I have a Black Lab and a Golden Retriever. The Golden Retriever is my sister's pup. She died in December 2007, and I'm taking care of him for her until she comes back for him. And, she's taking care of my little girl pup that I had for 16 yrs., until I go to be with her. We have a deal.
A routine was the hardest thing for me to get down with. My sponsor helped me with this by demanding that -- every day -- I make a "To Do List."
I used to grumble (silently, of course, without him hearing me) "Where's that in the book?"
Then, one day, I found it in the BB, in the section for Step 10. "On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day." ~ pg 86. And, I thought... "How'd he know that and I didn't?"
That became the last time that I ever questioned his wisdom.
At first, I made lists that included things that I couldn't or didn't get done. And, that wasn't helpful. So, I changed it to make it very simple -- only including the stuff that I was going to regularly do anyway! Example:
1. Wake up
2. Brush my teeth
3. Get a cup of coffee
4. Make my bed
5. Say a prayer
6. Read one page in the BB
7. Help someone do something
8. Go to a meeting.
And, I had to work at it to get that much done! One through three weren't so difficult. It was 4 through 8, daily that really took some discipline.
As I would complete my list I started to feel good about myself. I felt like I had accomplished something worthy. I was able to face my sponsor and say "Yes! I did it!" or "Yes! I have my list today!" -- more things that helped contribute to me feeling good about myself.
I began to recognize that one of the reasons I used to drink so much (on the way to becoming alcoholic and afterwards) was: I didn't feel good about myself. And, drinking would change that for me.
So, it was a wonderful new discovery for me to have feelings of feeling good about myself -- while sober! For me, that was like a miracle!
I also noticed that the better I felt about myself -- the more things I could then add to my To Do List. And, to get them done! More important things like: Sort my bills. Pay my bills. Make a budget. Work today! Earn more than I spend today!
And, most importantly ... "find an alcoholic that I can help today!" (Not just 'go to a meeting' but actually search out for some alcoholic that I could help! )
I began to get some discipline and structure in my life. Two things that most of us alkies lack! And, the lack of discipline and structure kept our lives into problem and crisis cycles. One problem building on the other and feeling crappy about ourselves to the point that we couldn't stay sober! It would literally drive us back to the bottle -- or worse.
I began to notice that the more consistant I was with keeping my To Do List -- the more 'Better Days' that I would have. Then, the Better Weeks, and now... the Better Months. And, lately... just using these simple tools of ours -- each month is getting better than the month before. Sometimes, twice as good -- in improvement.