Recovery Checklist

This is a list of things to do in recovery and to maintain recovery

[This page is still under construction. Always seek professional help when needed, and if in crisis, call 911, go to an emergency room, or call a crisis hotline – see resources for more information]

  • Cardinal Rules
  • Cardinal practices
  • Take care of brain health
  • Accept yourself as you are
  • Tame your monkey mind
  • Rewire your neural circuitry
  • Other

Cardinal Rules

  • Progress, not perfection
  • One day, one minute, one moment at a time
  • You are loved, because you are lovable and you are loving
  • You are enough (you are not defined by your illness, but by your true self), you have enough (be grateful), and you are right where you need to be (acceptance and patience)

Cardinal Practices

  • Be in a support group of trusted people that are safe to talk to
  • Be your own best friend
  • Do not avoid your feelings and pain with unhealthy/damaging distractions/obsessions
  • Take your meds
  • Get enough sleep
  • Mindful meditation (still your monkey mind and listen deeply to yourself and the universe. In stillness you will find your true self, and the answers you seek).

Take care of brain health

  • Use supervised medication / do not self medicate
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat well

Accept yourself as you are

  • Learn and practice identifying what you are feeling
  • Accept you feelings, emotions, and pains just as they are
  • Do not avoid your feelings, emotions, and pains, by using alcohol, shopping, food, sex, the internet, etc. as ways of avoiding what you are feeling
  • Remember: you are enough, you have enough, you are right where you need to be
  • Remember: accept what you are today, change what you will be in the future

Tame your monkey mind

  • Practice mindfulness
  • Practice meditation
  • Learn about distorted thinking
  • Remember: you cannot change the past, learn from it, but do not ruminate over it
  • Remember: you cannot control the future, plan for it, but do not ruminate over it
  • Remember: you are loved because you deserve to be loved and you are lovable
  • Remember: a Neurobiological [brain] disorder (NBD) is no big deal, it can be treated
  • Remember: 1 in 5 adults in America have a mental health disorder – you are not alone or unique

Rewire your neural circuitry

  • Create a Gratitude list and look at it regularly
  • Create a Goodness list and look at it regularly
  • Create a list of things that bring you pleasure, and do regularly
  • When someone does something kind or compassionate for you, stop for 30 seconds to appreciate it – savor it; take it in.
  • Look into the eyes of someone special for one minute as each of you think good thoughts about the other – savor the look on their face and in their eyes
  • Do a daily positive affirmation
  • Give / volunteer
  • Practice saying “thank you” with confidence and without shame when you receive  a compliment


  • Face stress courageously and mindfully, don’t avoid it
  • Get professional help if you start to slide