For many people, staying sober is harder than beating drug and alcohol addiction in the first place. Enjoying your sobriety is essential to staying sober. The great news is that anyone can choose to enjoy their sobriety, and make it a safe, fun experience. When you choose to enjoy your sobriety, a new world of possibilities, free from the cloud of addiction to drugs and alcohol, emerges. A determining factor in your success after rehab is absolutely discipline, but also, how well you use your resources, including yourself. Keeping yourself on-track while recovering from drug and alcohol addiction can be difficult, but is always easier when you commit to bettering yourself. There are many ways to take responsibility for yourself and your processes, and they start with something as simple as the way you think, and where you go.
Mindfulness is a great and easy way to help yourself remain sober. Many wellness experts, particularly those who regularly practice yoga, constantly emphasize the importance of being mindful of your body, and of your surroundings. Some even believe that a lack of mindfulness is one of the causes of addiction – wanting to disconnect from the body as a means of avoiding pain is a classic explanation with a new consideration when you’re practicing greater self-awareness. You know how you feel when you’re hungry, or when you’re stressed. Having greater self-awareness can be as simple as asking yourself what the best solution is for you, and how to resolve it. When drug cravings set in, face them – avoid doing things that are unhealthy, like eating instead, bottling the feeling, or going back to drugs and alcohol. Instead, try reminding yourself that you’re still healing. Try going for a walk, and drinking water. If the cravings are overwhelming, call your therapist, or a close friend.
A trigger is something that causes cravings for drugs and alcohol. There is nothing that a trigger cannot officially be, but they are often places or situations. Environments that contain the drugs and alcohol that a recovering person was using before is often a strong trigger. Sometimes, a trigger can be a place where a person was using frequently, or hung out while they were using drugs and alcohol. It is possible for relationships to be triggers, as well – codependent couples who were hooked on drugs together are very likely to relapse, and lose their hard-earned progress. Another common trigger is stress, something that drove many recovering people into the throes of addiction in the first place. Carefully avoiding triggers that may cause you to turn back to drugs and alcohol is an important exercise in mindfulness, particularly when you’re paying attention to your surroundings. If you realize that you are in a place, physically or mentally, that makes using drugs or alcohol tempting, leave the place. If you need to wait for a ride, call a family member or friend to talk. Leaning on friends and family during trying times is a good way to start your journey to lifelong sobriety.
Maintain a Schedule
Part of the way that drug and alcohol rehabilitation works is cycling you out of the habit of using drugs and alcohol. When you enter rehab, you’ve probably spent more than your fair share of time seeking a drug. Seeking a drug to use is a habit, and ending bad habits is what rehab is all about. After leaving an in-patient program, a sober living house might be a good option. In a facility like this, it’s easier to stay on a healthy schedule, and surrounded by positive people moving toward a common goal of lasting sobriety. When you’re ready to live away from this community, keeping your schedule is immensely beneficial. While you’ll have all of the freedom that you once had, it is better to continue the habits that have served you well since completing treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol. Getting up earlier in the morning, making sure that you spend time exercising, choosing wholesome and healthy food, and paying attention to your stress levels are all important in managing yourself, and keeping yourself away from the pull of drugs and alcohol.
Stress is a particularly important thing to mind when you’re recovering from drug and alcohol addiction: many people become addicted because of unmanaged stress. While it’s understandable that you look for the best relief you know, you’ll also have another opportunity to be mindful of yourself, and your surroundings, and that could stop you from taking a step back.
Visit with Sober Friends
Staying in contact with friends and counselors that you met in rehab is a great coping mechanism. This is a group of people who is intimately familiar with you, your struggles, and your success in completing rehab. While they may not be available to you every second of every day, keeping this group of people in your life is an excellent support system, and noone successfully stays sober alone. You may still have the friends and family that you had before, but your friends from rehab, and sober living, if you have them, are indispensable. Consider leaning on them when you’re experiencing cravings. Your in-person social network is still your second line of defence against relapse.
Make New Sober Friends
What your in-person social network may lack are more people with your story of recovery from addiction, and it’s natural to want friends with whom you’ve had deep experiences, or friends that share your mission to stay clean and sober. This is where meetup apps, whether they’re platonic, or romantic, can be very helpful. In every major city, there are several sober groups, and finding one is never difficult with the assistance of social media. And in case you were concerned, you will find sober friends that enjoy fun things like bowling, laser tag, yoga, food, and much more – you simply need to go looking for others who’ve chosen to enjoy sobriety.
Content for Scottsdale Recovery Center and Arizona Addiction Recovery Centers created by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment, technology and advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 866.893.6816.