Addicts in any stage of recovery know that staying sober takes an incredible amount of mental resolve and strength and a clear sense of one’s own goals and sense of respect for themselves. It is inevitable that at some point all addicts will face triggers and temptations to use, but that does not mean that it is not possible to stay strong and keep a firm hold of the ideals and beliefs that led to their quest for sobriety in the first place. Here are five ways to stay stronger than your urges and thwart addiction by taking a strong stance on staying sober.
1. Continually Cultivate a Respect For Yourself - Maintaining sobriety is first and foremost a way of maintaining your health both mentally and physically. As you start to develop a real respect and appreciation for the person that who are and the many things you have accomplished, it becomes far less likely that you will damage your body by using drugs. Engage in regular physical activity to strengthen the connection between your mind and body and engage in activities that make you feel spiritually connected to the person you want to be.
2. Develop a Strong Support System - Working through addiction is a major challenge, but surrounding yourself with the right people can help you weather even the toughest of temptations. Regularly attending twelve step programs or another type of group therapy can help you stay focused on shared goals and gives you a group of people to have a candid conversation with during the times that you feel tempted to use.
3. Stay Very Aware of the Things You Are Grateful For - Gratitude is a wonderfully productive emotion because it is reflective of a general respect and love for the people and positive influences around you. Make a point of expressing gratitude to yourself for all of the positive things you have brought into your life. From a job that allows you to pay your bills, to a family that supports you in your quest for health to yourself for making the decision to take care of yourself by getting sober, there is always something you can remind yourself that you are grateful for. The more often you are reminded of what you are happy to have, the stronger your resolve will be to resist the urge to use in an attempt to maintain the things in your life that are so dear to you.
4. Remain Aware of Your Thoughts and Emotions - Many addicts face triggers when they feel certain emotions such as anger, stress, sadness, and anxiety. In recovery, addicts learn to deal with these emotions in healthy ways so that they will not feel that uncomfortable sensations must be dealt with by using. It is important that you utilize these constructive coping tools while also being aware of how you are feeling from day to day. It can be easy to get so busy at work that you do not realize how stressed you are until the feeling is so powerful that it leads to a desire to use. Remain aware of your emotions and take the steps to deal with them before they become overwhelming.
5. Remember Why You Got Sober - Every addict has a different reason for getting sober, but the one thing all of those reasons have in common is that they are much more important and meaningful than an impulse to use. No matter how long you have been sober for, do not lose track of why you became sober in the first place and why you continue to value your life and your health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact us.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.