For a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, remaining sober is a long-term process fraught with challenges. It involves a commitment of the body, mind, and soul. In order to successfully live a sober life, it is important to repair the damage caused by your old drug or alcohol habits.
Part of this repair involves the construction of new, healthy habits. The time you used to sink into drugging and drinking can now be used for productive things. Above all, remember the following guidelines for living a sober life after addiction and behavioral health treatment. And if you should ever fall off the path of sobriety, recognize the relapse for what it is a mistake. Do not let it derail your success.
Caring for Yourself
The first rule of thumb for taking care of yourself is to take care of your body. No doubt your body has suffered at the hands of your drug or alcohol habit and needs some repair. To rewind your biological clock, get plenty of sleep, regular exercise, and eat a diet low in fat and sugar and rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meat. Not only will sleep, food, and exercise help build a strong, healthy body, but they will also improve your mood.
Learning through Trial and Error
The lives of alcoholics and drug addicts are filled with many destructive aspects. The first step in stopping this cycle of destruction is to understand how your old habits may have contributed to your drug or alcohol addiction. Perhaps you set unattainable goals for yourself and were always dooming yourself to fail. Or, perhaps you never learned how to relax without assistance or drugs or alcohol. Maybe you were an ineffective communicator, and alcohol and drugs helped you open up because they decreased your inhibitions.
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Whatever these original habits were, it is time to change them because they were what got you into trouble in the first place. The best way to change these habits is through trial and error – try new ways of doing things and see how they turn out.
For instance, set a goal that is a bit of a challenge but still reachable, or you can sign up for a yoga class and learn a new way of calming your inner spirit. Talk to a close friend or counselor about ways to engage in honest communication with others. By taking these small steps, you bring yourself farther on the road to recovery. If some of these things don’t work for you, try something else. That is the beauty of learning – you find what works for you as well as what doesn’t.
Making Sobriety Your Top Priority
The most important guideline to living a sober life is to make sobriety the highest priority in your life. Avoid situations and people that make you want to engage in drugs or drinking or those who do not support your choice to live a sober lifestyle.
When faced with a challenge or the urge to use, ask yourself how the immediate gratification of drinking or drugging will weigh against the long-term gratification of staying sober. Put your time and energy into the activities and relationships that make you enjoy sobriety and give you a reason to work to remain free of drugs and alcohol. You and your loved ones will benefit from your choice to live a happier, healthier life.