If there’s one truth about the addiction recovery process, it’s that change is inevitable. Simply deciding to stop using drugs or alcohol is a significant change, and it takes a lot of mental preparation to reach that point. Once you’ve begun the recovery process, you also quickly discover that many things in your life can no longer be as they were before. Learning how to live a sober lifestyle often means making changes in your social support system, living environment, and even daily routine.
While you may know that change is good, it’s also normal to find it hard to accept that things can no longer be the same. You may wonder if you’ll ever find another place that feels as comfortable as your favorite bar, or you might be nervous about fitting in with a group of new sober friends. Embracing change can sometimes be challenging, but it’s possible to learn to love your new life as you continue your recovery journey.
Why Is Change Important During the Recovery Process?
Continuing to do the same things you did when you were using drugs or alcohol exposes you to triggers that interfere with your recovery process. You might think that you can meet up with your friends for happy hour at the bar, but you have to ask yourself if you can just drink soda when everyone else is drinking alcohol. You might feel like you can simply not do drugs with your roommates, but the truth is that you’ll most likely eventually succumb to temptation. Choosing to find a new hang-out that doesn’t have alcohol makes it easier to stay sober. Although it might be hard, you may also need to find a new place to live if your roommates continue to bring drugs into your home.
What Are the Barriers to Embracing Change in the Recovery Process?
Before you chose to get help with your addiction, you might have been in the precontemplation stage of change, often referred to as denial. Now that you’re sober, you may still face moments where you feel afraid to make significant changes. Understanding why you might be wondering why change is substantial enough to overhaul your life helps you begin to feel better about adjusting your lifestyle and habits.
As you consider making a change in your life, ask yourself if any of these barriers could be affecting your decisions.
- Dealing with the fear of the unknown
- Feeling like you aren’t strong enough to withstand the temptation
- Preferring to keep things comfortable
- Rebelling against other people’s advice
Each of these barriers can stop you from living your best life and reaching your fullest potential. Fortunately, creating a strong support network can help you work through your emotional reaction to change and begin to embrace a new lifestyle.
What Are the Stages of Change Addiction Professionals Can Help With During Your Recovery Process?
Knowing how change happens helps you embrace your new options for a healthier lifestyle. You can also use these stages of change addiction professionals recognize as a springboard for conversations with the people who care about your sobriety. Asking your therapist or a close friend if they think you’re in denial about a problem can shed insight into areas where you need to make changes.
At this point, you likely don’t even feel like you need to make a change. You might feel comfortable continuing what you’re doing or think that you’re still in control. It’s also possible that you haven’t realized that a problem even exists.
Now you know that there’s a problem, but you haven’t decided to do anything about it yet. An example of this stage is knowing that you can’t avoid drugs or alcohol if you stay in your apartment, but you haven’t found a new place to live yet.
This is the most critical stage for relapse prevention. This stage is also called the information and gathering phase. Researching potential solutions to your problem gives you a better chance of making the best decisions for change.
Once you’ve done your research, you can put your plan into action. This stage requires you to spend a great deal of time and energy making positive changes in your life that help your recovery.
You might have to adjust your changes during the action stage until you find what works the best. In this final stage, you simply keep doing what you’re doing to continue thriving in your recovery.
What Changes Help the Most With Relapse Prevention?
Everybody’s pre-sobriety life is different, which means you might not make the same changes as other people in your recovery group. However, there are some common changes that most people will need to embrace.
Environmental changes are widespread. You’ll want to avoid places that serve as triggers, such as pool halls and certain people’s houses. You may even need to move to a new home that helps you stay away from things that tempt you to use drugs or alcohol.
Changes in your activities and social groups are also helpful. For example, choosing to watch a game at home with your sober friends instead of going to a tailgate party can help you stay sober. Although these changes might be hard at first, you’ll soon begin to see the answers to why the difference happening in your life is essential. Closer relationships, better health, and general happiness are all just waiting for you to make a change.
Located in Nashville, TN, NRhythm is a community that supports sober living. In our sober living community, you can find a team of recovery professionals who are passionate about helping people embrace change and overcome addiction.