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stay sober

How Can I Stay Sober?

Overcoming addiction and getting sober is a long journey and a huge accomplishment. However, just because you’ve reached that point doesn’t always mean it’s smooth sailing. Staying sober can be challenging at times, especially as you transition back into your regular life and schedule.

Maintaining sobriety and preventing relapse takes work and commitment, and a robust support system helps immensely as well. Here, we’ll outline some tips and strategies you can use to help you stay sober and avoid relapse.

Have Someone You Can Call

It’s great to have a support network around you – be it family, friends, or a combination of both. These people will help you avoid negative situations, offer moral support, and keep you accountable. However, it might be helpful to identify a single, trusted person who can be your go-to.

If you find yourself in a moment of weakness or facing some triggers, you know you can call this person immediately and they’ll help you work through it. It’s helpful if you discuss it with the person and give them the appropriate tools to help you.

Avoid Old and Unhealthy Routines and Habits

If you’re committed to staying off your substance of choice but immediately return to old people, places, and things where you used it, this becomes harder. Not only will it become easy to slip back into old habits but memories will come flooding back along with old triggers.

Identify what these things are and make the appropriate changes immediately. Be it avoiding certain places, changing your work schedule, or blocking certain people or groups.

Identify Relapse Warning Signs

A relapse can hit before you even realize it was coming. Preventing relapse is a huge part of maintaining sobriety and recognizing the warning signs can help you stop it. Early signs of relapse may differ a little from person to person, but some common ones include:

  • A return of old thinking patterns that drove the addictive habits
  • Impulsive and irrational behaviour
  • A return of withdrawal symptoms
  • Returning to places and people that triggered the addiction, or wanting to
  • Feeling that using the substance is the only way to fix a certain predicament or emotion

Identifying these things as they arise can help you combat them and make healthier choices. It’s also important to remember that a single slip-up isn’t going to ruin everything, so don’t let it de-rail the work you’ve done.

Know Your Triggers

Similar to recognizing the signs of relapse, knowing your personal triggers can help you get ahead of potential episodes and relapses. Specific triggers will look different for everybody, and identifying yours is something that can be done in therapy if you’re unsure.

Once you know what they are, though, you can make a plan for avoiding and/or dealing with them.

Common triggers can include things like:

  • Emotional distress
  • Environmental elements
  • People who are still using or who encouraged you to
  • Relationship problems
  • Financial struggles
  • Too much stress

know your triggers

Practice Self-Care

Self-care looks different for everyone, but it’s a crucial part of overcoming addiction and treating yourself well again. Self-care can range from simple practices of reading or walking, to working out or making your favourite food.

A common form of self-care that is often used in therapy itself is meditation. Meditation helps you relax, de-stress, and practice mindfulness.

Specific examples of self-care can also include things like:

  • Relaxing, solitary walks to decompress
  • A warm shower before bed, perhaps with luxurious pampering products and aromatherapy
  • Repeating positive affirmations
  • Journaling

Practice Healthy Living

Maintaining a healthy overall diet lifestyle can go a long way in staying sober and preventing relapse. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out all your favourite treats and force yourself into activities you don’t like – but finding a balance is good.

Good nutrition not only keeps your body healthy but your mind as well. Likewise, even light to moderate exercise keeps your body functioning well and is shown to increase dopamine levels, reduce stress, and increase energy. It can also help you sleep better at night, and plenty of good-quality sleep is crucial to the healing process.

One great way to do this is to practice yoga. It pairs well with regular meditation and is another practice that is often used in rehab programs such as the one here at Lily Recovery. Yoga is gentle on the body while increasing physical strength and stamina and providing mental clarity.

Outpatient Therapy and Support Groups

Outpatient therapy is a great option for many people who go through an inpatient program but want some continued support. Many locations offer it, from rehab centers to hospitals. These programs are versatile and can be as intensive or as minimal as you need.

They can include weekly or daily therapy sessions, both private and group. It can also include medication if your medical team deems it necessary or helpful.

Outside of this, you can also attend various support groups. AA and NA are common ones and many people benefit from the 12-step programs they recommend. This isn’t the only option though – support groups of all kinds exist locally and they can make all the difference.

Not only will these groups give you additional help, resources, and even therapy, but you’ll build a bigger and stronger network. You’ll meet people at all stages of their journey, some farther along than you and some just beginning. This can inspire you to keep going and you may even be able to help someone else through your own experiences.

support groups

Stay Sober with These Strategies

Getting sober is a wonderful milestone in any recovery journey, but staying sober is just as important. Moving out of a residential rehab program and adjusting to normal life again can be stressful and overwhelming. This can often lead to triggers, relapses, and other issues.

This is why things like a strong aftercare plan and proper preparation are crucial. You must be ready to deal with issues, challenges, and temptations. The tips outlined here are a fantastic place to start. If you have any questions or need some guidance, please don’t hesitate to reach out and we’ll do all we can to help.