How does one prepare for sobriety?  Is it even possible?  The truth is that you can’t actually “prepare” yourself to sobriety.  Sobriety is a choice and the result of a changed heart and mind.  However, sobriety is a long and often difficult journey so one needs to employ certain tactics and tools if they want to experience it.  In other words, you need to prepare for it.  This being said, what do I mean by preparation in terms of sexual sobriety?  While this question could be answered in a variety of ways I would like to address three areas of preparation that are not only important, but indispensible to sexual sobriety.

The first way an individual prepares for sobriety is finding and implementing accountability in their life.  Accountability is the starting point for sobriety; without it you stand practically no chance.  However maintaining accountability is not as simple as it sounds.  First, you need to find the right accountability partners.  These individuals need to people who aren’t there to condemn you or judge you but still love you enough to correct you when needed.  Second, you need to stay accountable to your partners.  Remember, your friend can hold you accountable but they can’t keep you accountable … only you can do that.  Lastly, you need to establish accountability measures and practices.  This may be running accountability software on your computers and Smartphone like X3watch.  It may mean joining a support group or meeting weekly with your accountability partners.  The point is this; maintaining accountability takes effort and prepares you for the challenges of sobriety.

The second way you prepare for sobriety is by drawing up an “escape plan.”  This is a concept we talk about in our X3pure workshop.  An escape plan is a list of countermeasures you follow when feeling tempted to break your sobriety.  Each person’s escape plan is unique and can include anything from “leaving the scene” to texting your accountability partner a short message like “HELP!”  Building an escape plan takes time and requires great preparation; it just doesn’t happen overnight.  It may even mean a lot of trial and error but eventually you construct a list of do’s and don’ts that will help you face that crisis moment.  The big idea here is that you follow a prepared action plan when feeling triggered so that you don’t fall down that rabbit hole when the urge surfaces.

The last way you can prepare for sobriety is by continually doing what works.  This is the philosophy of solution-focused counseling.  The idea here is to continue doing those things that seem to accompany periods of sobriety and stop doing those things that tend to hurt your sobriety efforts.  If reading your Bible, prayer, listening to certain types of music, running, or even doing crossword puzzles help keep your mind focused on other things than porn and sex then keep doing those activities … in fact, do them more often.  However if trolling the social media scene, watching late night TV, or paging through the latest issue of FHM magazine tends to lead you places you ought not go then do something else; stop asking for trouble.  Understand this isn’t so much about behavior modification as it is about recreating those scenarios that give you the best chance for success at sobriety. 

Realize that preparing for sobriety is work … it takes effort and dedication.  However, if you are willing to take the time to build accountability, create escape plans, and develop a disciplined lifestyle you will prepare yourself for long term and sustainable sexual sobriety.  This all may sound like too much work but nothing worthwhile is easy.  Confucius says, “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”  Simply put, prepare for success or fail … those are your options.