The recovery process doesn’t end after rehab. Sobriety is a life-long journey instead of a destination, but that should never discourage you from trying to live a happy and clean life. Addiction is an extremely complicated disease, and to begin life after it again is a process that varies with each recovering individual, but everyone has the same goal in mind: to live the rest of their lives sober.
These are seven tips for staying sober that will always keep you right on track.
1. Strategize a plan of action to take after you leave the rehabilitation program
Having a daily routine every day will give your everyday life structure, as well as encourage you to accomplish tasks, take care of your hygiene, and organize both life and your mind. In addition to a daily routine, make a detailed plan of action on how to handle yourself during sobriety. This plan will act as a guide to fall back on when you feel lost, remember a healthy coping mechanism, or need to be reminded as to why you chose to be sober in the first place.
2. Rely on your support system when you need them
Turn to those you trust, whether that be friends and family, a support group, or any other positive individual or group of people - having a reliable support system will continuously keep you on your feet when things or emotions get overwhelming. It’s completely fine to seek the validation and comfort others, because it’s tough handling ourselves alone. Remember: the individuals in your support system will always care about your well-being and would always be more than happy to help you handle emotions and thoughts.
3. Remove or avoid any trigger that reminds you of the past or tempts you
Triggers can be objects, places, and even people. Take the time to remove each toxic entity from your life because if they only did you harm in the past; they will continue to hurt you today. Eventually you will come to realize that these triggers have always done you wrong and are better left in the past. You have more important and better things to focus on in your life.
4. Keep up with therapy and psychiatry appointments
Your therapist and psychiatrist are there to help you, not judge you. A therapist provides solace by allowing you to express feelings and thoughts without judgement in a safe environment. In return, they offer advice that combats any current issue you may be having. A psychiatrist, on the other hand, assists you with finding the medication that works best for your needs and also gives you an extra push to live your day to day life.
5. Give group meetings a try
Group meetings can be pretty powerful things once you find the right one that makes you feel comfortable and acknowledged. It may seem pretty intimidating or unnecessary to speak with multiple people who share your experiences, but the process can be healing if you allow it to be. Individuals who attend groups have the same goal as you: stay sober and live life to the fullest. It’s a mutual gathering of people who want the best for themselves and others. You may walk away from a meeting learning or hearing something profound you didn’t know you needed until it was said.
6. Dedicate free time to old hobbies or make the effort to find new ones
What activity gets you excited or interested? In the past, it was easy to neglect old hobbies in exchange for substances. But being sober allows you to retake the things you left behind and engage in new activities that contribute to your happiness and fulfillment. There are so many healthy things to choose from! For example, getting into exercise encourages overall cardiovascular health and fitness, giving your dopamine a natural and healthy high. If you're a people-person, volunteering to aide certain causes can bring immense satisfaction to your soul and reminds you that you always have the ability to impact society in a positive way.
7. Practice self-awareness and compassion daily
You will always know yourself better than anyone else. Therefore, you can tell when you’re pushing your limits, near a trigger, or need to take a break and recharge. In addition, the self-talk you have with yourself is so vital to keeping your mental state healthy and connected to reality. Instead of harboring hatred or self-blame for the past, speak to yourself with compassion and understanding, because the past is the past and you can never change it. The only thing you can change now is yourself and the future. Allow yourself to take things slowly, make mistakes sometimes, and keep moving forward no matter how difficult things may seem. This life is what you make it, and you deserve to have a great one.
About the Author:
Trevor McDonald is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who has been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.