Dont Take Your Sobriety for Granted

If you have overcome a substance abuse addiction, take a moment to congratulate yourself. It takes hard work and commitment to conquer a physical and psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol. But as you move beyond the initial stages of your recovery, it’s important to recognize that the hard work is never over. You must be continuously diligent to maintain your sobriety. Never, ever taken it for granted.

As you continue your journey to stay clean and sober, here are some steps to improve your odds for success.

Develop a Support Network

You don’t have to go through your sobriety journey alone. Develop a support network that includes family and friends who can offer you encouragement and get you through the rough spots. Attend group counseling and therapy sessions so that you can interact with others who are also working on their sobriety.

Being part of a support group with other recovering individuals can be especially effective because members of the group have the added incentive of holding each other accountable. It’s helpful to have a stake in other people’s recovery as well as your own. Just as you won’t want them disappointing you by relapsing, you won’t want to disappoint them either.

Cultivate Healthy Habits

Drug and alcohol abuse is detrimental to physical and mental health. Replace those addictions with healthy habits, such as eating well and exercising regularly. Let a healthier you become your new obsession.

Develop good dietary habits, such as eating heart-healthy foods, avoiding excessive fats and sugars, and drinking plenty of water. In the early days of recovery, good nutrition can help you through the withdrawal process and decrease the cravings that put you at risk of a relapse.

Exercise is equally important. Fill the void that used to be spent drinking or getting high by working out in the gym, going for a run, or playing sports. Experts report that regular exercise helps distract recovering individuals from cravings and can combat the depression and anxiety that trigger substance abuse.

Reducing stress is another important health habit, which many people in recovery achieve by practicing yoga and meditation. Another good strategy is to practice mindfulness, a mental state in which you stay focused on the present moment and don’t let yourself get distracted by nagging thoughts that could pull you back into addiction.

Avoid Addiction Triggers

In looking at your past addictive behavior, you might realize that you abused drugs or alcohol when you were around certain people, in certain locations, or under specific circumstances. Make sure to avoid those triggers, even if it means ending a friendship or staying away from places where you previously drank or used drugs.

Beyond external triggers, work at recognizing behaviors that could be warning signs of relapse. If you find yourself getting stressed or anxious, engaging in risky behavior, or gravitating toward places where alcohol and drugs are present, refocus yourself on your recovery and, if necessary, seek help from your support network immediately.

Reduce Your Odds of Relapse

Being proactive in your treatment reduces your odds of a relapse. According to research, those who do not seek help for an addiction have a 50% to 80% chance of relapsing, while those who have gone through treatment have a much lower chance of 20% to 50%.

If you do relapse, don’t lose hope. Understand that relapse is a common occurrence among those who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, particularly in the early stages of recovery. Research has shown relapse rates to be more than 85% in the first year of recovery, but relapse rates falling steadily during subsequent years of recovery. So, take heart that your sobriety journey will get easier the further you go.

Relapse is so common that the National Institute on Drug Abuse calls it a “normal part of recovery.” The NIDA recommends that they be treated like other chronic illnesses such as hypertension and asthma, which also have high relapse rates, with relapse serving as a sign for resuming, modifying, or trying new treatment.

Acknowledge Milestones

There’s a reason that abstinence-based recovery groups give out sobriety coins. It’s a way to acknowledge how far their members have come while also helping them set their sights on the next milestone.

It may be hard to envision staying clean and sober for the rest of your life, but if you can make it to one month, then three months, then six months, then a year, achieving a long-term recovery becomes more tangible. Acknowledging how long you’ve remained substance-free is a way to quantify your progress and renew your commitment to recovery for the months and years ahead.

Beachside Rehab offers support for those striving to achieve and maintain their sobriety. Contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770 to discuss how we can help.


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Curr Psychiatry Rep., “New Findings on Biological Factors Predicting Addiction Relapse Vulnerability,”