Daily living presents many challenges for people in recovery, whether it be dealing with stressful situations or managing drug cravings. If you get complacent in your recovery, it’s easy to fall back into old habits. This is why long-term sobriety requires hard work and diligence. It goes beyond attending your meetings and talking to your sponsor.
Even though long-term recovery can feel overwhelming and perhaps even out of reach right now, it is possible. Through the recovery process, you will learn a lot about yourself, your purpose in life and the things that make you truly happy. While every recovery journey has its ups and downs, you get the best gift in the end: your life.
In this post, we’re going to talk about the things you can do to attain and maintain long-term sobriety.
Establish Recovery Goals
The first step in attaining long-term sobriety is to establish the goals you want to achieve. They should be specific, attainable and realistic. At Continuum Recovery Center, we tell our clients to focus on small goals such as exercising for 20 minutes a day, going to their meetings or trying a new activity.
When you start with small, manageable goals, you can reach them easily and enjoy the rewards that come with them. This way, you feel like you’re making progress in your recovery rather than working towards thin air. As you continue to make healthy choices, they will become habit and replace old practices.
One of the hardest challenges in recovery is finding ways to deal with hardships. Whether it’s a job loss, unexpected bill or passing of a loved one, it’s difficult to go through these experiences without the one thing you’ve always relied on: drugs and alcohol.
To deal with the things that life throws at you, resilience is key. You can’t fall apart every time something bad happens, but how can you build resilience? Here are the ways to make yourself stronger:
- Build a strong support system
- Attend your meetings
- Work with your sponsor
- Develop healthy coping strategies
- Practice stress-reduction techniques
- Learn how to say no
- Establish good problem-solving skills
Most importantly, don’t get complacent in your recovery. While it’s important to have confidence in yourself and your recovery, you must always put the hard work in. Letting down your guard can put you in potentially harmful situations.
Many people in recovery struggle with containing their mind and the need for immediate gratification. After all, your brain doesn’t recover fully from addiction for a long time. So, it’s possible that your desire for immediate gratification may linger long after you become sober. Dealing with these impulsive feelings and quieting your mind is challenging, but there are ways to start.
For example, holistic outpatient treatment will teach you to take things one day at a time. You may not get immediate fulfillment from your decisions, but you do what’s right for your recovery. When you put in the hard work, life will eventually get easier. Taking shortcuts or trying to make things easy will likely put you further away from your goals.
Using affirmations can be a helpful boost to your recovery. Affirmations are positive thoughts and beliefs about yourself. The goal is to replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations, which will in turn align yourself with a more positive attitude.
To make affirmations effective, they must be specific and personal to you. For example, you might say to yourself, “I am a good friend and people want to spend time with me. I will nurture myself with these friendships.” As you can see, this is much better self-talk than, “No one likes me or wants to be my friend. I am alone in this world.”
We can’t stress enough the importance of having healthy hobbies to fill your time. Hobbies and activities are the best outlets for relieving stress, keeping you productive and avoiding the triggers that may lead to relapse. You may want to rekindle your passion for an activity you used to enjoy or try something new.
Be open-minded and willing to go outside your comfort zone. Check your local library or park district for ideas. Or, ask your friends what types of activities they are interested in and see if you can tagalong. Who knows – you may also establish new healthy relationships in the process!
Volunteer Your Time
A fantastic way to honor your sobriety is by volunteering your time to others. Not only does this allow you to help others in need, but also you can discover your greater purpose in life. Having a purpose gives you a reason to get out of bed in the mornings. It’s a powerful feeling to know that people depend on you and that your actions are making a difference in the world.
Volunteering your time also allows you to take a step back from your own life and see things in a new light. It’s easy to be consumed by your own problems because they are personal and impact you, but it’s important to keep a healthy perspective. When you see that things could be worse, you will feel humble and grateful for your unique journey.
Recovery is a Journey – Not a Destination
Remember that recovery is a process and not a single event. You will learn many things on this journey, and when you hit road bumps, take them as learning opportunities. Eventually, you will learn how to quiet negative self-talk, manage stressful situations and recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
There is no right way to recovery from substance abuse, but do be aware that many people in recovery require ongoing treatment. This does not mean that you have to sit in a treatment center for months, but you may want to consider outpatient treatment centers in Phoenix. These programs are flexible and help you transition into everyday life. To learn more about these services and how they can help you maintain sobriety, contact Continuum Recovery Center today.