For some people, overcoming an addiction may not seem like that big of a deal. On the face of it, simply deciding to not drink or use may seem simple. However, anyone truly in the throws of addiction knows this is not the case.
Addiction is a disease that you can't afford to underestimate. Vigilance is simply the act of living in an awareness of your own susceptibility, and taking the steps you need to take to keep your need for sobriety always in the front of your mind.
By living in this awareness and making the preparations you need to stay sober in the moment, you can gain the strength to protect yourself and remain free of your addiction.
1) You never know when your vulnerability will strike
Addiction is a disease from which you can never be fully "cured." No matter how long you have been sober, no matter how much better your life feels, you still need to be aware of your weakness, that are ready to trap you if you give it the opportunity.
Being caught off guard by the opportunity for a relapse can feel really scary and hopeless. Vigilance provides a way to protect yourself, to realize your vulnerabilities, be prepared, and have an action plan to resist your recurring craving and remain sober.
2) Addiction claims your entire heart, soul, and being, and so your recovery will need to too.
The reason you needed help to fight your addiction in the first place is the craving for your substance of choice is the strongest bodily urge you've ever felt. The obsession takes over and makes living a normal life impossible.
That means that to conquer your addiction, you've really got to do all the hard work of getting to the bottom of your addiction. Putting everything you've got, being as honest as you possibly can be, and participating willingly in your program to the best of your ability is going to be the only way to really throw yourself entirely into your recovery, putting you back in control of your own destiny.
3) Addiction feeds off aimlessness, and recovery succeeds by having goals
One of the main things addiction feeds off of is boredom, of feeling purposeless, of having a void that you feel the need to fill. Having a goal, or something to strive for gives a meaning to your life.
Having things to preoccupy your time and attention is a very important way to fight against the threat of "nothing to do." Spending time nourishing and caring for yourself is a very important part of building up vigilance for your recovery.
4) Recovery is a one-day-at-a-time decision
No one is capable of changing a bad habit "forever." Dwelling on the idea of giving up your drug of choice for eternity will do nothing but be so psychologically overwhelming as to make you feel hopeless.
That is why addiction counselors and support group leaders encourage you to take one day at a time, to think about being sober "just for today." A lifetime of sobriety is just the sum total of a person decided to make a choice "just for today." Staying sober in the present moment is where your focus needs to lie.
5) Charring for yourself is something that you will never need to not do
With any illness, you have to take medication every day in order to live, and in order to continue to be healthy. Your recovery program can be thought of as "medicine" that will keep you off the threat of replace, and instead aware of ways to thrive and live a full life.
If you try to cure yourself for all time, it's too big to manage. Yet, if you remain present and aware of each moment, you have the freedom to decide to be a whole, healthy person in control of your own destiny.