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[ Personal Narratives ]

Recovery Starts By Making Your Bed

HOW Morning Routine Can Change Your Whole Day And Keep You Sober

Morning routines…

They are a big deal in recovery, and I never understood why.

I didn’t have a regimented routine for the majority of my life so at first having a routine was nothing but a nuisance.

But as I did the work I was told to do, without questioning why, I started to see exactly why these routines are so important. 

I, like many in recovery, need time that gets me out of my head. My morning routine does this as I go about starting my day doing something productive, something that (as small as it might be) gives me purpose, and this in affect gets me prepared for the day I am about to face, it sets the tone for my day.

In fact now-a-days if I don’t follow my morning routine, I feel “off.”

I don’t feel the gratitude, and since I’m not starting my day off with something productive, I don’t get that snowball affect that exudes purpose into the rest of my day. And that’s a dangerous place to be for someone in recovery. We in recovery need to face each day as a new opprotunity to stay clean and sober. Hence “On day at a time”

By nature I am a procrastinator so it’s easy to put off my morning routine. But in doing so, i’m putting myself at higher risk for something to trip me up.

I have too much at stake to set myself up for failure, especially when it is just over something simple, like making my bed, or getting a quick meditation session, or a quick workout. 

Setting the tone for my day is imperative to so much more than it appears to be, If I hit my snooze button a few too many times and I’m at best setting myself up for an unpleasant day, but at it’s worse, I could be setting off a chain reaction that ends with a relapse. 

In a perfect world I want my day to go a certain way each and every day.

Does it ever? Rarely.. And actually, maybe some spontaneity is good, it gives my day a little flavor. Still, routine is important to make sure that spontaneity results in positive outcomes.

But since there is onIy so much control I have over what happens during a course of 24 hours, I need to give myself the advantage of being in the right state of mind when change comes my way. 

If you’re in recovery, you’ve probably heard this already, but like me, you might not have realized the affect that a morning routine can have. Thus, I encourage everyone to form a morning routine, and stick to it.

A routine should be totally comprehensive, it doesn’t need to be extravagant, but you should aim to incorporate a mind, body, soul type routine. For me, I blend recovery and fitness into my mornings, it’s nice to wake up and accomplish something(s) that give me a kick ass mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

You must find the routine that works for you, but here is what works for me, my morning routine goes like this:

1) ALARM GOES OFF & I GET UP…no snooze….I GET UP

I set the tone for the day that I am not going to procrastinate by hitting the “snooze” button. I make me bed, and i’ve already accomplished something within the first minute of my morning.

2) START BREWING MY COFFEE

I set the tone that I want to be alert and focused while not spending the excess money and time at a coffee shop.

3) READ MY MORNING REFLECTION BOOK & SAY MY THIRD STEP PRAYER

This is what really helps set the tone for my day, and reminds me that my number one priority is to remain sober, no matter what the day might throw my way. 

4) I DRINK MY COFFEE & WATER WHILE DOING 20-45 MINUTES OF FASTED CARDIO

This helps in a plethora of ways, it reminds me that I need to take care of my body, and it also helps release endorphins (our natural “high”) which prepares me for the next 23 hours.

NOTE: I do my cardio fasted not because I think it “burns more fat” but i seem to wake up quicker when doing so.  For me if I avoid eating breakfast for the first 2-3 hours I am awake I find myself sharper mentally plus that allows me to eat bigger portions later in the day. In fact in a 24 hour period there is ZERO difference between whether you do your cardio fasted or fed in regards to fat metabolism so do what works best for you and your schedule. This cardio can be simply walking, or a bodyweight routine consisting of lunges, pushups, jumping jacks, planks, and pull-ups, or even yoga.

5) WHEN I HAD A DAY JOB I WOULD PUT MY LUNCH TOGETHER THAT I HAD PREPARED THE NIGHT BEFORE

This could be categorized as a nightly routine, but you can also do this in the morning. It helps to ensure that I’m going to eat healthy and it takes the thinking out of what I’m going to do for lunch. This too helps the wallet a bit, as I’m not spending money on eating out. It also gives me more time to rejuvenate during my break, which is important to finish the day out strong.

6) TODAY I READ A MOTIVATIONAL ARTICLE (I have 4 in rotation that I cycle through) THEN CREATE MY TO-DO LIST FOR THE DAY AND START WORKING ON IT IMMEDIATELY

When you write something down it increases the odds that you will accomplish it.


So take charge of your life and set the tone for your day with a morning routine.

You can never control how things go (hence the all-important phrase life on life’s terms), but you can start things off in a way that helps things go your way.

Even if you have to wake up 30 or 40 minutes earlier, doing so will pay off.

Today, I never have a “bad day” – I have “bad moments” – but my morning routine helps to set me up for success when it comes to navigating the unpleasant moments.

If I follow my routine, I start my day off right, it makes it near impossible to start the day with a “bad moment” and that’s already a huge advantage.

As many of you can relate, I’ve done things in my past that make me lucky to be alive and free from behind bars to pursue all I am working to accomplish. This is a novelty that should never wear off.

Setting the tone reminds me of this – it keeps me present, it keeps me grateful, it keeps me sane.

I strongly encourage you to do the same.

– O.R. Marv


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