about desired results without creating activities that would produce the results.

____

Tracking Your Time

 

If you see more hash marks under thinking and talking and not an activity to promote change or move you closer to your goal, you may have wasted another opportunity to have better outcomes. You’ll see how productive you were or how much time you wasted on unproductive thoughts or conversations about your goals and sub-goals without concrete plans and actions to accomplish them.

We all undervalued time in our addiction or had no concept of it. Learning to value time and using it wisely is a gift of recovery – use it to your advantage and see if you aren’t more productive in your daily routine than you thought possible. 

____

It’s Not About Thinking; It’s About Doing

 

“Thinking before taking action is useful only if you are going to take action; otherwise, you are wasting time and insulting your mind.” ― Amit KalantriWealth of Words

This chart will help you understand how much you can get done during a day and where your precious moments are going. You might be surprised at many hours you spent thinking or talking about desired results without creating activities that would produce the results.

Unfortunately, many people waste time in their recovery thinking about what to change, and not enough time doing something. Take action today. Click To Tweet

 

 

 

Writing and recovery heal the heart. 

 

Marilyn L. Davis is the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook. 

 

 

 

 

When you’re ready to share your experiences in addiction or recovery, consider a guest post. Here are the guidelines.

 

 

Was this post helpful?