Psychotherapist Sherry Gaba, author of the book, The Law of Sobriety (2010) and the go-to expert for life coaching matters on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab, asserts there is more to successful recovery than conventional Twelve Step programs. Here she explains how uniting the concepts of the Law of Attraction with one’s authentic self can create a powerful recovery.
In the Law of Sobriety I take the principles found in the Law of Attraction and put them to work for the specific purpose of helping individuals recover from their addictions, whether it be alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, food, co-dependency, love, shopping or any other substances or behaviors. To understand the Law of Sobriety, you first must understand the Law of Attraction, a tenet of the New Thought Movement of the twentieth century. It is a belief that one’s life is shaped by one’s thoughts – both conscious and unconscious. Thoughts are a type of energy. The energy of thought each person puts out into the world, positive or negative, is the energy they will receive or attract back into their lives.
My book encourages you to take action in your recovery. The positive steps you take will attract peace, joy and serenity into your recovery process. It is so important that your thoughts and actions align with your path of recovery. According to the Law of Attraction, thoughts of fear, rage and discontent will not only keep you from fulfilling your recovery goals, but these negative thoughts will also be attracted back to you. If you live in fear, you might be afraid to try a new career or move on from a bad relationship. Your fearful thoughts will keep you frozen in misery and anger. If you are living with resentments, you are sure to attract people, places and things that will cause you to be resentful.
The Law of Sobriety is a program of seven steps which can be combined with your Twelve Step practice or utilized on their own to not only assist you in living a clean and sober life, but also to assist you in living a life with meaning. You will begin to experience a more joyous and free life, and you will find clarity and purpose. You will identify what brings you fulfillment. Existential questions such as “Why am I here?”, “What is my calling?”, “Am I living an authentic life?” or “Do I hide under a false facade?” will be resolved. As you tap into your unique wisdom, you will accomplish the goals you set for yourself.
In short, these seven steps empower you to do what you were put on this planet to do. They include:
1. Finding your purpose with intention
2. Living a life that is true to your values
3. Living a life of authenticity
4. Learning to live in appreciation, forgiveness and compassion
5. Living a life of right action
6. Living with awareness and mindfulness
7. Learning to let go of resistance and attachment
In the first step, “Finding your purpose with intention”, we put our passions into practice. We share our gifts with others. If we are meant to be writers, we write. If we are meant to be chefs, we cook. We follow our purpose, without purpose, staying sober can be next to impossible. If we are not living a life that resonates with our true selves, relapse is likely.
When we know what we desire, our intention allows us to go after it. I remember watching the first season of Celebrity Rehab several years ago. I told myself I would be on that reality television show no matter what. Through a series of events, I landed spots on four seasons of Celebrity Rehab, Sober House, and Celebrity Rehab’s Sex Addiction as Dr. Drew Pinsky’s go-to expert. Because of my work at some of the Malibu rehabs with high profile clients, I knew I had gifts to offer the clients on these television programs. My persistence paid off, and I made it happen.
The second step, “Living a life that is true to your values”, means identifying what we stand for and are willing to defend. These values guide our actions and keep us grounded. We might release negative belief systems we learned in our families of origin and create values that resonate with who we are now. For example, if sobriety is one of your values, but you are in a toxic relationship that could cause you to relapse, then you might step away from that situation.
Step three, “Living a life of authenticity”, allows our true selves to emerge. Celebrities often have a false persona they portray to the media and their fans, but on the inside they are frightened children. By being honest about who we are, we can heal that frightened part of the psyche. Often our true selves emerge in the midst of crisis. If you have lost everything and are contemplating sobriety, do it now. You will begin to embrace the true essence of who you are meant to be.
My fourth step, “Learning to live in appreciation, forgiveness and compassion”, explores the interrelatedness of appreciation and forgiveness. Finding our purpose is much easier once we learn to forgive ourselves and others, and to release the shame we have been carrying. This step leads us to a profound appreciation for our sobriety. We open a space in our hearts for true compassion. When our hearts are open, anything and everything is possible. Positive changes are possible when we release our resentments towards other people, places and things.
In step five, “Living a life of right action”, we align ourselves with our essence. We are here to follow our own path. If people, places or things are taking us off that path, it is important to get back on course by removing what causes us to stray. If our addiction is taking us away from what we truly want, then it is time to embrace the Law of Sobriety and attract what we want and deserve.
In the sixth step, we learn “living with awareness and mindfulness”. This means living your life one moment at a time. The divinely inspired founders of the Twelve Steps knew that living “one day at a time” was all an addict or alcoholic could tolerate. A typical personality characteristic of someone with the disease of addiction is their inability to stay out of the past or future in their thoughts. It is easier to be non-judgmental of yourself if you are living in the moment. There is nothing to worry about in the moment, is there? The moment is perfect, just as it is.
Finally, “Learning to let go of resistance and attachment” relieves us of the need to have things turn out exactly as we want them to be. We learn to be open and willing to accept whatever comes our way, so we do not live in perpetual disappointment when life doesn’t go as we planned.
When I graduated from my social work program, I envisioned I would be working with single parents. I had no idea I would end up working in the field of addiction. Once I became open to wherever my career was taking me, more opportunities became available. When I entered graduate school, I never dreamed it would be possible to have a book of mine published. I am so grateful that I have remained open and let the Law of Sobriety work miracles in every area of my life.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and life, love and recovery coach in private practice and at Soba Recovery Center in Malibu. She is featured on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab. She offers a ten-week certification at http://www.wakeuprecovery.com for psychotherapists, coaches or anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of the Law of Attraction as it applies to recovery from any addiction. She is also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People and Conscious Entrepreneurs and to several e-books: Empowerment Manual: Finding Purpose with Intention and Filling the Empty Heart: 5 Keys to Transforming Love Addiction. Her e-books Relapse Prevention and Eliminate Limiting Beliefs can be downloaded free of charge at http://sherrygaba.com. Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements.