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8 Tips for Staying Sober After Addiction Treatment

For those with a substance use disorder (SUD), the decision to get sober is never easy. It requires radically changing their lives and goes beyond not just drinking or using drugs. 

Many choose to begin their journey by entering a rehabilitation center to receive substance abuse treatment. 

No matter the type of treatment program, you will undergo counseling and therapy, and create a support system with fellow sober people. 

Staying in an inpatient or detox program where you can step away from life stressors for an extended amount of time is a great way to focus solely on recovery. 

However, upon leaving, many find it hard to deal with the harsh realities of life while avoiding alcohol or drugs. So, to help with the transition, here are eight tips for staying sober after addiction treatment


  • Utilize Aftercare Services 


Just because you stopped attending sessions at or living in a rehabilitation center does not mean you don’t have access to addiction resources. 

Aftercare addiction recovery programs, such as 12-step meeting groups (AA, NA) are great places to connect with others who have recovered from an SUD and are living happy and content sober lives. 


  • Rebuild Physical and Mental Health 


In an active addiction, many chose to avoid their health. Getting high or drunk felt good enough, and things like working out, eating right, or even sleeping were not thought about. 

Now that you have obtained some physical sobriety, it’s a chance to rebuild your body and mind. Studies show that substance use recovery and diet are important in preventing a relapse. Look into taking some fun exercise classes, finding new healthy foods you enjoy, and speaking with a therapist or psychiatrist once a week. 


  • Acquire New Hobbies or Reignite Old Ones


Along with ignoring physical and mental health, many people in active addictions put aside hobbies in favor of a substance’s pleasurable effects. 

Pick up an instrument, sport, or mind game you loved as a kid. You can also express yourself through an artistic medium to deal with new feelings in sobriety. 


  • Be Patient


In most rehabilitation centers and 12-step meetings, you’ll hear the saying “one day at a time.” 

This saying means that it’s important to understand that recovery is not a race; rather, it’s a marathon that requires endurance and patience. Life will still be filled with challenges and obstacles. 

However, now that you’re sober, you have the chance to also feel the triumphs and victories that come along with it. Even if things seem uncomfortable in the present, things will usually get better in the future. 


  • Change Your Environment


Avoiding old hangouts, situations, or even people you used to get intoxicated with may be necessary when first trying to attain sobriety. Even though these places and people may have been your only friends for some time, you are now trying to change yourself, and being in that environment could spark feelings to use. 

Staying away from past triggers is one of the five rules of recovery laid out by the National Library of Medicine. Lean into friendships and relationships that have proven to be healthy for you, find a new place to live if need be, and do what you can to get out of an environment associated with drug or alcohol use.


  • Connect with People 


Isolation, alienation, and avoiding others is often a through-line in the stories of people with an SUD. Often, you can’t show up for others because you’re so caught up in an addiction. 

Spend time with people you love, including those who may have been hurt during active addiction. You can also take the time to reach out to those who have less sober time and make them feel welcome. This will build your support system, and make you feel good about helping someone else with the same disease. 


  • Maintain a Schedule 


The life of someone in active addiction is very hectic, adding much stress and anxiety to the mind and body. 

By setting up and staying dedicated to a daily schedule, you will feel less disorganized and chaotic. This can help you maintain a peaceful, serene mind, and avoid relapse. 


  • Understand Relapse May Happen 


No one is perfect, and this includes your recovery process. Sometimes, you must try things out more than once to fully embrace sobriety. 

It’s no surprise that the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that 40% to 60% of people with SUDs relapse. However, this figure should not deter you from seeking recovery. 

Relapse is part of many people’s sober journey. In fact, hearing about how you regained sobriety after a relapse can help someone else going through a similar struggle. 

Final Words

Attaining life-long sobriety will require a shift in perspective, lifestyle, and attitude. It will not be easy, but if you utilize these eight tips, you may find yourself with a prosperous sober life. 


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