by Molly Mammen
How will I handle not drinking?
An essential part of getting sober is learning how to live life without the use of a substance. In many ways, alcoholism is the ultimate coping mechanism to take away or “cure” your feelings — up until the time that it doesn’t.
Sobriety requires individuals to come up with a new set of skills to handle all of the emotions that would lead the alcoholic to a drink, whether it be sadness, anger, or even happiness. When that has been the habit for one year, five years, 20 years, it can feel like a daunting task, and maybe even impossible — but it’s not!
Engaging in activities like a 12-step fellowship or continuing with therapy after treatment is how that new tool kit gets formed. It takes time and a lot of work, but eventually, you can get to the place where you can take on all the ups and downs of life without a drink.
What happens if I go home and things don’t work out?
It’s always scary to leave the safe treatment environment and head back to the real world. Certain commitments and obligations require returning home to the same people, places, and things for some people. This is definitely a tough scenario, but certainly not impossible!
If a stumble occurs when you return home, you may have to take a long hard look in the mirror to see what you really need. It could be that rather than being home in an apartment on your own, you’ll need to look into sober living environments in the area. It may be that certain factors you returned to, like work or school, are really just too much, and you may need to evaluate whether you can continue in these roles at the moment. It could also be that there is just more work to be done, and that could mean more meetings, continued therapy, or possibly a return to treatment. In the instance that things aren’t working out, you have to be honest with yourself about what is truly going to be the best next step for you and your sobriety.
How will I stay sober after treatment?
Practice what you’ve learned! Treatment sets you up to return to life with new insights into yourself as well as strategies for how to not fall back into old habits. The most crucial piece in staying sober after treatment is to take suggestions.
For many addicts and alcoholics, the most challenging thing is getting out of their own way and listening to others’ guidance. Even though it isn’t easy, you have to remember that your therapist, your case manager, your sponsor, etc., have your best interest in mind, and the suggestions that they provide to you are to help you get to a place of being happy, healthy and sober.
Sobriety after treatment is all about installing what you’ve learned, putting it into practice, and continuing to build on that foundation.
The FHE Health Alumni team is available to answer questions about early recovery and mental health issues. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.