Taking the first step toward sobriety is difficult enough. Maintaining one’s sobriety can prove to be even harder. However, for those who hope to maintain long-term recovery, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Here are five suggestions that can help you maintain your sobriety.
Table of contents 1. Be Prepared to Face Social Pressure 2. Prepare a Plan 3. Set Boundaries With Friends and Family 4. Increase Self-Care 5. Be Part of Groups
1. Be Prepared to Face Social Pressure
When participating in social events, whether during the holidays or at parties and outside gatherings, staying sober can prove to be a challenge. Before accepting an invitation to any events with alcohol, first decide if you can handle being around the substance.
Not only are these situations filled with triggers, but there is also the expectation to drink. Peer pressure to drink alcohol happens more frequently than many people realize. If you are at an event where everyone is expected to drink, make sure to always be holding a cup filled with a non-alcoholic beverage. Most people will just assume you are drinking something with alcohol and leave you alone. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also be honest and tell someone who keeps offering alcohol that you are in recovery. Most of the time they will leave you alone.
But always remember, opting out of activities if you need to is completely understandable. If social events are triggering for you, it may be best to limit your exposure until you feel more comfortable tackling them sober.
2. Prepare a Plan
One of the best ways to prevent relapse is to have a plan in place. Creating a good relapse prevention plan will help you manage cravings and triggers in times of stress. It will outline specific triggers, tools and methods for coping with them, prepared answers in case you are offered drugs or alcohol, communication ideas for loved ones, and an accountability protocol that addresses how you’ll handle your addiction going forward.
This is when a relapse prevention plan comes into play. Write out a concrete plan to stay sober, detailing your triggers and how you will cope with them. Make sure to define escape plans if you have an urge to drink or do drugs, and have sober friends on speed dial in case you need help.
A good relapse prevention plan can outline:
- Specific triggers
- Tools and methods for coping with them
- Prepared answers in case you are offered drugs or alcohol
- Communication ideas for loved ones
- An accountability protocol
Your relapse prevention plan should be anchored in the idea that you are in control of your own actions and choices. The plan should give you clear directions on what to do when faced with a difficult situation and specific strategies for addressing frequent triggers. A good plan can help keep you safe, but an even better one will empower you to choose safety for yourself.
3. Set Boundaries With Friends and Family
Setting and communicating boundaries with close ones is very helpful for maintaining one’s sobriety. Boundaries are physical, mental and emotional limits that enable us to communicate to others what is acceptable and unacceptable to us. They can vary from one person to another, and are essential to set in any relationship. However, setting them and communicating them when you are in recovery is crucial.
In order to create boundaries, you must first identify your risks. Although this can be a difficult exercise, it’s essential if you want to live a healthier life in sobriety. After identifying these factors, next set your personal boundaries. Be as specific as you can and write them down.
Once they have been established, talk to your friends and family and explain the situation so they are aware of what is acceptable behaviour or not in their interactions with you. This will ensure you have their support and that they will hold you accountable when needed.
4. Increase Self-Care
A healthy body and an occupied mind are crucial in maintaining long-term sobriety. Prioritize self-care to make sure you have the strength to remain sober and to keep yourself busy. Make sure to take time for yourself, to eat healthy food and to exercise.
For maintaining a healthy lifestyle, try to:
- Take time for yourself
- Eat balanced meals
- Exercise regularly
- Get quality sleep
- Practise relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness and yoga
Having a hobby is a great way to keep your mind engaged with something other than your drinking. Whether it be rock climbing, building model planes or writing—you need something to fill that gap in your life.
In the long run, you will notice that a healthy body and an occupied mind are the keys to maintain your sobriety. When you take time for yourself, eat well and exercise, you will notice that your life takes a turn for the better.
5. Be Part of Groups
Support groups can be incredibly beneficial for those seeking long-term sobriety. Peer support groups can provide the motivation and encouragement needed to overcome various obstacles, and those who attend them are less likely to relapse.
Sharing about your difficulties can go a long way to avoid relapsing. You may find it therapeutic to share what you’re going through with others who are in similar positions.
Most addiction experts recommend attending at least one support group session a week to maintain long-term recovery. Try to go to the same meeting to give you more opportunities to bond with other members.
The Canadian Centre for Addictions is Here to Help
Getting and staying sober is no easy feat, and we’re here to help. The Canadian Centre for Addictions (CCFA) offers a full range of quality services that give our visitors flexible therapy and counselling for drug and alcohol addiction.
Contact us today, and ask about our addiction program. Call us now at +1-855-939-1009!