When you make the decision to quit an addiction to drugs or alcohol, staying from substance abuse is not the only change you will need to make in your life. Addiction usually means that a person's whole life revolves around their abuse and most of their habits are developed as a means to keep drinking or using drugs.
Recovery is the start of a new life and that means that several aspects of your life need to be changed in order for you to remain sober permanently. There is so much more to sobriety than simply giving up a substance; for some people it means completely turning things around and changing their hobbies, friends, job, or anything that is necessary to keep themselves away from triggers and temptations.
Here are some of the many important changes that can help you stay sober.
Stay Away from People or Places that Could be Triggering
The reality of recovering from addiction is that you might have to change a lot of your daily habits that contributed to your behavior. That could mean staying away from certain friends or places where you used to hang out all the time.
If some of your old friends are still addicts, it might not be a good idea to spend time with them especially if they are not supportive about your decision to quit. Being in a situation where you will be tempted is the more dangerous thing you can do especially in early recovery.
Be Honest with Yourself and Others
A major change for many addicts is learning to let go of lies that they tell themselves and the people in their life in order to continue abusing drugs or alcohol. While in recovery you can try to rid yourself of any remaining denial you might have about your abuse and practice being more truthful to other people. This might seem hard at first but opening up to people and being honest about your thoughts and actions will improve your relationships and make it easier to remain sober.
Create a Support System
Having people you can talk to or call in an emergency is one of the key factors in staying sober. While addicted you may have been more inclined to isolate yourself and dwell on your problems alone without asking for help from anyone.
As a sober person you need to learn to reach out for help when you are struggling and develop a support system that will always be there for you in times of need. You should have a list of five friends or family members you can call when you feel like using or are dealing with difficult emotions.
Stay Busy as Much as Possible
Too much boredom or downtime can be dangerous when you are in recovery. As an addict you probably filled up your free time through substance abuse and when you are sober you might not know what to do with yourself when there is nothing scheduled.
It is important to create a busier schedule to keep your mind off of drinking or using drugs. This could mean working more, getting involved in more hobbies or taking classes so that you fill up your free time and do not risk the kind of boredom that can lead to relapse.
Focus On Your Health
While you were addicted you might have developed unhealthy eating habits, avoided exercise and spent too much time being sedentary. Healthier habits can boost your mood and help you cope with stress in more effective ways.
Making it a habit to practice good nutrition, exercise regularly and minimize sedentary activities can make it easier to stay sober because you will feel better physically and mentally throughout your recovery.