Pursuing the treatment you need to help address substance use challenges is hands-down one of the best decisions you can make. Substance use treatment extends an invitation to take back basic control of your life, as you learn to manage life’s difficulties with evidence-based treatment modalities that can help change your habits and perspective for the better.
If you’re at all familiar with substance use therapy – treatment techniques, withdrawal symptoms, recovery steps, etc. – you know that it’s certainly not an easy road to travel. When you say yes to recovery, it means you’re saying no to drug and alcohol use practices, habits which may very well have governed everyday life for weeks, months, even years of your life. And saying yes to recovery, while rejecting substance use triggers and temptations, isn’t a one-time decision. Rather, every day, and sometimes multiple times a day, you choose recovery over a desire to fall back into self-destructive substance use tendencies.
Once your time receiving treatment for substance use habits comes to an end, sustained sobriety becomes your goal. After all, the latest thing you ever want to do after regaining control of your life is surrender your freedom to drugs or alcohol. That’s why we’ve outlined a few tips to help you stay strong in your sobriety, no matter the obstacles you find yourself facing.
Surround yourself with a strong support system
The strength of your support system can make or break your commitment to sobriety. Surround yourself with a supportive, non-judgemental combination of friends and family members, and you’ll be able to benefit from their support and encouragement in good times and during difficult moments. However, if you choose to socialize with individuals who won’t build you up, especially during moments when you’re in danger of slipping back into self-destructive substance use habits, your support team could actually be held accountable as one of the reasons why you relapse.
Here are a few qualities to look for in the friends, family members, peers, coworkers or other loved ones you choose to include in your support group:
- Non-judgmental at all times
- Live a life reflective of the substance-free life you want
- Capable of defending you from others looking to guilt you into using substances
- Capable of defending you from your own triggers, temptations and self-doubt
- Keep your information and situation confidential
- Available for a visit, email, phone call or text message when you need them
Your support team isn’t meant to function as a crutch; instead, it should consist of men and women who are excited and honored to accompany you on your journey toward and through sobriety. If you’re looking to remain sober in perpetuity after leaving substance use treatment, understand that you cannot do it all alone. Surround yourself with an encouraging, upbeat, supportive group of individuals who truly loves you, people who aren’t afraid to deliver tough love and survive by your side no matter what transpires.
Steer clear of old habits
There’s a reason why you found yourself struggling with substance use challenges the first time. And although there are oftentimes many contributing factors which help determine whether or not you stay sober, habits form so much of who we are.
If you want to stay sober after treatment ends, start by improving the quality of your daily habits. Here are a few quality habits we suggest you consider:
Make sure that you get enough sleep each night.
We suggest 7+ hours per night if possible – to make sure that you’re sufficiently rested to take on the next day. Quality nightly sleep also offers the body a wide variety of important benefits, including improved memory retention, physical healing, enhanced concentration, bolstered immune system functionality and decreased risk of heart disease and depression.
Stick to a simple, healthy diet.
Unsurprisingly, many of the foods we consume on a regular basis – even many of the food items we consider to be on the healthier end of the spectrum – are packed with items that can hinder our health. From artificial ingredients to added sugars, food dyes to chemicals with unpronounceable names, too many packed and non-packaged foods compromise our wellness without ever having the decency to let us know. Look to prioritize natural flavors, deep-colored vegetables and fruits, organic products and short ingredients lists. Healthy ingredients improve both self-confidence, overall energy, mental clarity and more, all of which are factors that can help you stay sober after treatment concludes.
Make time to take care of yourself.
This step isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. We routinely make time during our busy daily schedules for the things we need to do – run to the grocery store, pay the bills, prepare meals, fold laundry, deliver the kids to soccer practice, whatever the next item happens to be on our list of items to accomplish. With a finite number of hours during the day, we are constantly making evaluative decisions about how to spend our time. And so often, though we manage to make time for a variety of other tasks, we forget to prioritize much time at all specifically for ourselves.
Much of sobriety is tied directly to mental health. That’s why getting sufficient nightly sleep, prioritizing natural ingredients and other simple actions are so important: they promote the same mental wellness we call upon every time we need to say no to substance use temptation, and yes to continued sobriety. Taking even 10-20 minutes each and every day strictly for the purpose of bolstering mental wellness is an absolutely critical step, to provide your resolve with the ammunition it needs to continually fight the good fight.
Staying sober with a little help from the professionals
Staying sober after substance use treatment ends is a choice: not a choice you make once in your lifetime, or once at the beginning of each new year, but once every time you’re faced with the temptation to fall back into self-destructive habits. No matter where you find yourself in your journey toward sustained sobriety, Real Recovery is ready to help you make the right decisions on a daily basis. Call 1-855-363-7325 to learn more about our PHP, IOP and Outpatient treatment programs today, or reach out online for help managing and overcoming substance use challenges you might be facing.