Have you watched a loved one use addiction treatment like a revolving door? Or maybe you’ve been to more rehabs, detox centers, and sober living facilities than you can count. Yet, each time you find yourself drunk or high and asking how it happened again. Getting sober is one thing; staying sober is another, much harder thing.
Maintaining sobriety is an ongoing process that requires dedication, self-awareness, and a solid support network. By incorporating coping skills, building a strong support system, and recognizing relapse warning signs, you can remain sober and lead a fulfilling, substance-free life. Whether you’re struggling with drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or any other substance use disorder, you can use these steps to help get sober and stay sober.
Why Is Sobriety Important?
We often think sobriety is just about quitting drinking or using drugs, but it’s much more than that, it’s a complete lifestyle change. Sobriety is important because it opens doors to a life of freedom, personal growth, improved health, and meaningful connections. It provides individuals with the opportunity to discover their true potential and embrace a fulfilling and purposeful existence. Sobriety empowers individuals to live life on their own terms, free from the constraints and limitations that addiction imposes.
How To Stay Sober
Develop Healthy Coping Skills
A coping mechanism is a strategy or behavior that we employ to manage and navigate challenging, stressful, or painful situations. It is a way of adapting to and reducing the impact of psychological stress, overwhelming circumstances, or emotional turmoil. Coping mechanisms can be both conscious and unconscious, and they can be healthy or unhealthy.
Doing drugs or drinking alcohol is a coping mechanism. Most people with substance abuse issues use substances to reduce or manage distress. In truth, substances are very effective ways to alleviate stress and quell emotional turmoil, but they are unsustainable and dangerous. However, coping mechanisms are necessary for managing stress and maintaining emotional well-being. In this way, developing healthy coping skills to replace substance abuse and other unhealthy coping mechanisms is crucial when it comes to staying sober and maintaining long-term recovery.
Engaging in regular physical exercise, such as walking or yoga, helps to reduce tension and release endorphins. Mindfulness and meditation techniques promote self-awareness and relaxation, fostering a sense of calm amidst life’s challenges. Seeking support from loved ones or joining support groups provides a sense of belonging and understanding. Engaging in creative outlets, like writing, painting, or playing an instrument, allows for self-expression and emotional release.
Sobriety can be challenging, and having effective coping mechanisms in place is essential for navigating life’s ups and downs without resorting to substances.
Addiction treatment provides the foundation for sobriety by addressing the root causes of substance abuse. It equips individuals with valuable coping skills to navigate the challenges of everyday life without turning to drugs or alcohol. Take advantage of the resources and therapeutic techniques provided by addiction treatment programs to develop healthy coping mechanisms.
Identify Personal Triggers
Identifying personal triggers plays a crucial role in the recovery process. Recognizing the people, places, and circumstances that drive a person to use substances will empower individuals to understand the specific circumstances, emotions, or experiences that may lead to cravings or relapse. By identifying these potential triggers, individuals gain self-awareness and can develop strategies to avoid or effectively manage them.
Avoiding triggers is important because it minimizes exposure to situations or stimuli that may lead to a relapse. This may involve making changes to one’s social circle, avoiding certain places associated with substance use, or setting boundaries with individuals who may be unconsciously enabling addictive behavior. By identifying and avoiding triggers, individuals in recovery can protect their progress and focus on healthier coping mechanisms and positive habits. It allows them to prioritize self-care, build a strong support network, and develop strategies to navigate challenges without resorting to substances. Ultimately, avoiding triggers provides individuals with a greater sense of control and empowers them to prevent relapse and maintain their commitment to sobriety.
Find a Support System and a Group of Like-Minded Peers.
Surrounding yourself with a supportive and understanding network is crucial for staying sober.
Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), play a significant role in fostering a sense of community and providing ongoing support. These mutual support groups offer a platform for individuals to connect with others who have faced similar struggles and have successfully maintained their sobriety. Through regular meetings, sharing personal stories, and offering mutual support, support groups create a supportive environment where individuals can find encouragement, accountability, and a sense of belonging.
