ARTICLE SUMMARY: The secret to maintaining sobriety is to ask for help when you need it.
ESTIMATED READING TIME: 5 minutes
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- New to Recovery
- What Makes it So Hard
- The Secret to Sobriety
- Top 5 Things to Avoid
- 2 More Tips
- Your Questions
New to Recovery
So, maybe you’re new to recovery. Perhaps you’ve just finished withdrawal and have achieved momentary sobriety. You may be feeling great! Or, you may feel daunted by the road ahead.
Your next question just might be: ‘How do I maintain long term sobriety?’
The truth is that there is no easy answer to this question. We all live different sober lives. But if you’re new to recovery…there is no real difference between you and me except time. I’ve left a treatment facility before. I know that the challenges of the outside world can be full of triggers:
- Dysfunctional family relationships
- Your living and working environment
- The old circle of friends
These are all potential hot spots.
But if you want to continue living a healthy and drug-free life, you’ll need to address the obstacles that lead you into addiction in the first place. Continue reading to learn the secret of maintaining your sobriety. I welcome your questions on this subject in the comments section at the end.
What Makes Sobriety So Hard?
There are many factors that make long-term sobriety challenging. Life is hard. People suffer. And our society can seem uncaring and punitive. But there are some things that we can change directly. These can include:
1. A limiting and limited belief system.
In most cases, we enter treatment with a range of negative emotions such as: guilt, shame, anger, despair, depressive thoughts, and skepticism. When many people finish detox and recovery, they feel encouraged, but only for a short while. The old thoughts and patterns can slip right back in.
Many of us fear leaving a treatment facility because our belief systems are still limited and are highly influenced by others. In fact, old surroundings and the people that are present there might drag us back to old habits.
2. The lack of a support system.
The right kind of family and friends play a critical role in motivating healthy recovery. Emotional support during and after addiction recovery can strengthen and extend treatment benefits. But sometimes our family of origin is just not right for us. Or, some of us do not have a home and people to return to.
If you don’t have the right kind of support, it might be more difficult to continue living sober. The first 12-18 months are especially critical due to the emotional sensitivity after dealing with an addiction issue.
3. The inability to set boundaries.
I had really poor boundaries when I started rehab. But slowly by slowly I began to understand – and believe in – my own value. This does not come easily. It is not given to you. You build self-esteem actively during and after treatment.
So, the inability to refuse and say NO to old habits, relationships, and behaviors can trigger relapse. A lack of self-esteem and self-love can drive a person into relapse. So, no boundaries are another way that can trigger you to go back to your old way of living with alcohol or drugs.
The Secret Of Maintaining Your Sobriety
So, just what is the secret to long-term wellness?
The secret of maintaining your sobriety is to ask for help. But you also need to be humble enough to continue seeking life’s purpose. Sobriety is truly a lifelong commitment to growing up. This is why the following resources might come in handy:
- Anger management
- Family therapy
- Ongoing psychotherapy
KNOW THIS: Addiction recovery is not a short term sprint. On the contrary, it is a marathon, a lifelong journey. Finishing a detox program and/or an addiction treatment program marks the beginning of this journey.
Making it this far shows your readiness, determination, and desire for a new life. So, in a way, you’ve already made it! You’ve passed the hardest test! Don’t ever look back! Don’t throw that effort away!
After leaving a detox or rehab center, you need to work on restructuring your belief system. Whenever you have a flow of negative thoughts coming to your head just remember of all the achievements you’ve made and how far you’ve come. You’ve won the hardest battle, therefore CONTINUE CHOOSING A LIFE WITHOUT DRUGS!
Top 5 Things to Avoid
1. Avoid thinking of sobriety as a short term goal. Instead, try making it a part of a long-term view, look for ways to incorporate it in your new healthy life.
2. Avoid spending time with anyone still using drugs. Instead, look for new friends that have healthier habits.
3. Avoid negative thoughts and beliefs about the future. Focus on the present, think about HERE AND NOW!
4. Avoid making unrealistic plans and goals. Know your limits and take one step at a time.
5. Avoid isolation. Instead, find new activities and hobbies such as sport, or volunteering and don’t forget about social interaction with new people.
Extra Tips To Maintaining Your Sobriety
Helpful reminders or something to keep in mind regarding maintaining your sobriety:
TIP# 1: “When you feel like quitting, always remind yourself about the reasons you started”. This is a very good thought to begin with. Remembering the accomplishments can help you celebrate the distance you’ve traveled. You’ve had the courage and strength to stop using drugs or drinking alcohol. Then, you entered a treatment program and went through detox and withdrawal. Now, finally you are drug free and you are able to take the control of your life back in your hands. DO NOT miss the opportunity to be happy and sober for good.
TIP# 2: “When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change”. Keep this motivational quote from Paulo Coelho in mind whenever you look back on your addiction experience. Learn to look at your addiction as a life challenge, a lesson that made you a stronger person with a higher level of awareness. Appreciate your new chance to rebuild your life again and DO NOT FORGET that you are staying sober for YOURSELF.
If you still have questions about how to maintaining your sobriety, please feel free to post your questions in the comments section below. Or share a personal opinion or some part of your story. I love hearing from our readers! And I want to know what you think. We try to provide a personal and prompt response to all real-life questions.