How to Stay Sober

Posted on: November 22, 2019 by in Alcoholism Treatment
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You've already worked hard to become sober, but now you will need to work to stay sober. Here are 10 tips to help you stay sober.

  1. Find support. You can join a peer support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. You can also turn to close friends or family for support. You can also consider going to family counseling to help mend damaged relationships to build a better support system while also making amends.
  2. Don't put yourself in dangerous situations. Don't put yourself in a situation where you will be tempted to abuse substances. This might mean that you don't go to places where you used to drink or that you don't spend time with people you used to abuse substances with. You might even need to find new routes so that you don't drive by the places you used to frequent.
  3. Manage urges. There are several ways to distract yourself from your urges to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as staying busy, journaling, practicing gratitude, chewing gum, finding a personal mantra, and more. Remember: no matter how difficult they are to fight off, most urges only last 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Find a new activity. Take some time to find a new activity that will mean something to you. This could be exercising, which will release endorphins to make you feel good while also giving you goals to work towards. Or you could consider doing volunteer work or some other activity that will help to give your life without substance abuse meaning.
  5. Manage stress. We all feel stressed from time to time. When you go through a stressful time, it's important to find someone to talk to for support. Also, take time to keep your body healthy which will further help you to manage stress when it arises in your life.
  6. Relax. Relaxing will help you in your endeavors to stay sober. Rather than reaching for old, unhealthy habits to cope with difficulties, aim to practice relaxation techniques. You could try yoga, reading, meditating, listening to calming music, walking, or anything else you find relaxing. Different things work for different people, so try a few until you find something you like.
  7. Learn how to say no.  You might need to practice saying no to unhealthy situations. Before the need to say no ever arises, prepare your answer. You could say that drugs and alcohol or certain situations are a problem for you, so you need to stay away from them. If you're uncomfortable sharing your personal story, you could practice giving another excuse such as you simply quit for health reasons or that you have to get up early the next morning. Trust that people will respect your answer.
  8. Leave. If you find yourself in a situation where drugs and alcohol are present and you feel tempted, leave. No situation is worth tempting your sobriety. If you did not drive, call someone from your support system for a ride.
  9. Identify and avoid your personal triggers. As you've worked to become sober you've likely identified your personal triggers to abuse substances. If you haven't already identified your triggers, take some time to think about when you feel most like to abuse substances. Once you've identified your triggers you can take steps to avoid them. For example, if you are tempted to drink in certain places, avoid those places.
  10. Keep learning. Addiction recovery takes time, but it is possible to live a happy and fulfilled life sober. The more you know about your addiction, recovery, and staying sober techniques, the more power you will have over your addiction.

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