Achieving sobriety is tough, and so is maintaining it. Here are tips to help you stay on track after you’ve decided to kick your addiction. That being said, these tips aren’t a panacea, and one size doesn’t fit all. Everyone should take the time to adapt these relapse prevention tips to their own situation.
- You’ll have to make sacrifices beyond giving up the drug. If you previously used during specific activities (for example: watching a game on TV, going to concerts, or spending time with friends), you may need to make changes. This might mean notwatching the game, or making new friends who are sober. This can be really hard, but that’s what makes it a sacrifice
- Have a plan for when things get bad, because at some point, they will. People get fired, hearts get broken, and sometimes people leave us forever. Develop a plan to get through these major life challenges–without the use of drugs–before they happen.
- Don’t become complacent with your sobriety. If you someday consider having “just a glass of wine with dinner”, don’t make the decision lightly. If you’ve struggled with addiction in the past, you are much more likely to develop an addiction again.
- If you do relapse, don’t give up. A lot of people find it helpful to keep track of how long they’ve been sober, but don’t confuse this count with the true goal of leading a happy and fulfilling life. If you’re at day 100 of sobriety, that’s great. However, if you make a mistake and end up back at day 0, know that you are not starting over (you have knowledge, experience, and confidence. In other words: Slipping up is not a license to go on a binge.
- Come up with new rituals. How do you celebrate holidays, promotions, or any other happy occasion? If your answer includes any sort of drug, you’ll want to get creative and figure out something new. Go wild with a hobby for the day, treat yourself to a nice dinner, or take a weekend trip. Make sure it’s something you can get excited about.
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