Once a person realizes that being clean and sober is truly the best way to live a fulfilling life, free of the destruction that comes with addiction, it is time to identify some of the best coping skills for staying sober. Each person is different and may have their routine for keeping their recovery positive; however, being openminded and taking suggestions and putting them into action is what recovery is about. We’ve put together our top five suggestions.
Have Sober Friends
One of the best ways that a person can achieve happiness while sober is to hang with other like-minded people. All addicts and alcoholics will tell you once they got clean and sober how lonely they were when they were on drugs or alcohol. People in recovery attain peace of mind when they realize that they are not unique and that there are a zillion other recovering addicts and alcoholics who share the same story. Connecting with people who have also ruined their lives because of drinking and drugging but who also got honest about their problem is how people in recovery get the support that they need.
If a person in recovery believes that they can do it alone and their way, they will not remain sober. The healing that occurs when a person has a true friendship that is not based on how to get and remain high or drunk, and all the other craziness that goes with that lifestyle, is powerful and rewards people in recovery beyond what they have ever known. The best part about having friends in recovery is that they show up when a person needs them. Sober friends also never forget to support someone when they need it. Friends in recovery are closer to most recovering alcoholics and addicts than their own family.
Lots of Meetings, lots of Support
People in new recovery are told to go to as many meetings, either 12 step or other recovery-focused groups for a reason. By going to meetings, a person LEARNS HOW TO STAY SOBER. Most addicts and alcoholics don’t like or desire to go to meetings, at first. The reason for this is obvious. People who have survived life drunk or high don’t want to be told how not to do it, much less encouraged to stay sober. This phase always ends. Once a person has decided they need help and are willing to accept suggestions and follow through with them, meetings become a place for more answers on how to enjoy recovery.
Recovery is not abstinence. Being content with life while clean and sober takes work. By going to meetings regularly, recovering addicts and alcoholics learn how to get peace of mind. Meetings are also where addicts and alcoholics make friends and get a sponsor or rely on another person for their wisdom. Meetings are why people with decades of sobriety continue to go. They see and feel the difference a meeting makes on their outlook on life.
Exercise and Be Healthy
Exercise is a proven way to relieve stress and to build self-esteem. Once a person attains sobriety, they still need to blow off steam, and a good hard workout does just this. For some, a long walk is also a great way to get exercise and to clear the mind. It is not uncommon for many addicts and alcoholics to substitute their addictions with eating everything in sight. This is fine for a few months or even years, but unfortunately, the pounds will add up, and this is not only unhealthy but for some addicts especially meth addicts, could lead them back to getting high to lose weight.
Aside from managing weight, exercise also builds self-esteem. For most people in general when their muscles get bigger or their waistline decreases they feel really good. This also helps people in recovery get a healthy emotional lift. Addicts and alcoholics, even once sober, are prone to desire things that make them feel better. Exercise is a win-win all around for people in recovery. Some caution should be made as to how much or intense the exercise is. Again, it is the disposition of all recovering addicts and alcoholics to do things in extremes. Meaning if one mile of running felt great then ten will feel even better. Careful to not overdo it or develop another addiction or problem.
Take Inventory Daily
Taking inventory of our past is one of the first steps people do in all 12 step programs. Other programs or counseling also have recovering addicts, and alcoholics review their past hurts, regrets, fears, and anger. Essentially by reviewing the past, a person in recovery is learning the reasons they drank or took drugs. These reasons fade the longer a person is in recovery, but new reasons do appear. Although most people in recovery do not act on the new reasons and do not relapse, however, unless they take inventory about what is bothering them, they will suffer.
A daily inventory means that a person talks about what hurt, anger, or fear occurred- so that those feelings don’t build up. By working with a sponsor, counselor, or another person in sobriety, addicts, and alcoholics find that their problems aren’t as huge as they originally thought. A daily inventory can be done by merely writing down what affected them and how they handled it. Later the list or lists of the last couple of days needs to be brought to the person that is helping them in recovery.
Without a daily review/inventory, the state of a person’s recovery can begin to decline. At the end of each day ask: Who hurt or angered me? What part of me was threatened (social security, financial security, ego, etc.)? And what was my part in the situation? Then take your answers to the person you rely on for support in your recovery.
Develop a Passion
For recovering addicts and alcoholics, although their obsession to drink and do drugs is gone, their obsessive mind remains. There is not a single recovering addict or alcoholic who will not admit that they obsess on things. By developing a passion this is a healthy way to obsess on something. Each person is different, and some may decide they want to return to playing music, building cars, painting and creating art, working with children, gardening, writing, exploring new places to travel, building their spirituality, and finally a very common passion that people in recovery all develop in time is helping other addicts and alcoholics discover peace of mind in sobriety.
As long as a person is sober, they need outlets to express themselves. Many recovering addicts and alcoholics return to school or a job that they once loved, and it becomes their passion. No matter what you have a passion for doing – go for it. This is your free pass to obsess and make it great.