Sobriety can be challenging in more ways than one. After attending rehab or detoxing at home, you may find yourself feeling uninterested in life, friends, or social activities. Years of pop culture and entertainment portraying people who drink or use drugs as fun, carefree, and charismatic can severely damage your opinion of staying sober.
Despite this, sober living can be one of the most rewarding experiences any recovering alcoholic or addict ever experiences. Although it may be difficult to know how to go about staying sober, we aim to help with the following 12 suggestions.
Why Is It Important to Change Your Lifestyle After Rehab?
Continuing in the lifestyle you led before addiction treatment can leave you feeling empty, unfulfilled, and tempted to use again. Radically changing your lifestyle after rehab will not only reduce your chances of relapsing but could provide benefits like:
- Experiencing no more blackouts or hangovers caused by alcohol abuse
- Engaging fully in life and your relationships
- Achieving a sense of fulfillment and well-being not possible while struggling with substance use disorders
12 Changes to Maintain a Sober Lifestyle
Knowing where to start to live a sober life can be challenging. These 12 lifestyle tips may help you get started.
1. Identify Triggers
This takes weighty introspection and the development of self-awareness. Identifying your triggers can help you realize when a person or situation is pushing you toward relapsing. Typical triggers include:1
- Emotional distress
- An environment filled with alcohol or drugs
- People who are still using drugs or alcohol
- Relationship problems
- Financial issues
- Difficulties at work
Learning how to remove yourself or manage the effects of these triggers can help you prevent using again after leaving rehab.
2. Change Your Home Environment
Although friends and family members may mean well, some relationships or influences can be more detrimental than helpful. Living in a drug- and alcohol-free home with people committed to sobriety can significantly improve your chances of sustaining your recovery.
3. Prepare for the Possibility of Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
A common misconception is that the adverse symptoms are over as soon as you stop drinking or using drugs and go through withdrawal. Post-acute withdrawal is a reality, however, and its symptoms can stick around for months or even a year after you stop using. Understanding this, and preparing for it both mentally and physically, can help you avoid succumbing to the cravings or urge to use again.
4. Identify Warning Signs of Relapse
Relapse warning signs can appear at any point during recovery. Knowing what they are can enable you to reach out for help before they become too serious or it’s too late to ask for assistance. Common warning signs of relapse include:
- Returning to the thought patterns you allowed while using drugs or alcohol
- Becoming more compulsive and engaging in behavior or activities that border on using again
- Seeking out people or situations that encourage substance abuse
- Acting impulsively
- Looking for ways to escape stress or emotional trauma
5. Disengage from Triggering Enabling Relationships
No matter how close the friendship or familial bond, some relationships can seriously damage your attempts at staying sober. Even though it can be difficult, removing yourself from toxic or triggering relationships is essential to maintaining long-term recovery.
6. Replace Old Routines That Involved Substance Abuse
Building a new, healthy routine to replace the old one that encouraged or involved drug or alcohol use is an essential part of any post-rehab lifestyle. Finding activities that don’t include substance misuse and which enhance your health and mental well-being is a key step toward maintaining sober living.
7. Find New Ways to Release Stress
Finding new hobbies and activities to participate in during your free time can help you overcome the depression or poor mental health often associated with post-acute withdrawal. Whether it’s exercising, learning to cook, or trying out art, finding an outlet for stress or negative emotions through healthy hobbies can be extremely helpful for staying sober for a long time.
8. Recognize When It’s Time to Seek Help
Whether you think you are on the verge of relapsing or have already relapsed, it’s never too late to seek help. Aftercare or relapse prevention classes or treatment programs can not only help set you on the right track again but teach you the coping mechanisms necessary to avoid relapse in the future.
9. Build a Support Network
For many individuals recovering from a substance use disorder, joining a support group or building a strong support network is a crucial part of their recovery plan.2. Sobriety can feel lonely, especially if you no longer have the same friends or social circles. Building new relationships with people going through the same thing you are or those who have gone through treatment and who are in long-term recovery can offer the support and encouragement necessary to continue your journey.
10. Attend Check-Up Meetings and Therapy
If your rehab program or facility offers check-up sessions or therapies, it is crucial that you attend and make the most of each meeting. It can not only help you stay on track but could help you or others recognize the warning signs before a relapse occurs, ensuring you get the help you need before it’s too late.
11. Engage in Life
Build a healthy lifestyle that includes eating well, exercising, engaging with friends and family that positively affect your sobriety, and finding new hobbies you love to do. Dwelling on what life was like before or during rehab can bring up many negative memories that may trigger a relapse.
12. Celebrate Your Achievements
Recovering from drug and alcohol abuse is not easy. It’s why recovery is often called a lifelong journey, and even people who have been sober for decades still refer to themselves as being in recovery. So, celebrate your achievements. Appreciate every milestone and every month spent without using and find joy in the journey.
What to Do if You Need Help
Whether thinking of using again, or having already relapsed, if you or your loved one needs help, advice, or treatment, get in touch with our team at (949) 427-9099 to learn more about Adelante Recovery Center’s relapse prevention services and programs for individuals who have already relapsed. Both of these services ensure you are provided with all the skills and strategies necessary to cope with triggers and the daily stressors that may cause you to use again.