The “New Normal” Sober Life
After facing your addictions head-on and undergoing a treatment program, you are likely to experience a sense of relief, pride, and excitement for the future ahead. You may feel that the hard part is over, but it is important to understand that treatment is just the beginning of a lifelong journey — one that if given the proper care will be infinitely rewarding.
Research Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts suggests that 40-60% of recovering addicts relapse within the first six months after treatment.
This statistic showcases the importance of developing a routine that is congruent with your journey to stay healthy and sober. Relapsing is incredibly dangerous and can not only derail your will to stay drug and alcohol-free but can also lead to blackouts, bodily injuries, overdoses, or even death.
Here are 9 ways to successfully take control of your new life staying sober in the “new normal” 2020:
1. Don’t Wait Until After Rehab To Start Planning For Your Best Life
Use the resources allotted during your treatment programs, such as therapists, doctors, or focus groups, to develop concrete ways you intend to change your life after rehab. Making a point to plan for the future while still in rehab is imperative to maintaining a clear mindset and will help you avoid any potential relapses. This may involve identifying common triggers or warning signs and coming up with a plan to prevent these, making plans to move out of a home or location that is a negative influence, or cutting ties with damaging or dangerous individuals from your past.
2. Develop A Relationship With Spirituality
Going through a treatment program will require self-reflection and it is important to continue this form of introspection in order to stay focused and sober. Try meditating once a day, listening to soothing music, or spending time outdoors — whatever it takes to clear your mind and form a connection with your surroundings.
3. Identify Your Personal Triggers
A big part of preventing relapse is understanding your external triggers (people, places, things, and situations that elicit thoughts or cravings associated with substance use) as well as your internal triggers (feelings, thoughts, or emotions associated with substance abuse). Once you identify your biggest risks, you can create a plan to prepare for or avoid them.
Some common triggers may include:
- Emotional distress
- Environmental cues that result in cravings
- People who are still using drugs or drinking
- Relationship troubles
- Job or financial problems
4. Avoid Old Routines and Habits
It stands to reason that if you quit your drug of choice but continue with your same routine, hanging around the same people and places, and not making any changes in your circumstances, it will be much easier to slip back into your old behaviors and habits.
Some of the immediate changes you will need to make will be obvious—like not hanging around the people that you used with or obtained drugs from. After all, you can’t hang around your drug dealer or old drinking buddies and expect to remain sober for very long.
You may also need to change your route to work or home in order to avoid any triggers, or people, places, or things that make you want to use drugs or drink again.
5. Build Healthy Relationships
Now that you are sober, you may have discovered that your past relationships were not only unhealthy but downright toxic. It’s not just your drinking buddies and drug dealers who can get you into trouble—sometimes those who are closest to you can contribute to a relapse.
Research shows that if you maintain these types of toxic relationships, your chances of relapsing are greater. To avoid relapse and remain sober, it’s important to develop healthy relationships.
If you find it difficult to make new, sober friends, try to attend a virtual or in-person meeting. Spending more time with supportive loved ones and planning activities for the entire family can also help you develop a more healthy lifestyle and avoid situations in which you would normally drink or use drugs.
6. Develop a Structured Schedule
Having a chaotic or disorganized lifestyle can also hinder your recovery. It’s important to develop a structured daily and weekly schedule and stick to it. That structured schedule will help you achieve other goals in your life, whether short-term like being on time for work or long-term like going back to school and changing careers.
Staying sober is a high priority, but developing and pursuing other goals can help you maintain that sobriety.
7. Practice Healthy Living
Chronically misusing drugs and/or alcohol can take a major toll on your physical and emotional health, and now that you’re in recovery, you’ll want to prioritize self-care and ensure you have the fortitude to remain sober.
- Exercise regularly
- Make time for recreational activities and hobbies
- Eat regular, well-balanced meals
- Get ample, quality sleep
- Practice relaxation strategies, like mindfulness meditation and yoga
8. Focus on Your Finances
People in recovery from a substance use disorder frequently have problems meeting work-related responsibilities, maintaining employment, and managing money. If you were active in your addiction for a period of time, chances are you have developed financial problems.
Financial troubles and problems finding and keeping employment are major triggers for relapse—but it is possible to take baby steps and get your finances in order. Just keep in mind that your improvements won’t happen overnight.
Consider reaching out to a vocational rehabilitation counselor and career coach to help you revise your resume, practice job interview skills, and locate jobs that match your skills and experience.
Once you do return to work, it’s important to create a budget and take steps to safeguard yourself as work stress can be a relapse trigger.
9. Stay Cool and Calm
Many people who misuse alcohol or drugs have trouble dealing with anger. If left unchecked, anger can have a negative impact on your health and your lasting sobriety.
Anger is a normal and natural emotion, but how you deal with it will make a difference in maintaining your recovery.
For many people with a substance use disorder, it’s simply a matter of never having learned the appropriate way to manage your anger. Talk to your medical professional about how to deal with your anger in ways that won’t cause you to hurt yourself or others or, importantly, pick up a drink or drug.
The Palms Recovery wants you to get your best life going in this new normal 2020. We’ve got everything you’ll need to succeed and achieve your dreams. Call us at 1.844.80.PALMS or email us directly [email protected]