Recovery can be hard, but these tips on how to stay sober from drugs and alcohol can be the beginning of your journey
For many recovering addicts, completing inpatient treatment or a medical detox is a bittersweet moment. While they can once again return to their everyday life sober, they also face challenges in their recovery from drugs or alcohol. Knowing how to stay sober from drugs outside of an inpatient treatment center isn’t something that comes naturally for recovering addicts, but it is something that can be learned! Educating themselves on the simple steps that can improve their knowledge on how to stay clean and reminders on reasons to stay sober can help to build on the healthy coping mechanisms learned in inpatient rehab.
How to Stay Sober from Drugs, Tip #1: Explore and Enroll in After-Care Treatment Options
After graduating from inpatient treatment, almost all rehab centers offer outpatient treatment programs which are an extremely helpful resource for those who have completed a rehabilitation program and wish to continue and strengthen their active recovery process. These are some of the best places to learn how to stay sober from drugs because outpatient treatment options are geared towards recovering addicts who are returning to their everyday responsibilities and are subsequently scheduled to accommodate to work and school schedules, typically meeting two or three times a week. Oftentimes styled as meetings of recovering addicts and guided by an addiction counselor, the sessions are focused on creating an atmosphere of group therapy and emotional while expanding and solidifying coping mechanisms. You can also augment or eventually replace outpatient treatment with Twelve Step or Big Book meetings that remain anonymous and create another layer of supportive, sober thinking in an addict’s life. The most important aspect of these regular meetings is their creation of a routine that highlights the importance and benefits of sobriety.
Another important step of aftercare is finding a counselor or therapist you trust, creating a regular schedule for appointments with them, and keeping up with appointments. Family, friends, and your newfound support network of recovering addicts are all important parts of your recovery, but having a counselor to be one hundred percent open and honest with will help you work through questions you may have or any moments of weakness you may face.
How to Stay Sober from Drugs, Tip #2: Avoid Boredom
Outpatient treatment and other meetings can fill some of the spare time that addicts so often find themselves with after leaving inpatient treatment, but there is more to life than meetings. With so much free time, there can be a risk of stagnation and rumination on old habits, which can lead to potential relapse. Instead, adding a new hobby or picking up an old pastime can help to fill time and ward of boredom while, more importantly, creating a source of joy unrelated to drugs. Investing your time in learning how to write, create art, make furniture, or even picking up an instrument can help promote healthy habits and reduce cravings. In fact, even investing more time in work or spending time with family can help.
How to Stay Sober from Drugs, Tip #3: Rehabilitate Your Body
Whether your drug of choice was heroin or cocaine, taking care of your physical health was likely low on your priority list at the height of your addiction. Treat your body to extra care during the months following your initial recovery and learn to make a habit of it going forward. Improving your diet and slowly adding more exercise into your regular schedule has been proven to vastly improve mood and even general mental health. Replace drugs with a runner’s high that you can be proud of achieving. Of course, adhering to your doctor’s advice and restrictions at this point is very important. Pushing yourself too far, too soon will only create more problems, but improving your physical well-being with a physician approved regimen is one of the best things you can do for yourself in your new life of sobriety.
Staying Sober from Drugs, Tip #5: Patience is Key
When learning how to stay sober from alcohol or other drugs, it is important to recognize that recovery is a process. It can be a long process. Having patience with yourself is essential. Beating yourself up over cravings or negative thoughts does no one any good, least so yourself. Retraining your brain to stop thinking of drugs or connecting people and places with drug use can be a long, arduous exercise in self-control. Creating a plan and sticking to your scheduled outpatient treatment, local meetings, and therapy sessions while making time for your hobbies and health practices is the best way to steadily move forward in your recovery. Progress is progress, even if it feels slow. The important thing is to remember your reasons to stay sober and focus on the many benefits that your recovery makes possible.
If you or someone you know is about to leave inpatient treatment or is currently struggling with their recovery process, there are resources available to ease their transition into a sober lifestyle. Call (877) 697-0534 for more information.