“A chat with the Grim Reaper should be enough to scare away any thought of relapse. Wish it were that easy, but not even days conversing with Death can disintegrate the claws of addiction.”
~ Ellen Hopkins, Traffick
A person new to recovery might feel anxious that their hold on their sobriety is still tenuous. That is perfectly understandable, because a recovering addict/alcoholic fresh out of detox is still emotionally fragile and vulnerable.
What may surprise you is how even those individuals in successful recovery – people who have years of sobriety – can also feel the pull of the incurable disease of addiction. For example, many old-timers in Alcoholics Anonymous like to remind themselves that they are “only one drink away” from being exactly where they were before.
“One Day at a Time” Is More Than Just a Slogan
Newly-sober from this substance use disorder are always interested in how the old-timers have been able to do it. Because they are still in the midst of their own struggle, they are sure that there must be some secret that can be passed on.
There is. Hard work, diligence, and continually living their program of recovery every single day.
People who are in successful recovery from this disorder safeguard their sobriety by making changes in their behavior, and they support those changes by also adjusting their way of thinking. Without the proper mindset, it can be easy to slip back into old self-destructive actions.
Good Routines for a Healthy Recovery Can Be Hard to Break, Too
A Substance Use Disorder, drug addiction, is brain disease. The good news is when you work at your recovery, you can strengthen your underdeveloped sobriety the same way. Recovering addicts and alcoholics who are successfully managing their disease engage in daily activities that support their continued sobriety. Their routine might include:
- Reading of recovery literature
- Eating balanced meals
- Attendance at 12-step or other recovery support meetings, if not daily, then regularly, and whenever they feel a need
- Speaking with their sponsor, again, if not daily, then regularly and often
- Taking time every day for gratitude
- Engaging in an enjoyable hobby
Early in recovery, people are taught to never let themselves get too hungry, too tired, or too bored. Each is an invitation for sensations that can be mistaken for cravings.
Avoidance Can Be One of the Keys to Successful Recovery
It’s not enough for a person attempting a successful recovery to just do the right things. Sometimes, recovery depends upon what a person doesn’t do. To maintain their hard-won sobriety, people recovering from substance use disorders need to avoid the people, places, and things that may trigger a relapse.
- People – Not everyone enthusiastically supports recovery. Old friends who still drink and use might be disappointed when their newly-sober friend declines to join them. Still, old habits die hard, and even a person with the best of intentions can succumb to peer pressure.
Therefore, it is a much better idea to distance yourself from any former drinking and/or drugging friends who aren’t living sober lifestyles. If your old friends are still drinking and drugging – find new friends.
Sometimes, it maybe even necessary to move and change your phone number.
- Places – Sometimes a place can call to mind associated experiences, and the power of memory can exert a powerful pull. For that reason, those recovering from substance use disorders should stay away from establishments and events where drinking is the main focus – nightclubs, bars, the street where your supplier lived, for example. If you had a favorite hangout where you and your friends would do drugs together, it’s not a good idea to revisit it, even for “old times’ sake”.
- Things/Routines – If you aren’t careful, your recovery can be jeopardized when you slip into old activities and routines that precipitated drug use. Even something as innocuous as a tailgate party or a backyard barbecue can become problematic if drinking becomes the main focus.
To combat this, newly-sober individuals are encouraged to engage in new hobbies and activities, specifically those that do not involve drinking or the potential for drugging at all.
Successful recovery is not easy or for the faint of heart. Any lapse in attention can directly result in an uncomfortable or tempting situation that could potentially involve a return to substance use then abuse.
Whether you are still using but desiring help, taking your first hopeful steps on the journey of recovery, or you have years of sobriety behind you, Lasting Recovery, the best program for outpatient addiction recovery San Diego has to offer, can give you the assistance and support that you need.