22 Feb A Practical Guide for Moving Forward and Staying Sober
As a former addict and abuse survivor, helping others overcome addiction through professional family intervention is one of the many ways I move forward and stay sober. But what works for me may not work for everyone. Over the years, I’ve worked with countless people struggling with dependency issues, so I know first-hand the unique needs each individual person requires to successfully overcome their struggle with alcohol and drug abuse and/or sex addiction. If you’re on the road to recovery, try practicing the following methods for living a healthy, sober life.
Don’t Rush the Process
Recovery takes time and for many, success doesn’t happen overnight. Staying sober is difficult, even for people who’ve been clean for years. If you’re trying to wean yourself off of drugs or alcohol, you could experience awful withdrawal symptoms complete with horrible physical and emotional pain. And, yes. You may even relapse. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure and you should never beat yourself up over it. Overcoming addiction requires a great level of mental and physical strength, so handling the process day to day is usually what’s best. By rushing recovery, you’re not helping anyone, especially not yourself.
Surround Yourself with a Healthy Support System
A common problem when attempting to stay sober is negative influence by friends or family who are drinking alcohol or using drugs. It’s a natural response for an addict to think we have the strength in limiting ourselves to “just one drink” or “just one hit,” only to find ourselves on a downward spiral back to an unhealthy addiction pattern. Sound familiar? Instead of spending time with those who may negatively impact your sobriety, surround yourself with a healthy (and sober!) support system. There are numerous addiction recovery support groups available that offer helpful connections. Sometimes, knowing other people are there to listen and inspire without judgement just feels good.
Facing your fears and talking to someone about your struggles can be tough. Oftentimes, half the battle is just making the appointment! Handling addiction issues by yourself is a huge challenge, and the process will likely be ongoing throughout your entire life. By working with a therapist, they’ll help to identify contributing factors related to the problem and provide you with behavioural and coping tools you need to be successful in your lifelong recovery.
Find a Hobby
Keeping yourself busy through positive activities is a great way to stay sober. Introducing a fulfilling and satisfying hobby into your daily routine can help distract you from bad habits harmful to your sobriety. Think about what it is that used to make you happy? Was it writing? Painting? Running? Reading? Maybe you haven’t found what motivates you yet, and that’s okay. Everyone is different. What’s important is finding an activity that works for you and provides you with joy.
Once you’re confident in your sober lifestyle, a great way to keep yourself in a positive place is to help others who are currently struggling with addiction. Hearing other people’s stories and knowing there are others out there who relate to what you’re going through can be inspiring and motivating. When you’re ready, consider learning the ways you can volunteer your time. You never know how your own story can help another.
Successful sobriety is a lifelong process but I can say with confidence the pay-off is rewarding. By giving it time, a sober lifestyle could drastically improve your relationships, while also encouraging positivity in your own life as well. Achieving fulfillment doesn’t have to be hard, as long as you take the steps necessary to overcome the battle. Just remember, you control your addiction, it doesn’t control you. And, if you’re reading this, I believe in you.