If you have started your alcohol and drug recovery journey, you will know how hard it was to get there. The only thing harder is staying sober. Maintaining lasting sobriety is more than saying no to drugs or alcohol. It’s about creating lasting changes in your life to live a happy and healthy life.
Do not feel discouraged if you are struggling to stay sober, be proud of what you have achieved and how far you have come. Long-term sobriety often comes with setbacks, but this does not mean you have failed. The most important thing is your determination and commitment to progressing on your recovery journey.
How To Get Sober and Stay Sober Longer
The advice given to many people trying to stay sober is often: ‘Don’t drink!’, or simply, ‘Go to meetings!’ Although this may work for some, unfortunately, staying sober is not that easy.
When you first choose to live a new sober life, you will want to do everything to prevent a relapse. You don’t want to go backward. But a relapse for people who are new to recovery is very prevalent and by no means indicates a failure. About 80% of people who have found long-term sobriety have experienced at least one relapse throughout their recovery process.
However, there is a range of strategies that can support you in learning coping skills and identifying triggers to help you maintain lasting sobriety. Below are a series of six tips for staying sober.
Maintain Healthy Relationships
Maintaining supportive relationships is essential to the success of your recovery. But it’s important to recognize when past relationships are toxic and are holding you back from living a sober lifestyle.
It could be friends you have known for years, your old drinking buddies, drug dealers, or maybe even family members who enable or encourage your alcohol and drug addiction. Whomever it may be, step away from relationships that no longer serve you. Having a healthy support system around you is critical.
It’s difficult to acknowledge that those closest to us may be the ones causing the most harm, as you may have developed a co-dependent relationship with someone who enables you.
To remain sober, it’s good to develop more healthy relationships, whether with new friends or spending more time with sober friends.
Deal With Past Mistakes
Once you decide to stay sober, there are likely things in your past that cause you to feel guilt and shame. When reflecting on past behavior, these feelings are normal and natural emotions. But do not allow these feelings to become excessive; they can be toxic and prevent you from moving forward in your recovery journey.
It is vital to learn from these past mistakes, don’t harbor the feelings, and speak to your loved ones and anyone else you believe you have hurt. This will help you move past these toxic thinking patterns.
When you have substance abuse problems, your life revolves around alcohol or drug abuse. This means that you find yourself with a lot of free time when you decide to live a sober life. Developing new healthy habits can help you manage stress and distract you from negative feelings. This could be joining a new club, starting a new hobby, or engaging in recreational activities.
But it’s essential to keep a healthy balance as research has found that recovering addicts often substitute new compulsive behaviors for old ones. Keep a balance and gain control over your choices to avoid transferring one addiction to another. Remember, you have options and can maintain control; this will help you on your sober living journey.
Join Support Groups
Maintaining sobriety can feel isolating. You have cut out your toxic relationships and maybe find it hard to make new friends. Joining a support group can help you meet new people while supporting you in dealing with your substance use disorder.
Addiction support groups, such as narcotics anonymous, can help you learn new coping skills, develop negative thinking patterns and remind you that you are not alone.
Practice Healthy Living
Substance abuse can have its toll on your physical and mental health. Now you are in recovery, priorities change, and you can now focus on self-care. Staying physically active and maintaining a nutritious diet are essential for making you feel good throughout sober living.
Following an exercise program can help reduce stress and restore a sense of balance in your life.
Have a Structured Schedule
A structured schedule can help you achieve short-term goals, such as returning to work. It is easy to be triggered if you follow the same routine you found yourself in at the height of your substance abuse.
Living a chaotic or disorganized lifestyle can be detrimental to staying sober. It’s essential to create a daily and weekly schedule; maybe this is waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day. Every little change helps.
Staying Sober From Alcohol Without AA
Alcoholics anonymous is one of the most well-known support groups. Its basis is a 12-step program that aims to admit that you are powerless and asks you to ‘surrender to a higher power.’ This isn’t for everyone.
Other support groups may be more suited to your personal recovery. One example is SMART. SMART recovery does not focus on a 12-step program and instead focuses on building coping skills for you to live life. They achieve this through a four-point program:
- Coping with urges
- Building and maintaining motivating
- Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
- Living a balanced life
Is It Really Possible To Live a Sober Life?
The answer is yes! Staying sober requires a commitment to living a healthy life through self-care, support, and prevention programs.
It can be overwhelming to think of long-term sobriety, but taking it day by day and looking at the shorter goals makes sobriety much more manageable. Focus on today; make it your day, not a day focused on drug or alcohol abuse. No one is untreatable.
How Can I Enjoy Myself Without Alcohol?
In early recovery, you may be worrying about how you will have fun and enjoy yourself without drugs or alcohol in your life. But there is no need to worry. Sober life allows you to focus on fulfilling activities and pursuits.
You may now realize that addiction was prohibiting you from positive experiences of recreation and fun. As you meet other sober people, you will discover endless possibilities for recreational activities that don’t involve drugs and alcohol. Maybe this is painting, volunteering, cooking, or learning a new instrument. The possibilities are endless!
What Does Being Sober Really Mean?
Being sober means not being intoxicated, whether from drugs or alcohol. According to the standard medical definition of sobriety, being sober means having ongoing abstinence from alcohol. This is a standard definition shared by support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
However, other definitions of sober take into consideration relapses. They focus on the recovery journey and the development of coping skills and habits that enable long-term health and wellness.
Addiction Treatment at Cirque Lodge
At Cirque Lodge, we understand that addiction differs for everyone and that treatment needs to reflect this. Our medical experts will work with you to design an individualized substance abuse treatment plan.
Our treatment options include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Dual Diagnosis
- Family therapy
- Continuing care
We know that recovery is a lifelong process, and our treatment does not end when you leave our center.
Contact us today to find out more about treatment options for substance abuse disorders.