Recovery from material abuse is a lengthy process that requires your full devotion. But at the same time, you have to realize that sobriety is not the end that you want to achieve but a process that you would need to adhere to. Unless you make it your lifestyle, the fear of relapsing looms over your head. After being through the recovery process, you already know how much effort to achieve this goal. So, you would want to do everything to stick to it and avoid relapse. But the truth is most people achieve sobriety but let this chance slip through their hands just because they became a little lazier. Therefore, today we will discuss how you can stick to sobriety, but first, you must know what it means and how to face its challenges.
What does sobriety mean?
In simple terms, sobriety means the state of not being under the influence of any substance. However, there are still different approaches to defining this term. The 12-step meeting program refers to sobriety as a state of total recovery from substance abuse and never going back to it. But the same term is also defined as recovery and development of coping mechanisms to support a healthy lifestyle and habits. However, we can assume a definition that embraces both descriptions above. For instance, total abstinence can be the end goal, but coping mechanisms and developing healthy habits are the means to reach the end.
According to stats, among those who have achieved total sobriety, 80% of them had at least one relapse. Similarly, it might be more difficult for some people, and they may have more setbacks along the way. Extensive free resources have been dedicated to spreading awareness about drug addiction and its role. These resources can help those on the path of recovery but also aids people struggling with a relapse. Now that we know what relapse means let’s understand how to stay committed to sobriety.
How to stick to sobriety?
Staying committed to sobriety needs more than your perseverance and willpower to avoid going into a relapse. There are various other techniques and tools that you must follow to reinforce your commitment from time to time.
- Identify your trigger
Before avoiding what caused your relapse, you need to identify your triggers. What was it that motivated you enough to go back on this scary path? Was it because of some people, things, or places? Or is it because of peer pressure that elicited and amplified your cravings? For some people, triggers are present internally. Their feelings and emotions instigate them to go back and experience the same sensations once again. The stress triggers others in their personal or professional life, environmental cues, or meeting people having fun with alcohol or other substances. So, before you try to avoid it, you must know what to avoid and identify the most pronounced triggers in your life.
- Don’t be ignorant of the Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS)
PAWS happens when you experience withdrawal symptoms after you have been through the acute withdrawal phase. They last even after the initial detox process. So, you have to stay prepared for the PAWS too. These symptoms often include mood-related irritants such as anxiety, fatigue, sleep problems, anger, and the like. The period of PAWS can vary depending on the type of addiction you had. It can span from six months to two years after the cessation of drug use.
Often this period is an impediment on your road to full recovery and your ability to stick to long-term sobriety. But, as much as it is crucial to stay vigilant about the symptoms, seeking prompt help is also essential, lest you de-track.
- Develop healthy relationships
People around you give you a dose of energy and good habits. So, surround yourself with people who help you stay sober. Your acquaintances should be those who can become role models and encourage you to be a better version of yourself. Once you have achieved sobriety, you can easily identify a bad company that led you to this state. You have to detach yourself from all the toxic people and behavior. Despite feeling a pull towards them, it is essential to filter your relationships and eliminate those hindering your growth and baring you from fulfilling your commitment to sobriety.
Stay near friends and family who help you see the hope and the light at the end of a dark passage. Don’t spare a second before doing it, even if it means estrangement from your closed relationship. No one says this is easy or does not require a continuous evaluation of your relationship, but one thing is certain that it is possible.
- Don’t discontinue the 12-step meeting
Even if you have achieved sobriety, the need for reinforcement and peer support is still a reality. There, you find struggling people, so you can see the blessing in being sober. These get-togethers provide you with a platform to know a community of strugglers evolving and growing in their journey. Therefore, these meetings are also recommended to those further moved in their recovery phase.
Staying sober is a continuous struggle. A complete detox does not mean you can go back to parties where alcohol is pouring or be part of the groups where drugs are common. Being sober is now your responsibility because, to be honest, the professionals have done their job already.