Helpful Tips To Stay Sober

Recovering from a substance use disorder is a lot of work. If you have achieved sobriety, you want to do whatever you can to avoid a relapse. Even if you are in a good place and relapse seems like the last thing that will happen to you, the fact is, it can happen to anyone – especially if you are still early in the recovery process.

Keep reading to learn more about staying sober, how an alcohol and drug rehab in NJ can help you, and some tips to help along the way.

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Sobriety Defined

Achieving sobriety means you are no longer under the influence of a substance. However, the word can be used in many ways and in different contexts. Some 12-step programs view sobriety as complete abstinence and never using the substance again.

However, other definitions focus on the recovery process and your ability to develop habits and coping mechanisms that support your long-term health and wellness. While complete abstinence may be the end goal, the reality is that it’s not uncommon to experience setbacks.

Tips for Remaining Sober

For many people, remaining sober isn’t a straightforward process. It’s important to find strategies to help you identify your triggers and cope with stress, which will help you manage your newfound sobriety. Some specific tips to help you stay sober are found here.

Get To Know Your Triggers

A huge part of preventing relapse is getting to know what your external triggers are. This includes the situations, things, places, and people that create cravings or thoughts related to substance abuse. You should also know your internal triggers, such as the emotions, thoughts, and feelings you have that are related to substance abuse.

After identifying your main risks, you can start creating a plan to prepare or even avoid them. Some of the most common triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Financial or job issues
  • Environmental cues
  • Relationship troubles
  • People around you who are using drugs or drinking alcohol

Know the Warning Signs of a Relapse

A relapse can sneak up on you. This is usually because you don’t know what the warning signs are. In most cases, a relapse will begin long before you pick up a drug or drink. It tends to include three different phases:

  1. Emotional relapse
  2. Mental relapse
  3. Physical relapse

Some of the most common warning signs that you may be headed to relapse include:

  • Experiencing your addictive thinking patterns
  • Engaging in self-defeating, compulsive behaviors
  • Trying to find situations that involve people who use drugs or alcohol
  • Not behaving rationally or thinking less rationally
  • Being in a situation where alcohol or drug use seems like the logical way to escape your pain

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Understand and Prepare for PAWS

PAWS is post-acute withdrawal syndrome. It occurs when you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms beyond the detox period. Most of these symptoms relate to your mood and often include sleep problems, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and irritability.

Based on the type of dependency you experience, symptoms of PAWS can last for six months up to two years after you have stopped using alcohol or drugs. For some, the symptoms experienced with PAWS are barriers to a full recovery. You need to recognize these and know when to ask for help.

Avoid Old Habits and Routines

It makes sense that if you quit taking a drug but keep hanging around the same people, going to the same places, and following the same routine, you will likely slip back into your old habits and behaviors.

The immediate changes you need to make should be clear – don’t hang around the people you used to or the ones you got your drugs from. You can’t keep hanging around your old drinking buddies or drug dealer and expect to remain sober very long. Changing your route to home or work may also be necessary to avoid potential triggers that would make you want to drink or use drugs again.

Start Building Healthy Relationships

Once you have gotten sober, you may discover that your old relationships were not just unhealthy but that some may have been toxic. It isn’t just drug dealers and drinking buddies who may cause you to get in trouble. In some cases, it is people you are close to who can cause you to relapse.

One example would be if you have developed a codependent relationship with an employer, friend, or family member. In these situations, the person may be enabling you but not even realize it. If you keep these toxic relationships, the chances of a relapse are much higher. If you want to stay sober and avoid relapsing, make sure you work to develop healthy relationships.

Get Support and Help

You don’t have to go through your sobriety journey alone. You should make new friends who are also sober. A great way to meet these people is by joining a support group. You can also spend more time with supportive loved ones and plan activities for your entire family, which will help you develop a healthier lifestyle and keep you out of situations where you typically drink or use drugs.

Staying Sober: It’s up to You

If you want to stay sober, be sure to keep these tips in mind. Doing so is going to pay off and help you avoid a relapse. You will also be able to start living a healthier and happier life.