Early recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism presents many rewards and challenges. Most recovering addicts can attest to the fact that their worst day sober is better than their best day loaded.
Recovery is about more than just abstaining from your substance of choice. It’s about creating a new life for yourself. That is the heart of addiction recovery. Engaging in healthy activities and enjoying the company of healthy people will help you navigate how to stay sober.
Here are some tips for staying sober to help you in early recovery.
Five Tips for Staying Sober
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is about training your mind to focus on the present – learn to live in the moment. Grieving over the past and worrying about the future can poison the beautiful present that you are trying to create for yourself.
Meditation is the most common practice to achieve mindfulness; this practice is called “mindfulness meditation.”
Mindfulness meditation should be done every day for at least 15 to 30 minutes. In addition to helping you focus on the present, mindfulness helps you react less angrily and judgmental to people and situations, which will allow you to have less stress and conflicts.
2. Work with a Sponsor
There is a difference between “getting a sponsor” and “working with a sponsor.” First, you should find a home group, which is a meeting that you primarily go to and focus on. You should acquire a sponsor at your home group because you will be able to see them most often and can work with them on the topics mentioned at the group that you primarily go to.
A sponsor is your go-to person for collaboration on your recovery. Their experience will help them console you and work with you on the steps and tools. However, your sponsor is not responsible for your sobriety. They can only offer you tips for staying sober. You are the creator of your destiny.
3. Make Sober Friends
The friendships that you had during your active addiction were not true friendships. They were only based on having a daily common goal, which was getting high. The friends that you had during your active addiction are not healthy people; therefore, they are a detriment to your recovery.
Even if they are getting into recovery, they still should not be a part of your recovery.
Making new sober friends is key to success in recovery because you are all working towards one healthy goal, which is living a meaningful life of recovery. Sober friends can empathize with and understand you in a way that other people cannot.
You and your sober friends can collaborate on solutions to solve issues that arise in recovery. Since they are also working on recovery, you do not have to worry about them asking you to go to parties or events that center around alcohol or drugs. Sober friends are healthy people, and being around healthy people is a necessity in recovery.
You should not start a new romantic relationship until you are 6 months sober to a one year sober because you need to figure out yourself first.
4. Work on Self-Improvement
Working on character defects is a major part of recovery. Though you may not be actively using, you may still be behaving like a person who is actively using.
An active addicts defects of character (e.g. self-righteousness, anger, selfishness, etc.) are called the “isms” of the disease. Acronyms for “ism” are “internal spiritual malady,” “I, self, me,” and “I sponsor myself.”
Self-improvement is a function of honestly assessing your defects of character and trying your best to improve them on a daily basis. A Fourth Step Inventory Book can help you address your defects of character and come up with ways of improving them.
Eating healthy, exercising, reading, and taking up new hobbies are a few activities that can help tremendously when replacing old habits with new habits.
5. Be Patient With Yourself
Progress is what matters in recovery – not perfection. Recovery is a lifelong process that consists of constant learning through trial and error. You cannot expect to make massive amounts of progress in months. True progress takes years.
In the meantime, be patient with yourself. Setting unrealistic expectations and pushing yourself too hard when you are no more than 6 months sober can be more of a detriment than a benefit.
Sober Living Communities for Addiction Recovery
Living in a sober living facility is an excellent choice for early recovery. Sober living communities allow you to be in the company of other newly-recovering individuals while slowly transitioning into life in recovery.
The environments are 100 percent drug and alcohol-free, and recovery activities (e.g. 12 step meetings, SMART Recovery, meditation, etc.) are a part of the daily itinerary.
NRhythm is a sober living community located in Nashville, TN. Our team of recovery professionals is passionate about helping men overcome addiction so that they are free to be the best versions of themselves.