Getting help for a drug or alcohol addiction by seeking help from professional counselors at an inpatient recovery center is only part of the process of trying to get well. Long-term sobriety is a journey taken one step at a time, and it’s never finished. Here are some tips to encourage you or someone you care about to remain committed to staying free from drugs and alcohol:
1. Take good care of your physical self.
Make sure that you eat well, get regular exercise, and get adequate rest. You’ll find it is easier to deal with the transition of moving from a treatment program to a sober living facility or to your home if you are in the best possible physical shape.
2. Connect with other people who are in recovery.
Going to a 12 step program like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous should be part of the regular routine after leaving the treatment center. Connecting with other people who are in recovery can be a source of strength to someone who has recently completed his or her own treatment program.
3. Develop a highly-structured schedule.
An addict who was actively using would have spent an excessive amount of time planning to buy drugs or alcohol, using the product, and recovering after using it. When you add in the time spent hiding and lying about the addiction, the newly-sober person has a lot of free time. Keep busy to keep cravings and temptations to use at bay.
- Take up a new hobby
- Rediscover an old one that was abandoned in the wake of the addiction
- Go for a walk
- Find a type of exercise that can be enjoyed out of doors (biking, hiking, surfing, jogging, etc.)
- Sign up for a class to learn something new and meet some new people
- Go to the gym
- Learn how to meditate
- Discover the world of books and magazines at the local library
4. Develop new relationships with positive people.
Once drugs and alcohol no longer play a role in a person’s life, they are free to develop relationships with people who genuinely care about them. These relationships are not clouded by needing to use the other person to gain access to money, substances, or a place to stay.
5. Be patient with yourself.
An addict has turned to drugs or alcohol as a way to tune out to avoid emotional pain. This situation may have been going on for several years before the person has sought professional help. Now that the emotional tap has been turned on again, it can be challenging to deal with feeling the strong emotions again. No one can learn something new overnight, and it would not be realistic to expect a recovering addict to be able to adopt a new way of thinking and behaving in a short time. The good news is that it will become easier to deal with emotions like anger, sorrow, depression and joy over time.
By following these tips, you or a loved one will stay sober and begin to learn a more peaceful and happy way of life free of addiction.