Taking the initial plunge into achieving sobriety is a major hurdle, but once you have completed treatment, you may be wondering, “now what?” Transitioning back into the world following treatment can be an adjustment. You may not be sure how to interact with others and you may be tempted to act in an introverted manner. Adjusting to life after treatment can be sensitive and you may find yourself faced with obstacles you had not considered before. You are now in control of your life again and must make the best decisions for yourself. Those decisions must consider your sobriety and how best to protect it. Aftercare programs, as well as the following tips, can help you navigate difficult situations and increase your likelihood of maintaining your sobriety after you leave treatment.
How to Get and Stay Sober
- Ask for help: In order for recovery to be successful, you need to be able to open up and reach out to others. Connecting with other sober people who share similar experiences can remove feelings of isolation. Be willing to share your experiences with others, receive support, and give feedback as well. It’s important to communicate your needs with others and to be prepared to reciprocate. Communication is key to healing; it allows us to explore feelings, thoughts, and experiences in a constructive way. It is easy to let yourself become overwhelmed with emotion, but instead, try to reach out for support when you need it.
- Let go of the past: It is impossible to move forward without reconciling the past. Whether you struggle with choices you made in the past or have difficulty forgiving someone else for their actions, it is important to at least come to terms with your feelings. Ignoring guilt, resentment, and pain will only allow it to fester. Instead, find a way to move on from those feelings. You may consider making amends with someone, forgiving yourself, or simply learning to let the past stay in the past in order to move forward.
- Find meaning in other things: Addiction can take away all of the hobbies and interests you used to love to explore. In sobriety, it is important to explore your interests, play with your creativity, and try new things. These activities can boost your mood, reduce feelings of sadness or boredom, and provide a healthy outlet for stress and other emotions. Exploring creative outlets can also keep you from going idle and increasing risk for relapse.
- Avoid risky situations: It can be easy to fall back into old habits. You may be tempted to spend time with people you used to abuse substances with or hang out in places you used to frequent. Do not test your willpower or put yourself in situations where your sobriety may be put in jeopardy. Identify what are triggers for you. These can be people, places, or things. Protecting your sobriety may require you to make changes to your daily habits to avoid pitfalls.
- Stay active: Exercise is a great way to battle depression, stress, and anxiety. It is especially valuable in early recovery as it is a great way to feel better through improved self-image, better sleep, and boosted confidence. The release of endorphins also boosts mood which can be a powerful coping mechanism. Yoga is beneficial to both your physical and emotional well-being.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself: Overcoming addiction and maintaining sobriety is a life-long process. You may feel pressure from yourself or from others to make monumental changes in a short period of time. Do not feel pressure to make massive progress overnight. Recovery is a long-term project. Some days will be easier than others. Sometimes, you may feel as though you make great strides, while on others, you may struggle to even slightly shuffle forward. Recovery is a journey, not a race, and it is important to go at the pace that is right for you.
- Stay connected: Keeping in touch with the sober community can help you stay on the right track. Attending support groups, providing mentorship, or reuniting with others in recovery can help you give and receive support. Staying in touch with the sober community gives you a sense of accountability and a connection to a group of people who readily relate to your experiences, reducing any sense of isolation you may feel.
- Give back: Volunteer work is a great way to stay engaged and feel good about what you are doing. For some, this may be in the form of providing mentorship and guidance to others in recovery. Serving as a sponsor can allow you to stay connected with people who share similar experiences. It is a great opportunity to reflect on your own journey, share your insight with others, and provide support during someone’s time of need. There are other great volunteer opportunities you can engage with if becoming a mentor is not your aspiration. Find something you are passionate about and dive into it. Volunteer work can be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding.
- Reflect: When things become busy and overwhelming, it can be difficult to keep perspective. You may find yourself focusing on downfalls and negative feelings rather than your accomplishments. Taking time to focus your energy inward and look back on your journey is a great way to keep perspective. The road to recovery is not always easy and you may experience obstacles along the way. While there will be bad and good times, it is important to give yourself credit for what you have achieved. Sobriety is not an easy path and it is not a race. Acknowledge your triumphs and remember them when you are feeling doubt.
- Plan for the future: Creating goals and having something you are striving towards can help you focus on the future. Working towards achievements, reaching milestones, and making progress are all ways to help your growth continue. It can be easy to get lost in the struggle of present experiences, but keeping an open mind about the future and remembering what you are working towards can give you the extra push you need to get through troubling times.
- Don’t focus on statistics: There will always be naysayers and statistics that may make you feel as though you are fighting an uphill battle. While some parts of your journey may feel this way, it is important to not let statistics weigh you down. Regardless of what others say about recovery or relapse, you are your own person in charge of your own destiny. You can overcome any odds and own your recovery.
- Learn to relax: Thoughts of the past, the present, and the future can be overwhelming. You may feel insurmountable pressure to perform, to meet other’s expectations, and to always have something to show for what you are doing. Take a moment to let go of that tension and relax. Whether you meditate, do yoga, go for a walk, or read a book, finding something that allows you to disconnect can be incredibly beneficial. Different relaxation methods work for different people. Try different activities to find the ones that suit you best.
If you or someone you know is struggling with sobriety or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 888.855.6877 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.