Recovering from an addiction is not something you just go and do. Recovery is more than a stint in rehab or just quitting a substance for a designated period of time. Recovery is a lifelong process, and knowing that fact and accepting that it takes constant work will better prepare you for your new life of sobriety.
Here are some essentials tips for staying on the sober path this year.
Set up a network of support
Overcoming addiction is always hard, but for most it can be nearly impossible to do it alone. Making sure that you have a strong network of support is crucial. Let your friends and family know that you are counting on them for support. Don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones and ask for help. You don’t have to do this alone.
It may be time to make some hard decisions as well. Your success is dependent on avoiding temptation and making sure you aren’t putting yourself in situations where it’s easy to fail. If you can’t find safety in your old groups of friends, you might need to form a new group. It’s easy to fall into old habits, and placing yourself in the exact same situation where your addiction grew might not be the best idea.
Don’t just rely on friends and family, however. A good support system means having people around you that know what you’re going through – first hand. Going to group meetings and/or seeing a specific recovery counselor can help.
“By surrounding ourselves with positive people, we are lifted and encouraged by their example and their contagious good-will. Like-minded people make us feel better because we share goals and ideas. This is another plus when you’re trying to improve your self-esteem after drug rehab,” says treatment program Promises.
Identify your high-risk situations
Recovery isn’t just qutting a destructive behavior. You have to make changes in your life to set yourself up for success – every single day. It’s best to know exactly what triggers you into addictive behaviors and avoid those at all costs.
And yes, it helps to make a list.
“Addiction is sneaky. Sometimes you won’t see your high-risk situations until you’re right in the middle of one. That’s why it’s important that you learn to look for them. Make a list of your high-risk situations and keep it with you. Go over the list with someone in recovery so that you can spot any situations that you might have missed. Make the list and keep it with you. Some day that list may save your life,” says Addictions & Recovery.
For many people, there are specific emotional triggers for abusive behavior. Some of those include being hungry, angry, alone, and tired. Know how to spot dangerous physical and emotional states.
Remember that it’s a journey and never be too hard on yourself
Recovery from addiction is a journey, not a destination. It might sound hokey but it’s a recovery mantra for a reason. The moment you think you’re “done” with recovery is a moment where it’s easy to slip back into old, destructive habits.
One thing that people recovering from addiction do is turn hyper-critical. Don’t fall into this trap. You don’t have to be perfect and your recovery isn’t ruined if you’re imperfect. There’s no such thing as a perfect recovery. You can hold yourself accountable for your actions and set high standards for your new, sober life without being overly harsh on yourself. Set personal goals and do everything you can to meet them – and never be afraid to ask for help. Some addicts believe they must do it alone to prove their own strength. Don’t think this way. Strength is knowing you need help, and is the very reason organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) were created. If you need extra support from a community of individuals who are working to overcome many of the same life challenges that you are, you may find it valuable to locate your nearest AA or NA chapter and drop by for a meeting.
Additional resources: Getting Help for Recovery
Author: Cecilia Johnson
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