The hardest part of your journey to sobriety might be admitting that you need help, and deciding to enter an addiction treatment program. These programs teach you how to change your life for the better, but it isn’t always easy. You’ll learn how to take what you have learned about recovery and apply it to the real world to stay sober.
It will take determination, but there are things you can do to help yourself succeed. The following five habits of people in long-term sobriety help them stay on track.
It is important to be completely honest with yourself and those around you. If you have completed rehab, you have already heard this being said. This is because sobriety and honesty go hand in hand.
Individuals with substance use disorder often lie to downplay the seriousness of their addiction. They will even lie to themselves as a result of their denial of how serious their disorder has become. Once you’re sober, honesty becomes an important part of recovery.
Recovery is all about making changes. Honesty will drastically impact your ability to stay sober because it will restore trust, rebuild relationships, help you avoid relapse and allow you to continue progressing.
While suffering from a substance use disorder, you may have lied to friends and family. As a result, those you love may not be able to fully trust you. Completing rehab doesn’t make that trust immediately come back; regaining the trust of others will take time and effort. You can do this by being honest. Being honest about our mistakes in life isn’t easy, but it is a positive move forward.
While the broken promises and lies associated with addiction can damage relationships, honesty during recovery can help mend those same relationships. Honesty allows you to take responsibility for your mistakes and restore trust. Being honest about your shortcomings makes it easier for you to accept them. Best of all, honesty gives you the ability to offer heartfelt apologies to those you love.
Lying may have become a habit. You might have used it to hide your addiction or to help you cope with it. Now that you are sober, you want to avoid going back to this habit. Being dishonest at this point in your recovery is dangerous to your sobriety. Once you return to lying, you may find yourself slipping back into other bad habits.
Most importantly, be honest about your progress. Being honest allows you to evaluate your progress with recovery and avoid relapse.
Attend Support Groups
You should find a support group as soon as you finish rehab. There are several to choose from, including:
- SMART Recovery
- 12-step programs like AA and NA
- Refuge Recovery
- Women for Sobriety
These groups help keep you accountable for your sobriety, and they provide the support you need to be successful. Nothing encourages long-term sobriety better than supportive peers. You will be with others who have been through similar experiences to yours and are also in recovery. When you face struggles in the future, these people are the ones you can turn to. They can help you avoid triggers and stay focused on your sobriety.
As you progress with your recovery, you will come across many challenges and obstacles. A good support group allows you to talk about those challenges. Other members may have encountered similar situations. They will have thoughts and insights that can help you. Being able to talk about setbacks will keep you from feeling isolated. Isolation can trigger depression, which can jeopardize your recovery.
The sober members of a support group also provide positive peer pressure. They will encourage you to make healthy choices. Attending meetings regularly and staying in touch with your sponsor reminds you that there are many people out there who don’t want to see you relapse.
Meditation can support sobriety by helping you feel calm, avoid relapse and cope with triggers. This valuable holistic tool has many benefits, such as promoting calmness, helping you to relax, and improving your overall well-being through mindfulness. It involves sitting in a quiet setting while staying focused. When done properly, it allows negative thoughts and distractions to pass by. Deep breathing techniques are also helpful when dealing with anxiety or stress.
The key to success is finding the right type of meditation for you. While most people immediately think of sitting cross-legged on a mat with their eyes closed, there are other ways to meditate. The different types of meditation include:
- Mindful meditation
- Spiritual meditation
- Focused meditation
- Movement meditation
- Mantra meditation
- Transcendental meditation
A substance use disorder makes it difficult to cope with the stress of everyday life without risking a relapse. You may experience poor sleep, anxiety, stress and depression as you adjust to sobriety. These issues can easily become triggers, but mindful meditation can help reduce these problems. Those who meditate are more aware of their thoughts, better able to control their emotions, and less likely to be bothered by unpleasant experiences.
While it seems to be a simple behavior, exercise is essential when it comes to long-term sobriety. Exercise releases natural endorphins that will make you feel good. It can also provide a healthy way to release your emotions.
Stress is a big issue during recovery. If it isn’t properly managed, it can lead to a relapse. Exercise reduces stress because any physical activity will release endorphins in the brain that make you feel good and improve your circulation. Both of these factors help with reducing stress.
