Getting sober is tough, but staying sober is even tougher. Addiction can be regarded as one of those things that are easier created than destroyed. When destroyed, it is even easier to create all over again. This narrative explains why about 40 – 60 percent of recovering addicts relapse within a year.1
Sobriety is a continuous journey, one that requires a lot of discipline and determination to ensure a long term result. You are probably sober now, and you want to make sure that you leave no stone unturned in staying that way. You have resolved that you will do all you can to ensure that you do not become part of the statistics that relapse. The truth is, you should not put so much pressure on yourself. Most people that have achieved long-term sobriety had a setback once before they reached their goals. If you slip and relapse, do not beat yourself up.
Sobriety is a goal best attained through tactical and conscious efforts. Engaging in a sober living program that offers personalized therapies will be of great help on your journey to long term sobriety. Such settings set guiding precedence for complete recovery.2 Nevertheless, you will need to put in some personal efforts to achieve the desired goal.
Here are some fundamental rules to follow to maintain your sobriety.
- Embrace change: Adopt a new norm
You cannot do the same thing over and over again and expect a new result. Adopting a new norm means avoiding most, if not all, of the things that led you into substance use and abuse in the past. For the things you cannot avoid, you will have to approach them differently.
Take out some time to reflect on the past and pinpoint the triggers that made you indulge. Scrutinize them to determine those that you can do without, and cut them off.
For those triggers that you might not be able to cut off without incurring some adversity on yourself, you will have to find a way to deal with them judiciously. Triggers in this category include stressors or tensions from work or at home. Rather than indulging when you experience these stressors, you should opt for a mind-body relaxation technique such as meditation or mindfulness. Studies have shown that these are effective relapse prevention strategies.3
Let’s address the things you should cut off and replace with better alternatives.
- Stuff your free time with activities: fend off loneliness and be creative
Too much free time does no good to a recovering addict. For most people, too much free time is why they started experimenting with drugs. As a recovering addict, excessive me-times or idle times is something you can do without. Such times can give credence and validity to substance use as an escape from reality.
By filling those free times with social and physical activities, you are not only suppressing the chances of a craving, but you are also developing a better version of yourself.
- Get rid of your stash and cut off contact with your suppliers
Clean up your home, and remove all illegally acquired prescription drugs, all forms of alcoholic beverages you possess, as well as other hard drugs such as opioids, cocaine, and so on. Also, no matter how long you have had things going, maintaining a relationship with your supplier will not be to the best of your interest.
It is time to let go.
- Avoid high-risk situations: places, people, and things that influence substance use
You should avoid anything, anywhere, or anyone that made slipping into addiction a smooth-ride for you. Sure enough, it might not be easy to avoid all these entirely, but making a mental note will keep you from getting caught off-guard when the influences sneak up on you.
- Take care of yourself
Sobriety is not a phase devoid of treats, excitement, and other good things in life. Being sober is not an excuse to be somber or withdrawn from everything. If that becomes the case, then you are putting yourself at risk of a relapse sooner than later.
The sober period is an appropriate time to explore more avenues of fun, enrich your mind, and eat healthily. It might also be a good time to get a pet and relish the benefits of the care you give and the love you get. Importantly, place more focus on your mental and physical growth.
Do not dwell on errors of the past, the shames of probable stigma, regrets, or a fear of relapse. Adopt a positive disposition, and live freely in the warm embrace of a new and clean life.
- Join a support group and accept support from your network
Even if you think you can handle sobriety all by yourself, you should know that there is power in solidarity. “Positive peer support is one of the most powerful tools a person can have in recovery,” says Mat Gorman, CEO of Eudaimonia Recovery Homes. “That support and camaraderie is what keeps us strong and focused, even in the face of challenges.” Being surrounded and supported by people who love you or understand your struggles, will give you the morale needed to journey through sobriety. It is also crucial that you maintain a relationship with positive-thinking family members, friends, or individuals that support a substance-free lifestyle.
- Create sobriety milestones and celebrate the little victories
The first step to being sober is undergoing a medically-supervised drug detox Austin. After weaning your body of its substance dependence, you will still be having an occasional craving for the substance. Alongside these cravings, you might occasionally feel a need to engage in activities that trigger substance use.
Finding solace in any of these cravings would defeat the purpose of the detox you did. However, creating sobriety milestones – whether a 30-day or one-year milestone – will help you deal with these occasions of temptation. Completing them gives you reasons to be happy and celebrate your efforts, as well as boost your morale.
- Do not distance yourself from professional help
Achieving sobriety and staying sober is made easier through post-treatment therapies. If you accessed rehabilitation through fully-licensed and reliable drug rehab, you would most likely be advised to opt for therapies afterward. These therapies can be scheduled once every other week or month. The purpose is to –
- Help you track and remain steady in your progression.
- Offer psychological help in dealing with emotional stress, and the likes.
- Provide a safe space where you can freely pour out your struggles and receive comfort.
- Provide professional counseling most applicable to the problems you might be facing.
- Lend a guiding hand through the travails of sobriety.
- Inform you of new evidence-based strategies for maintaining sobriety.
Being in therapy for a year or two will help you a great deal towards achieving long term sobriety. And when you achieve long term sobriety, the chances of relapsing is then limited significantly.
Addiction is a dark place to be. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us today, let us help you into the light of sobriety. A light that we will never allow to dim.