Recovery and technology make a powerful combo. Just ask Jan Parker!
The following guest post is from Jan Parker, Editorial Director and Co-Creator of the Android and iPhone app called Today’s Step: Recovery. Jan has been sober since 1984 and is passionate, supportive and encouraging about the changes that happen in one’s life when we begin to move in a conscious way. As a Taiji and Qigong expert, she specializes in teaching private lessons and seminars throughout North America, as well as daily qigong classes at a drug and alcohol treatment centre on Bowen Island, BC. In her guest post, Jan shares how she’s used technology to support her recovery. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Technology Has Helped Me Stay Sober by Jan Parker
It is said that to stay in recovery we need to be open, willing and honest. And we need to learn how to accept change. While I’m no techno-geek, I’ve found that during the last 28 years of my sobriety, technology has played an important role.
Some people pray when they wake up, others work out in a gym or go for a run. I don’t think one practice is better than any other — what’s important is that you participate on a regular basis in an activity that supports and inspires you, and that we use the helpful tools offered for our benefit.
My first sponsor helped by giving me cassette tapes of talks by speakers on the recovery circuit. I could listen to these tapes between meetings for added inspiration. And because I had trouble reading, I was thrilled to find that the Big Book was also available on tape. Every time I got into my car, instead of turning on the radio, I could pop in a cassette tape and listen to “How it Works” or hear a story shared by others working my same program of recovery.
Creating new healthy habits is important in recovery. Listening to those tapes guided my recovery, and soon I was listening to meditation tapes instead of indulging in some of the many unhealthy rituals I had when I was drinking. For me, a daily listening practice helped me focus on sobriety, and allowed me time to myself that felt positive.
My drinking had taken a toll on my physical health as well, and in my second year of sobriety, the mid-80s video fitness tapes were among my tools of choice to help me get fit. The VCR was my new friend, and it was fun to dance and stretch while watching a video. This exercise practice was a good way to rebuild my endurance and flexibility, and because of the video technology I was able to start working out again.
Over the years I’ve listened to meditation CDs and referenced lessons in martial arts and qigong from DVDs, as well as continue to draw inspiration from others on the path. I would have never considered that technology could play such an important role in supporting my recovery – but over the last 28 years, I’ve seen the proof. From listening to cassette tapes, using the VCR with DVDs, and now with Today’s Step Mobile App on my phone, I am able to access support whenever I want or need it. Daily meditations motivate me to stay sober, persistent and healthy. Recovery stories remind me that someone else has walked the same path, and exercises strengthen my body. There’s even a daily newsletter waiting in my inbox as soon as I check email.
Addiction can take away everything from you — recovery gives it back ten-fold. Meetings, books, community and even the latest technology are the tools I use and the combination is working for me and countless others who are fresh out of treatment, or like me, are in long-term sobriety. The power to change is in your hand.
Technology and recovery, what a great combo!