Many people experience sleep issues in recovery. It can be tempting to relapse if you think that alcohol and drugs can help you get the rest you need, but a routine exercise program provides a healthier way to improve your quality of sleep. Having a routine in general is a good thing to have in place when in recovery, but an exercise program can help you stick to it even moreso.
Mood changes are also associated with recovery. You can use exercise to help your body adjust to sobriety by teaching it natural ways to produce the feel-good chemicals you used to find through artificial means. As little as 30 minutes of exercise each day is enough to bring about a positive change in your mood. While exercises such as running, swimming and bicycling require plenty of energy, you will receive energy from these activities as well. Recovery can leave you feeling lethargic and tired, but regular exercise can restore some of that lost energy.
Regular exercise protects your body against many serious issues, including stroke, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression and osteoporosis because it improves your immune system. The most important incentive is that routine movement can help you stay sober—it can increase substance use abstinence rate by 95%.
In 12-step meetings, you may often hear someone say, “You have to give it away to keep it.” This simply means that when it comes to sobriety, you need to take what you learned in rehab and your support group and give back. Helping others will help you stay sober. It puts you in a position where you meet others who need help and can benefit by hearing your story. It reminds you of where you came from and where you are headed.
Giving back to others feels good and creates positive experiences. It is important to do things that make you feel like you have a purpose. If you enjoy these activities, it’s even better. Once you start giving back to others in recovery or to those thinking about rehab, your mood will likely improve, and your stress levels will lower.
Giving back is a great way to fill up your free time, too. This combats the feelings of boredom that you may experience. Boredom can be a trigger for relapse, so avoiding it is important. You will find that after giving back by volunteering or otherwise supporting others, you will be calmer and better able to resist cravings and triggers as you strengthen your sobriety.
You don’t have to be rich or have a degree in mental health to give back. Start by joining a support group, become a sponsor or volunteer to help at a recovery center. Many support groups offer activities that you can volunteer for. They may ask you to help collect donations or run a meeting. Doing these things can open you up to new people. You will be more involved and be held accountable for your sobriety.
Giving back can be a small act, too. If you know someone who is struggling with a substance use disorder, you could offer to go to a meeting with them. You could also help them find a treatment program. All they need is your support and experience.
Another considerable way to give back is to host a sober event. People still need to socialize during sobriety. Have a dance, a cookout or a picnic. You will be providing a safe environment where you and others can create positive friendships.
Granite Recovery Centers
Granite Recovery Centers has been helping those with substance use disorders transform their lives for over 10 years. We offer a mix of evidence-based clinical psychotherapies with a 12-step curriculum known as our R.E.S.T. program. Our addiction treatment programs include a variety of options. We provide medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency. We also provide medication-assisted treatment, extended care, primary residential treatment, sober living, and intensive outpatient counseling.
The care you receive at Granite Recovery Centers doesn’t end once you are sober. Structured sober living programs and outpatient programs help you adjust to the many challenges of a sober life. Sober living homes are apartment-style residences that provide you with a supportive environment as you begin your post-treatment life. You will have a home manager and recovering peers to help you stay sober. This is less structured than a primary or extended care center, and it promotes lifelong sobriety.
During early recovery, returning to the real world can be challenging. Living with people who understand your situation and have similar experiences can be helpful. By helping you make lifelong friends and learn skills that will help you find a job and live independently, our sober living homes focus on providing you with a smooth transition into a fulfilling and purposeful life.
The Path to Long-Term Sobriety
Developing these five habits can help you live a long-term life of sobriety. Some habits, such a regaining people’s trust through honesty, are difficult to establish, but others can be fun to develop. Attending a support group can be an amazing experience. Sharing your thoughts and experiences can strengthen your resolve to stay sober while also helping others. Meditation will teach you to relax, and exercise can be an enjoyable activity that renews your energy and gives you the strength you need to face life head-on.
Granite Recovery Centers offers many treatment programs that will help you overcome substance use disorder and adjust to sober living. The skills you develop will empower you and allow you to work on strengthening relationships and moving forward.
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