Seeking treatment is an important first step in freeing yourself from addiction. However, the recovery process is ongoing, spanning the rest of your life. You may go years without feeling the effects of your addiction, then be surprised with a rough patch. Using the skills you learn throughout treatment is essential for ongoing success.
Here are six practical tips to help you maintain your sobriety, whether you’re aiming for one week, one year, or a decade.
Engage in New Activities
Shift your mindset to see recovery as an opportunity to learn new skills and try hobbies you’ve always wanted to try. Many hobbies and skill-building activities can also be therapeutic. Art therapy for addiction recovery is a prime example of how you can incorporate your creativity and thirst for knowledge into a recovery-centric passion.
Take some time to write down skills or activities you’ve always wanted to try. Then, work on moving through that list until you find something that resonates with you. Don’t be afraid to be a beginner in your craft.
Connect with Others
One of the first things people do when trying to overcome addiction is run a Google search for an AA meeting near me or drug rehab near me. This action speaks to a deep desire to connect with others going through the same process.
Connecting with others can help you see that you’re not alone as you navigate the recovery journey. It can also be helpful to see those who have found success reaching notable milestones in their recovery. There tends to be a lot of guilt during the recovery process as you come to terms with how your actions have impacted those you love. Connecting with others on the same path can help you learn self-compassion and forgiveness as you start this chapter of your life.
Seek Professional Support
In addition to connecting with others on the path to recovery, it’s also wise to seek professional support. Support options vary depending on your individual needs and experience. While some people facing addiction need an inpatient rehab program with access to a MAT doctor, others thrive in an outpatient environment that allows them to continue working and interacting with their loved ones every day.
Addiction and substance abuse is often linked to underlying trauma. Working with a professional counselor can help you process those traumas and move past them, increasing your chances of success with recovery. Furthermore, they can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms and a relapse risk plan when triggers inevitably arise.
Put a Trigger Plan in Place
You can change your lifestyle and habits to minimize your exposure to triggers. However, avoiding triggers entirely isn’t possible. Life happens, and you never know when you’ll run into someone from your past or experience a stressful event, like a family death.
Some triggering situations aren’t necessarily bad. Many alcoholics struggle with positive events like weddings where alcohol is present. They don’t want to face temptation, but it’s equally important for them not to miss an event that’s important to their loved ones.
Put a plan in place for when triggers arise and how you’ll work through them. Similarly, work with your support team (professionals, family members, etc.) to develop a relapse plan. This plan should include the signs of an impending relapse, what to do when this occurs, and important phone numbers for professional support.
Prioritize the Foundations of Wellness
The key tenements of health and wellness include quality sleep, stress management, nutrition and hydration, and physical exercise or movement. While these are vital for everyone’s health and wellness, those facing addiction should prioritize these tenements for a successful recovery.
These factors impact everything from cognition to hormonal regulation to emotional processing. Prioritizing these areas of your life will minimize your relapse risk and exposure to triggers, while nourishing your body and mind.
It’s helpful to create structured habits and routines to help you incorporate these focal points into your day. For example, creating a sleep routine and consistency in your bedtime. You might set a small goal of incorporating a serving of vegetables into every meal. As you become more established, you can layer habits and routines to create a new, healthy lifestyle.
Celebrate Your Progress
Finally, celebrate your progress. Take the time to express gratitude and acknowledge every milestone. Share your story with others and reward yourself with a small treat or gift every time you accomplish a goal or make it through a rough patch.
Recovery is an ongoing process, but with these strategies, you can maintain your sobriety for the long haul.