Why is Staying Sober So Much Easier Said Than Done?
As former addicts, we all know the right things to do. It is actually implementing it and staying sober where things get tough. Where is the line, and what are some things we can do to prevent a relapse from happening?
Staying Sober in Recovery is Hard Work
Naive individuals think a stint in rehab can cure their addiction, and they will emerge from the experience without any additional work necessary. This is not the case. Staying sober after recovery is a challenge, and it takes daily work and dedication towards it in order to be successful.
When the dedication isn’t there, people start to slip. When recovery isn’t at the forefront of the mind, it is much easier to start entertaining the idea of drinking or using drugs. As much as we are told what we need to do, we begin to think otherwise. The severity of addiction becomes a distant memory and the idea that we can handle it becomes a reality.
When addiction and the principles we were taught in rehab fade away from the front of the mind, it is easy to let outside influences in. For example, if you are an alcoholic in recovery, it is easier to see that there is a bar everywhere you turn, and drinking alcohol is a social norm. You may start saying to yourself, if everyone else can do it, I can too! This is usually where things take a turn for the worse.
It is very important to always work on your recovery. It is important to know yourself by identifying causes of relapse and other things you should avoid to protect your sobriety. The reality is that picking up that drink or drug is never worth it. No matter what you say to yourself, it won’t be your only one.
Causes of Relapse and How To Identify Them In Yourself
There are many causes of relapse, but the most important thing you can do is learning what your biggest triggers are. From there, you need to learn how to identify them and be honest about the fact that it is a problem.
Identifying relapse causes require looking at your past and what has brought you to your knees before. Just like addiction treatment, staying sober is a personal endeavor and you need to identify what works for you. In treatment and even after, take the time to recognize patterns in your own thinking that may cause you to relapse.
Common things that can cause relapse include emotional events like a breakup or death of a loved one, or even simply paying less attention to your recovery. Map out what has caused you to stumble in the past, and identify how it can happen in the future. From there, make a game plan for how you are going to get through it, sober.
Do What You Need to do to Stay Sober
Just like identifying causes of relapse, identify situations you should avoid that might remind you of drinking or using drugs. People, places, and things are the biggest causes of relapse, so know what might cause yours.
You can take a piece of paper and write down a list of people who might bring you back down a dark path. You can do the same with situations you should avoid in order to maintain sobriety. Put this list somewhere you can see it daily to remind yourself that you should not put yourself in those situations.
Similarly, make a point to remember what happened when you were at rock bottom. This doesn’t mean to continue beating yourself up about it. Instead, think about what happened and be grateful for how far you have come. Tell yourself that you will never allow things to get to that point again.
Reward Your Recovery
Being an addict in recovery is something to be proud of. Each time you accomplish a milestone, make sure to reward yourself. This will keep you incentivized to do well and to reach your next goal. Set realistic goals for yourself and make sure to review them every day as a reminder to keep working towards them.
When you set recovery goals for yourself, as with everything else, make them personal. They don’t just need to be the standard milestones that everyone celebrates. Getting a new job, getting your own apartment, your own car, a bank account – these can all be great reasons to celebrate. Recognize your progress and keep moving towards your next goal.
Recovery is a personal battle for everyone. You know what to do, just do it. Personalize your plan so that you are more likely to adhere to it. Surround yourself with positive people who will help you reach the goals you set for yourself. At times, it may seem easier to fail. It is always more rewarding to succeed in staying sober.