Did you know that almost 1 in 10 US adults have recovered from a substance abuse problem?
That’s 22.3 million Americans. Each case is another light of hope showing that recovery is possible and there is life after addiction.
But, by no means is recovery an easy journey. If you’ve just left a Florida alcohol detox center or a residence for drug recovery, you’ve conquered one step on your path, but you’re about to encounter another: staying sober.
To help you keep moving forward, we’ve put together our top tips on how to stay sober after leaving rehab, straight from our experts to you.
What Is Sobriety to You?
Sober living can mean different things to different people.
Some people define sobriety as the complete and total abstinence of a substance, like alcohol. You’ll never touch a drop again as long as you live. This is the definition used by many programs, but that doesn’t always mean it’s right for you.
Others may define sober living as the process of addiction recovery. Being sober means developing coping mechanisms to avoid using substances that are an issue for you and knowing that setbacks can happen. While complete abstinence might be the long-term goal, the reality is more fluid and allows for relapses on the road to recovery.
But, no matter which definition you choose, the goal is the same: to stay sober for as long as possible and avoid relapse. It’s a hard challenge and one that requires a lot of willpower, but luckily there are plenty of tools and plans that can help you. Let’s start delving into some that our team finds work the best.
Abstinence and Meetings
Some people can follow a simple formula to stay away from substances. This is the plan of staying away from drugs and alcohol and going to regular meetings (or therapy, if that’s your preferred coping mechanism). It’s a very straightforward plan, but if it works for you, then that’s fantastic!
Unfortunately for most people, it’s a bit too simple. If you’re in recovery, you’ll likely need a range of strategies to help you cope with and stick to your sober life, preventing relapse.
Identify Triggers That Affect You
Part of your Florida drug detox or alcohol rehab program should identify triggers. By triggers, we mean anything that creates cravings around substances and makes you more prone to relapse. This can be something entirely personal to you or a trigger that’s more common across recovery, such as:
- Being around others using drugs or alcohol
- Relationship problems
- Financial issues
- Emotional distress
Once you identify your triggers, you can start to manage them. This can include avoiding certain situations, like being in a bar or around people with whom you have a rocky relationship, and creating methods to cope with them. Do this successfully, and those places, people, and situations that once caused you to relapse won’t hold power over you anymore.
Recognize the Warning Signs
Relapses aren’t always sudden. The warning signs can sneak up on you, pushing you down the path towards using or drinking again before you even know it’s happening. Luckily there are ways you can spot the signs early and take measures to prevent them.
There are usually three phases involved when someone relapses. These include emotional relapse, mental relapse, and then physical relapse. Each stage can prevent warning signs to watch out for, such as:
- Engaging if self-destructing or compulsive behaviors
- Seeking out situations that put you at risk of relapse
- The return of addictive thinking
- Not thinking rationally or behaving responsibly
Know your warning signs, and seek help when they arise.
Leave Old Habits in the Past
We always teach at our Florida drug rehab to avoid the routines you used to follow when you were under the influence. The habits you had and the life you lived need to change to help your recovery, and by not changing, you can quickly slip into old ways and relapse.
Avoid hanging around the same people, frequenting the same places, and living in the same way. Some of these changes will be obvious, like not socializing with people drinking or using drugs or hanging around in bars. Others might not come so naturally, like changing your bus route to work to avoid trigger places, or not eating certain foods that you always had with alcohol.
Any old routines that you associate with triggers or substance abuse need to go. Think of this as a chance to start fresh and new, creating a whole new set of routines that will lead to a more positive and happy life.
Focus on Nurturing Healthy Relationships
Not all relationships are good. Once you’re sober, you might be able to see a little clearer and realize that some of the relationships in your life were toxic. These people should be seen as a risk as being around them could encourage a relapse.
Toxic relationships aren’t just people who make your drink or deal drugs. They can be people close to you who don’t treat you correctly, including family members. Or, it can be friends who do truly love you but who enable you without knowing it.
Maintaining toxic relationships makes you a whole lot more likely to relapse. So, avoid these people and focus instead on nurturing your healthy, supportive relationships.
Be Prepared For More Withdrawal Symptoms
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is common on the road to recovery. This is when you can experience withdrawal symptoms long after you’ve detoxed – up to two years after! These symptoms can include – but aren’t limited to – anxiety, low moods, irritability, and problems sleeping.
By being aware of post-acute withdrawal syndrome, you can understand more about your emotions. You’ll know that this is a normal part of recovery and to seek help rather than substances. Withdrawal symptoms don’t last forever, and the quicker you reach out to a professional the quicker you can rid yourself of them.
Start Living Healthily
Our luxury Florida rehab encourages those in recovery to focus on healthy living. Substance misuse can damage your physical and mental health and now is the time to reverse that. Practicing self-care can not only repair past damage but also boost your wellbeing and aid your recovery.
By taking care of yourself, you’ll raise your self-esteem, confidence and improve your views towards yourself. You’ll also discover natural ways to increase your happiness and reduce stress, all of which make relapse less likely.
Here are some great ways you can improve your physical and mental health:
- Create an exercise routine
- Eat well-balanced meals regularly
- Get enough sleep every night
- Take time to relax
- Make time for fun hobbies and activities
- Wash and get ready every day
There are plenty more self-care ideas, so be sure to do more research into the practice!
Deal With Your Regrets
People in recovery often have a lot of pain from their past to deal with. You’ve been through a lot of trauma from your substance abuse, and you have to deal with it. This includes your regrets and remorse.
If you feel guilt for past behavior, you’re not alone. It’s important to face these feelings rather than ignore them, and try to process them in your own time. You may feel shame over having had an addiction, your situation in life, or how you treated friends and family during the period of addiction.
Take steps to learn from these mistakes, address them, and then move on. You can’t live in shame forever, and allowing negative feelings to fester makes relapse far more likely.
Don’t Replace One Addiction With Another
It can be tempting to replace your addiction with new compulsive behavior if you’re in recovery. This could mean strictly following a diet, compulsively cleaning your home, or becoming absorbed in a new job. Although not as bad as substance addiction, these behaviors still keep that compulsive behavior alive and can increase your chances of relapse.
You need to gain control over your life and behaviors. Find balance in your life and avoid being obsessive over any one thing. You can maintain control in your life by letting go of your compulsive habits.
Find Support at Our Florida Alcohol Detox Clinic
At Desert Rose Recovery, a Florida alcohol detox and drug recovery center, we can help you on your journey as you overcome addiction. With a wealth of useful resources, a team of expert staff, and a range of comprehensive treatment programs, we have everything you need to reclaim your life.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can help and let’s work on your recovery together.