The first goal of any alcoholic should be to get sober. The best way to do this is usually through some type of treatment facility, either inpatient or outpatient. It will involve detox, group, and individual therapy, and sometimes even requires a dual diagnosis treatment if mental health issues are also involved. But the point is, getting sober is its own process.
After that, however, comes a whole new process; staying sober. People who don’t understand alcohol recovery aren’t aware of the fact that remaining sober long-term presents a whole different set of challenges than quitting drinking in the first place.
After all, it’s much harder not to drink at a wedding for a friend than it is when you’re staying at a rehab center. So, how can you stay sober once you are back to your daily routine? Here are five tips to help keep your sobriety intact.
Keep Yourself Out of Risky Situations
This means not being able to socialize with your old drinking friends or avoiding old party spots. While it may be difficult to say goodbye to old acquaintances or familiar hangouts, it is often necessary to help keep you sober. And if your old drinking buddies can’t appreciate your struggle, it may be time to cut them out of your life.
Learn to Manage Your Stress
Stress can be one of the biggest triggers for alcohol relapse. Finding ways to manage it is crucial to long-term alcohol recovery. Here are a few suggestions:
- Yoga and/or meditation
- Find someone to talk to
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet and drink plenty of water
- Be sure to get the proper amount of sleep
Create a Support Network
This would consist of sober friends and family, a personal therapist, or perhaps a faith-based advisor. Whoever you feel comfortable talking to when you are struggling should be part of your support network.
Learn to Relax
Learning to manage stress is more about the mental aspect of anxiety. You also need to deal with the physical manifestations of anxiety by learning how to let your body relax. Here are a few ideas you can try:
- A walk through nature
- A massage
- A hot bath/sauna/steam room
- Mellow music
- Practice breathingexercises
Find New Ways to Manage Physical Pain
If you suffer ongoing pain from an injury or if you have surgery, you will likely need to be very careful with prescription medications, as these can derail your sobriety very quickly.
Look into alternative pain management like therapeutic massage, acupuncture, cryotherapy, or other methods.
Alcohol Recovery Takes Long-Term Solutions Because It Is a Life-Long Process
The strategies listed today will help you with your day-to-day sobriety, as well as over time. Successfully managing your alcoholism depends on a daily commitment to staying sober and following every step of your aftercare plan.
And even if one day you slip up, it’s not the end of the world. You pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and start back over again.