5 Secrets to Staying Sober
Addiction isn’t the problem. Counter intuitive, I know. It’s the raw bits- the maw of addiction, it’s the reason behind the self-medicating that’s the problem. Once you’ve mastered how to respond to stress, anxiety, depression, rage, and so on, you’ll be free to relinquish the bonds your substance of choice has over you.
Staying sober isn’t about not being addicted, it’s about learning how to master yourself, and finding alternative outlets of expression. People With substance use disorders turn to addictive substances to mend a pain, numb crippling devastations, and silence inner demons. That’s why the artist paints- the musician sings- the writer writes.
Finding your venue of expression after rehabilitation is the key to staying sober. We’re going to teach you five secrets on how to unlock this potential inside of you, and how to find your voice, ringing far above your substance(s) of choice.
1. Learn to Love YOU
Get beneath the negation, the lies you tell yourself everyday to keep you upright and functioning- let it all hang out, and stare into the naked truth of your being. If you are unable to accept yourself at your absolute lowest, you will struggle for your entire life in your search for validation.
You’ll seek it in others, but it will never be enough, because your own sense of worth is the guiding light prompting you forward into your new life.
Learning how to accept yourself, when you’ve lived your entire life scouring at mirrors and speaking poison to yourself is no easy feat. Many use daily affirmations to help power through self-odium to self-love. Try our 14 Daily Affirmations to Boost Your Self Esteem,
When your initial reaction is to bottle your emotions, and therefore create the very environment conducive to substance use disorders, you must say to yourself: “I deserve to feel.” Embrace yourself as you would your family, or a small puppy. Until you can invite love inwardly, you will always struggle to combat urges.
2. Find Your Passion
You know the adage, “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life?” Well it’s true for both professional life and recovery. One of the biggest challenges of post-treatment is learning to live again without needing addictive substances to help manage your way to hollowed fulfillment.
Fill your time with something you love to do, and eventually like will attract like. If you’re like most in this predicament, you may not think you have a “passion.” I beg to differ. Have you ever seen something, or experienced something that has touched your heart?
For me it was my fascination with the “Steps to Publishing” posters plastered in every one of my elementary school classes. I must have copied those six steps 100 times. I didn’t care that I already had a copy. I didn’t care that I knew all the steps. All I knew, is that one day I wanted to publish something. I knew I had to write.
If you cannot directly evoke anything to mind, think of skills you’ve always wanted to learn. Now is the ideal time to explore new life experiences that will help paint the rest of your life, and spirit you to continued sobriety.
So yes! Go and take that art class, join a drama group, grab the guitar, meet up with local artists and learn how to wire wrap, pick up a camera and show us the world through your perspective!
3. Keep Busy, Stay Active, Always- Like Right Now!
An active mind is a happy mind. You must always find ways to stimulate yourself- avoid boredom like the plague! Buy tickets to those concerts, go and enjoy the beauty of your neighborhood, why not go camping? Pick up the classic you’ve always wanted to read. Challenge yourself at work to complete ambitious goals.
The more we are involved in, and committed to, the better we focus on things other than using; in fact, we don’t focus on not using, and sometimes that is our biggest source of anxiety. Learn how to fill the space, and you’ll forget you ever had to worry about using at all.
Exercising daily and eating things high in essential vitamins that stimulate the production of serotonin will help you dramatically. Check out our post-recovery nutrition guide.
4. Surround Yourself with People You Love
People need people- especially after rehabilitation. Surrounding yourself around people with similar interests as you will help keep you stimulated, and will combat feelings of loneliness- a common trigger of use and relapse. Constructing a support system is essential for you to square away early on, as you may need to reach out to your group on darker days.
It’s completely normal to have off days, but being surrounded by people who love you will help take the edge off, and may even make those feelings pass. When we’re surrounded with people we love and enjoy your levels of depression decrease, as do our stress levels.
Friends make the world go round!
5. Adopt a Pet– Really, I’m Not Crazy
Animals have the great capacity to teach us how to love. Pets create structure in our lives, and teach us how to care for another living being. Dogs, Cats, Birds, Rabbits- you name it- share love with us, and remind us that we are worthy of love.
In the throes of my own depression, my kittens (of which, I have four- don’t judge me!) were one of the only sources of light that could make me feel better- or anything at all. There are thousands of animals sitting in shelters right now waiting to love you.
And you’ll love them back.
Learning to love again isn’t easy. But loving a furry creature is a lot easier than trusting humans (unfortunately.) Animals offer companionship, and are eternal fonts of joy. If you think a puppy or a kitten will require too much training there are thousands of older dogs, cats- what have you- in need of homes, who will share just as much love with you– especially because you’ve rescued them from a place they’ve probably been locked away in for months, if not years.
In that regard, they’re a lot like us.
What are your sober tips?
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.