Family members and loved ones provide invaluable assistance and encouragement throughout the journey to achieve sobriety. Their understanding, love, and unwavering support can make a significant difference in an individual’s ability to stay sober. By educating themselves about addiction and attending family therapy or support groups, family members can better understand the challenges their loved ones face and learn effective ways to provide support and encouragement. Their presence and involvement in the recovery journey can be a powerful motivator for individuals to stay committed to their sobriety goals.
When we’re young, friends are everything. The problem is, that many (or all) of our relationships when we first get sober are centered around or focused on drinking and using. It can be hard to form healthy, two-way relationships with other human beings when we get sober.
Having a recovery community of peers who are all walking the same path can make or break early recovery. Surround yourself with sober friends that you actually want to hang out with and live the same lifestyle as you. There is strength in numbers, and addiction can be a disease of isolation. The more support and love we have around us, the better our chances of staying sober. And it makes things a lot more fun.
Let Go of the 30-Day Mentality
If you want your recovery to last longer than the 30 days you spend inside of rehab, it’s important to admit that 30 days in a treatment center won’t fix you. While insurance companies might not like the idea that alcoholism and addiction can’t be cured in a month, it’s the truth. In fact, studies suggest that up to 60% of people in recovery relapse within 30 days of leaving rehab.
Long-term treatment is dramatically more effective than short-term. Sobriety success rates climb as an individual spends more time under professional care. This is something that addiction treatment specialists in the behavioral health industry have understood for a long time, but only recently has there been research to back up these observations.
In truth, 90-day treatment practices aren’t a whole lot better. Truly effective treatment takes long-term care, especially for young people. The bottom line is that recovery requires consistent effort. Treatment can be a fantastic start, but if it isn’t followed up with behavioral and lifestyle changes, it won’t ever be effective. Real recovery isn’t a quick fix. It’s an overhaul that has to be maintained and cultivated with consistent action.
Continuing Recovery After Rehab
When someone completes an inpatient program, deciding what to do after rehab can make a huge difference when it comes to maintaining sobriety. Achieving abstinence in a residential treatment facility with little to no risk is merely the beginning. As mentioned above, rehab is a great start, however, the real challenge begins once an individual is out in the world and exposed to real-life triggers, stress, and temptations. Applying what is learned throughout treatment and sticking to a routine is vital for long-term sobriety. This may look like continuing to attend meetings, staying involved with a sober community, pursuing goals, and continuing to build upon the foundation established in treatment.
Prioritize Mental Health
Addiction recovery encompasses more than just substance abuse. Oftentimes, mental health conditions play a significant role in the formation and overall progression of substance use disorders. Once a new way of life has begun in sobriety, it can be easy to neglect mental health. Time sober does not guarantee peace of mind. Prioritizing mental health is essential in order to maintain sobriety. Finding effective ways to manage stress and self-regulate will only contribute to the positive aspects of life in recovery.
Focusing on mental health doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as scheduling downtime, setting achievable goals, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and maintaining a routine. On a social level, it can be beneficial to spend time with friends and family, make new friends, and foster healthy relationships. On a personal level, reaching out to a healthcare provider when mental health symptoms pop up can be a great way to stave off depression and combat anxiety.
Seek Professional Drug Addiction Treatment
Seeking addiction treatment is vital for those who are striving to stay sober and maintain lasting sobriety. As discussed above, long-term sobriety requires long-term treatment practices. It can provide the necessary tools, resources, and professional guidance to address the underlying causes of addiction and develop effective coping strategies.
If you or a loved one have tried detox facilities, 30-day rehab, 90-day rehab, or other types of addiction treatment, it may be time to learn more about sober living. Sober living facilities serve as a bridge between the structured environment of a treatment center and the real-world challenges of independent living. Sober living facilities provide a supportive and substance-free living environment where individuals in recovery can continue their journey while receiving ongoing support and accountability.
New Life House is a sober living facility in Los Angeles that provides a safe and supportive sober community where residents share the same goal. At New Life House, we understand the challenges of maintaining sobriety. Through structure, routine, and mutual accountability, we help residents get sober and stay sober.
Last Updated on February 22, 2024