Living a sober life can be rich and rewarding, but adjusting your mindset after addiction isn’t easy. Recovery is a lifelong process, and staying substance-free can be challenging. You may find yourself in situations that make you want to use alcohol or drugs again. Here are some strategies for dealing with difficult situations and maintaining sobriety.
In recovery, it will be important to maintain relationships with people you can rely on for strength and encouragement. Joining local support or self-help groups also can make it easier to adjust to living sober. By avoiding situations that might make you consider using again, and staying away from people in your life who misuse drugs or alcohol, you can create a safe and healthy environment for your recovery.
Friends and family members often seek guidance on how to help a loved one stay sober — these people can be a key part of supporting you in your recovery.
Long-term lifestyle changes that focus on overall health and wellness have proven benefits.
"Why don't more people see quitting drinking as a positive, healthy, life-affirming choice?" - Ruby Warrington, Sober Curious
It is important to recognize situations that trigger cravings for drugs or alcohol, because they may lead to relapse. Keep a list of triggers, so you can avoid them and cope in healthy ways to maintain a sober lifestyle. The list may include:
Here are ways to overcome some of the challenges people with an addiction commonly face during or after their recovery:
What you can do: Schedule regular checkups with your primary care provider or therapist.
What you can do: Consult a financial adviser to help you create a personalized plan to manage your finances.
What you can do: Talk to a therapist about counseling options for you and a loved one. Depending on the treatment program, attend counseling together.
What you can do: Connect with a career counselor or academic adviser to discuss your skills, options, and resources, and find a path that’s right for you.
As with many other health conditions, relapse is always possible. But it doesn’t mean you, or your treatment, have failed.
Map out what you would do if you have a relapse. The plan should list who to contact (a health care provider, sponsor, or family member) and the steps to get immediate help from an addiction treatment professional. Having a plan can motivate you to find support or get back into treatment quickly. The sooner people get into treatment after a relapse, the more likely they are to continue their recovery.
If you go through a relapse, know you are not alone. Support from family, friends, and your health care team can help you get back on track and stay sober.
"Tweak" author Nic Sheff speaks about how his addiction changed his parents' lives.Close