You have taken the big steps on your road to sobriety. To make things easier, you are going to need the support of friends and family and a plan for managing the urges and stress you might encounter.
1Staying Out of Risky Situation
This can mean having to minimize spending time with someone you used to go somewhere to drink or use drugs. It can involve taking a new way home from work, for example, if the one you have been using has some of your old hangout spots.
2Building a Support Network
Leaning on your family and friends for support is important, even if the relationship is not the way it was before. It is a good idea to go for rehab for couples, counseling or family therapy to deal with any personal issues that you might be having.
Try having a sober friend with you when you go to social events like weddings and parties. If you start feeling uncomfortable or anxious, talk to your sponsor. This is why it is important to stay in touch with them.
3Finding a Peer Support Group
Organizations such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous are going to provide you with a support network. Try out different meetings for the different groups until you find one you think is the best for you.
4Connecting To Care
Some smartphone apps can help in connecting with other people dealing with the same challenging you have. They provide support and guidance, and some can provide immediate help from a group meeting on your network.
5Managing Your Urges
Urges tend to last for 15-30 minutes, but it can be challenging to fight them. You can use a substitute such as chewing gum or a personal mantra: “I am strong and this is going to pass.”
Another good way of distracting yourself is by staying busy. Keeping a journal has been helpful for many people. Note down things that make you happy and what you are grateful for, then read them when things get tough.
6Finding an Activity That Means Something
This can be something like exercise – when you exercise, the brain releases endorphins, which are chemicals that make you feel good. You can choose to volunteer for a good cause, such as a children’s hospital or animal shelter. When you take part in such activities, you are going to meet new friends who share the same interests as you.
7Learning to Manage Stress
There are some points in your recovery journey where you are going to feel stressed out, whether it is minor stress (running late for an errand or appointment) or major stress (losing your job). If you find yourself in such a situation, find a loved one or sober friend you can talk to. Always make sure you have set aside some time you can use for attending group meetings and other things that can help you in managing your stress.
It is important to keep your body healthy because it has a big impact on your mental health. A healthy mind is good for your recovery. Make sure you eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
8Learning to Relax
The human body will do what is familiar when it is tense. Being relaxed helps you be more open to new things. There are many strategies, and some work for some people more than others. Choose one that works for you and do it. Some of them include;
- A massage
- A nature walk
- A bath
- Breathing exercises
9Managing Physical Pain
If you recently had an injury or surgery, the doctor is going to be very careful when prescribing pain medications because some of the drugs can result in a relapse. Make sure you talk to your doctor so they can help you with nonmedical pain management approaches, like acupuncture or massage.
10Preparing Your Story
There are times when people will ask you why you are sober. You need to have a response ready. The obvious choice is avoiding the conversation, but you should have a response when this is not possible. If it is someone you know well, you can just tell them that alcohol or drugs became a problem for you, and you are staying away from them. If it is someone you don’t know that well, you can just tell them you quit for health reasons or you have to wake up early tomorrow.
11Being the Designated Driver
This is going to give you an excuse for not drinking. You will also have a sense of purpose, which is going to help you stay on course.
12Trying a Mocktail
You are going to feel more comfortable holding a drink on your hand in social situations, and people are not going to ask questions. A mocktail is a good option because it looks like a cocktail without any alcohol. It will be hard for most people to tell that there is no alcohol in your drink.