The choice to become and stay sober is one of the hardest decisions many adults make. It’s not easy to break an addiction to mood-altering substances. These have been your main way to cope with the ups and downs of life.
Now that you’ve decided to commit to sober living, you may be wondering how to incorporate sobriety into your new life. You may be afraid that you won’t be able to stay sober without the structures of a sober living house. You might have even tried to stay sober many times before.
There aren’t easy or quick fixes on how to overcome addictions and stay sober. But there are some tips that make your sobriety lifestyle journey easier. Keep reading for 8 ways on how you can practice sober living for long-term results and success.
1. Start a Journaling Habit
One of the best allies in your sobriety journey is starting a journal to document your thoughts, feelings, and struggles. Journaling can help you to identify your triggers and relapse cues.
Each time you get tempted to drink or use, think about what triggered it and write it down. You can then come up with a plan to deal with or avoid future triggers. You can also use your journal to write down your goals, lists of books or movies you want to read or watch, places you want to visit, etc.
The journal can also be a place for you to create a daily log of events. Then you can look back at it and track your growth. Some use their journals to write gratitude lists, a powerful habit that prevents you from feeling sorry for yourself.
2. Create an Exercise Routine
One of the reasons why drugs and alcohol are so addictive is that they give the body a dopamine rush. Dopamine makes us feel good by stimulating the reward centers of our brain. Unfortunately, drugs artificially stimulate the brain to release dopamine more effectively and intensely than natural rewards.
Once you have sobered up from substance abuse you can train your brain to get dopamine from healthy activities. One of the best dopamine-releasing activities is daily exercise. Other than dopamine release, exercise has many benefits for former addicts.
Firstly, it reduces depression. So, if you turned to alcohol or drugs as a way of coping with depression, exercise is a great alternative.
Exercise will also help you lose weight and build a good-looking physique. This will increase your self-esteem and help you feel better on the inside and out. Finally, exercise will fill up your time so that you have fewer chances to think about your addiction.
There are several ways to exercise and you can start today no matter what your budget. YouTube has a huge variety of exercise routines that you can follow from your home. You can also get some fresh air and sunshine and go for an outdoor walk or run.
If you have funds, you can also sign up at a gym or swimming pool and work out there daily. You could also pay for a personal trainer that could write up a personalized fitness plan for you. Another great way to exercise is to join a sports team or league. This is a great way to keep fit and make friends.
3. Grow Your Finances
Many former addicts used most of their money paying for drugs and alcohol. Now that you are sober, you can dedicate your time to building a great financial portfolio.
Start by getting a job or starting a business. This will take up most of your time so that you don’t have a chance to relapse. Save at least 10% of your income so that you have an emergency fund in case you need to pay for an unexpected bill. You should also save another 10% of your income for investment activities.
This can go into a mutual fund or you could research other investment vehicles. Seeing your money grow every month could be a great high that replaces the high you got from your addiction. Your growing bank accounts will also make your life easier as you will be able to pay for your daily and future needs.
4. Find a Spiritual Practice
Staying sober will not be easy without help and support. Many people who’ve had an issue with addiction have reported that having a spiritual practice made it easier to stay sober. You can join a church, meditate, read a spiritual book, practice yoga, etc.
There are different ways to connect with a deeper feeling of purpose. Your practice will help you to deal with difficult emotions like shame and guilt. They may give you a path to forgive yourself and those that hurt you.
If you aren’t spiritual, consider joining a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. These are in almost any city and could be a great resource for your sober lifestyle.
5. Sign Up For Therapy
Therapy is a great way to deal with the underlying issues that led you to addiction and prevent relapses. Therapists also help addicts come to deal with difficult emotions like anger and find coping mechanisms for difficult situations. In case you have an undiagnosed mental health condition a therapist may also uncover it and recommend the right treatment.
Many people who identify as former addicts avoid therapy either due to the cost or they may have had a bad experience with one. This is why it’s important to research the options available before signing up with a particular therapist. Find out the type of therapy you are comfortable with and then pursue that option.
You can also have an initial discussion with potential therapists to see if you are comfortable with them. In case cost is an issue, check whether there are cheaper options available at a community center or church near you. You could also try online therapists as they tend to be much cheaper.
6. Have a Strict Daily Routine
One of the keys to success when pursuing a sober lifestyle is to have a rigid daily routine. Structure every minute of your day and leave no space for distractions and spiraling thoughts. An open schedule leaves room for slipping back into old behaviors.
If you wake up without a clear idea of what you need to do, you will end up reaching for your addiction. But a routine allows you to get up and work on your life goals. For instance, if you want to lose weight, you know that every day you must have at least 30 mins of exercise.
So write down the times that you will wake up, exercise, go to work, meet friends, have your meals, read, and go to sleep. You can then program these times into your phone’s calendar and set up reminders and alarms if needed.
7. Celebrate Milestones
As you progress with your sober lifestyle, don’t forget to celebrate each milestone that you reach. Recognizing how far you have come motivates you to stay the course of sobriety. Reward yourself for every month that you stay sober.
At the year mark, consider something big like going on holiday or buying yourself a car. Knowing that you get a reward for staying sober will motivate you to stay the course. Also, the longer you stay sober the harder it becomes for you to relapse because you won’t want to give up the wins.
8. Sign Yourself Into A Sober Living Facility
Another great tip to succeed at sober living is to live at one of the best sober living homes in your area. A sober living home is a facility that provides a safe and structured living environment for recovering addicts. It acts as a bridge between strict treatment centers and normal life.
Residents at a sober living facility must adhere to curfews and group meeting attendance. But they are free to come and go as they please and have control over their daily routines. If you have just left a rehab facility and are worried about whether you can maintain a sober lifestyle, this may be a good option for you.
Learn the Best Ways to Practice Sober Living
Former addicts that are now committed to sober living find that they must change their daily routines and habits. As someone struggling with addiction, your social life is centered around using drugs or consuming alcohol.
If you want to stay sober, you’ll have to find new activities to replace the time you used to spend drinking or using. You may even have to cut off some of your friends that are still entrenched in your former lifestyle.
Sober living is a daily commitment to predetermined habits and rituals that keep you away from your addictions. The keys to success for sober living are a structured routine and lots of healthy support. So, create a routine filled with activities that will help you achieve your goals.
You should also get as much support as you can from a therapist, 12 step program, a spiritual practice, and new friends. For more information about sober living, use our directory to find a sober living home near you.