How to Stay Sober in Early Recovery
Early recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism presents many rewards and challenges. Most recovering addicts can attest to the fact that their worst day sober is better than their best day loaded.
Recovery is about more than just abstaining from your substance of choice. It’s about creating a new life for yourself. That is the heart of addiction recovery. Engaging in healthy activities and enjoying the company of healthy people will help you navigate how to stay sober.
Here are some tips for maintaining sobriety to help you in early recovery.
Five Tips for Staying Sober
1. To stay sober, you have to get sober.
Number one may seem obvious, but as with most things in life, the simple thighs are often the most impactful. To stay sober you first have to get sober. Depending on a variety of factors, you may find yourself in need of a licensed and trained detox facility to help get you clean in a safe and secure environment.
Detoxification programs are built around the withdrawal process that many addicts suffer through as they initially get clean. Depending on the type of substance, the length of addiction, and other factors, it can be extremely dangerous to “white knuckle” or go “cold turkey” when coming down.
It’s often safest and most likely to take if severe addicts and alcoholics seek professional help for detox.
2. Work with a sponsor
There is a difference between “getting a sponsor” and “working with a sponsor.” First, you should find a home group, which is a meeting that you primarily go to and focus on. You should acquire a sponsor at your home group because you will be able to see them most often and can work with them on the topics mentioned at the group that you primarily go to.
A sponsor is your go-to person for collaboration on your recovery. Their experience will help them empathize, console you and work with you on the steps and tools. However, your sponsor is not responsible for your sobriety. They can only offer you tips and support your commitment to staying sober. You are the creator of your destiny.
3. Make sober friends
The friendships that you had during your active addiction were not true friendships. They were only based on having a daily common goal, which was getting high. The friends that you had during your active addiction are not healthy people; therefore, they are a detriment to your recovery.
Even if they are getting into recovery, they still should not be a part of your recovery.
Making new sober friends is key to success in recovery because you are all working towards one healthy goal, which is living a meaningful life of recovery. Sober friends can empathize with and understand you in a way that other people cannot.
You and your sober friends can collaborate on solutions to solve issues that arise in recovery. Since they are also working on recovery, you do not have to worry about them asking you to go to parties or events that center around alcohol or drugs. Sober friends are healthy people, and being around healthy people is a necessity in recovery.
You should not start a new romantic relationship until you are 6 months sober to a one year sober because you need to figure out yourself first.
4. Work on self-improvement
Working on character defects is a major part of recovery. Though you may not be actively using, you may still be behaving like a person who is actively using.
An active addict’s defects of character (e.g. self-righteousness, anger, selfishness, etc.) are called the “isms” of the disease. Acronyms for “ism” are “internal spiritual malady,” “I, self, me,” and “I sponsor myself.”
Self-improvement is a function of honestly assessing your defects of character and trying your best to improve them on a daily basis. A Fourth Step Inventory Book can help you address your defects of character and come up with ways of improving them.
Exercising, reading, and taking up new hobbies are a few activities that can help tremendously when replacing old habits with new habits.
Change can be difficult. Learn how to cultivate self-discipline. It will serve you well on your recovery journey.
5. Be patient with yourself
Progress is what matters in recovery – not perfection. Recovery is a lifelong process that consists of constant learning through trial and error. You cannot expect to make massive amounts of progress in months. True progress takes years.
In the meantime, be patient with yourself. Setting unrealistic expectations and pushing yourself too hard when you are no more than 6 months sober can be more of a detriment than a benefit.
The first step to a lifetime of happiness begins with a first phone call. If you or a loved one is getting beat down by addiction, call the Nashville Detox Center today for a free, confidential conversation with a local recovery expert who can help you figure out the next best step.