Are you on a journey to sobriety? If so, you may currently feel overwhelmed, lonely, and unsure of the path ahead.
Whether your addiction is to alcohol, drugs, or something else, changing your life can be a daunting prospect. Therefore, this article offers some ways that you can find the most support for your recovery.
In this guide, we’ll offer some tips that will help you on your path to staying sober. These tips will assist in guiding you on your path.
In this article, we will cover:
- What staying sober means
- The best tips for staying sober in the long term.
Let’s get started.
What Does Staying Sober Mean?
So, what do we mean exactly when we talk about staying sober?
If someone is said to be sober, it means that they are currently not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
Therefore, maintaining sobriety is closely tied to another important word: abstinence. Abstinence refers to the complete avoidance of consuming a substance or engaging in a certain behavior.
However, staying sober encompasses more than just abstaining from substances. It also involves understanding the factors that lead to addictive behavior, changing existing habits and motivations, and releasing the need to be intoxicated to feel happy.
How To Stay Sober: Tips and Strategies For Sustaining Recovery
Now that we’re clear on what sobriety looks like, let’s go over some actionable tips that will help you to move forward and stay sober:
Identify and avoid triggers
An important step to make in the recovery process is to identify triggers in your life that cause you to consume substances.
By identifying these triggers, you can then avoid them or change how you respond to them. Keeping a journal of occasions you felt triggered is a great way to identify what your triggers are.
Examples of triggers are things such as specific places, specific people, or certain life stressors.
Have a plan
Another great step you can take is to create a clear plan for when you feel triggered to consume drugs or alcohol.
This may involve things such as planning to journal your thoughts or speak to a trusted support person or professional.
Seek support from friends and family
It’s clear that support from others is a huge factor that will assist you in your sobriety goals.
Reach out to family and trusted friends and let them know what your goals are and that you would appreciate their support.
However, be mindful of who you open up to, as it’s important your circle is on board with your goals and aren’t any trigger source themselves. Sobriety may even mean releasing some relationships in your life while building up others.
Attend support group meetings
In addition to finding support from friends and family, it can be a huge help to find support from others who are in the same boat as you.
Locate a support group in your area that you can attend to share your experiences. One of the most well-known support groups is Alcoholic Anonymous, which provide meetings all over the US for recovering alcoholics.
Practice saying “no” to peer pressure
It’s possible that during your recovery you will encounter others that try to pressure you into drinking.
In these cases, it’s important to stand your ground and say no. Use a firm voice and state that you will not change your mind.
Develop healthy coping mechanisms
When trying to manage triggers and avoid drugs or alcohol, it will be helpful to develop healthy coping techniques.
Find ways to manage your emotions that work for you. This may include practices such as meditation, journaling, or finding social support.
Stay active and engaged in hobbies
Simply avoiding consuming substances is difficult, and willpower alone is often not enough.
That’s why it’s important to engage yourself in other activities to provide a distraction.
This is a great time to develop new interests and find new pursuits that you find motivating and fun.
Some examples of activities you could do are running, taking a new course, learning a language, joining a club, or going to museums and art galleries.
Set clear boundaries
Boundaries are the emotional and physical barriers we set that let others know what we are comfortable with.
You must set clear boundaries to others that show your sobriety is important, and that you won’t put yourself in situations where that may be jeopardized.
Mindfulness has been shown to be an effective tool to support and manage alcohol and drug addiction. You can use mindfulness and meditation techniques to manage your emotions when feeling triggered.
So, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on your present state to gain insight into your current emotions and thoughts.
Mindfulness will help to regulate your emotions and reduce the need to act on your feelings in potentially destructive ways.
Avoid high-risk situations
When identifying your triggers, you may come across situations or locations where you are more likely to consume alcohol or drugs.
These are situations you should avoid in your recovery, at least until you are in a stronger place in your sobriety.
Find alternative non-alcoholic beverages
It’s possible that in your journey to sobriety, you feel isolated from social events due to your inability to drink.
In this case, non-alcoholic beverages are a potential alternative option. It’s essential to make sure that the beverages are truly alcohol-free, and that they are not going to function as a trigger to make you want to drink alcohol.
Alternatively, some individuals find eating something sweet can help to curb cravings for alcohol.
However, eating large amounts of sweet treats is detrimental to overall health – so reach for some healthy fruit instead!
Get professional help if needed
In some circumstances, it may be necessary to seek more professional help.
This may especially be the case if you do not have a large support system in terms of friends or family.
Alternatively, you may just need that extra professional assistance to help your journey become successful.
Keep a journal to track progress
Journalling is a tool that can be hugely beneficial in your recovery. It can not only help with managing emotions and triggers but can also serve as a reminder of your progress and how far you have come.
Maintaining sobriety is typically a long and often time challenging process.
That’s why it’s important to remain patient and not give up! Keep your goals realistic, and try to retain a calm and positive attitude on your journey.
Celebrate sober milestones
Lastly, celebrate your milestones! Celebrating each achievement will keep you motivated, and provide you with increasing levels of confidence as time goes on.
Staying sober can be a challenging feat, and it requires commitment and determination.
However, there are many steps you can take to set yourself up for the greatest chance of success.
Some of these that we have looked at include seeking plenty of support, identifying your triggers, and avoiding situations where you know there might be the greatest risk of temptation.
It’s also a great idea to journal to monitor your progress, celebrate those milestones to keep yourself motivated and seek professional help if you need to.
With these tools in your tool belt, staying sober should become a great deal easier and manageable over time.