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  • Writer's pictureDoug Fleener

Priorities, Sobriety, and Success

Young businessman with priorities in his recovery and leadership.

From my first day in recovery, multiple people told me that my sobriety had to be my first priority. Then some spiritual connection. Then my family and everything else.

At the time, my business was failing. I was broke. Everyone was upset with me. Especially my father, who I had stolen large amounts of money from the marine supply business we co-owned. I told my sponsor that my priorities were getting my life back together, saving my business, and making more money. He just restated the three priorities in order.

I remember saying that I couldn’t make meetings and everything else in a program a priority. Brian pointed out that it was just replacing drugs and alcohol, which had been my first priority. Touché!

For over 35 years, my recovery has always been my first priority. I’ve never stopped attending meetings and other activities I needed to stay sober. I built a successful career, made a lot of money, and traveled the world as a speaker because I kept that priority. I’ve seen others struggle because those things became the priority. They’re not a priority. They are just the promises coming true.

My priority advice to leaders in recovery:

* Have a minimum number of “meetings” you attend weekly. For me, that is a recovery program. For you, it could be the same. It could also be a church or mosque or whatever. But connecting with others who think and feel the way you do is critical.

* Start your day by reading things that connect you to your priority. I read Daily Reflection, Thought For the Day, and similar sites. These readings put me in the right frame of mind and are vital to setting my daily priorities. I also read The Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Entrepreneur, and other publications. But those are not my first priority.

* Journal daily. Yea, I know it isn't for everyone. At the same time, it has been key to my sobriety and success. I’ll share more on that in another blog post.

* Talk daily with others about your priorities. I connect with many people. Most are in recovery. Some are not, but they share my values. And I connect weekly with my business coach as well.

So let me ask, what are your priorities?

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