Throughout my life I have had a long battle with alcohol and drug abuse. In this post I’ll give you some tips on how I got and stayed sober. A big part of becoming sober is breaking the vicious cycle of addiction that you’re in. The way I broke this vicious cycle was by asking for help because I tried to do it on my own numerous times and it just didn’t pan out for me. After getting sober I needed to build a support network to maintain my sobriety.
Asking For Help
The power of addiction to drugs and alcohol is huge. Even after overdosing 3 times and having very near death experiences I still inevitably went back to the bottle and drugs. I truly wanted to quit but I just couldn’t do it, I didn’t have the strength in me to overcome it. Unfortunately there is a stigma attached to addiction. Some people who are not troubles with addiction problems think to themselves: “Why can’t you just stop”. I always wished it was as easy as that. If you’re a severe alcoholic you actually have a chance of dying if you stop drinking from one day to the next. The way I got sober was by realizing I needed to leave my pride at the door and reach out for help. That was my first step towards recovery and it was the hardest one I must admit.
Rehab Facility: Outpatient or Inpatient
The way I began my solid sobriety was by going to a rehab facility. First I tried an outpatient program which is where you get addiction therapy from a center but you do not live and sleep there. They usually ask you to come a few times a week to participate in 1 on 1 and group sessions where you talk about your addiction. The counsellors will provide you with tools to kick your habit during your 1 on 1 sessions. During the group therapies members of the group will speak about what works for them and sometimes what isn’t working.
Personally for me the outpatient program did not work because of the severity of my addiction. Therefore I checked in to the inpatient program which provides around the clock care for the patients. You basically live there for a period of time in order to get you back on track. Some people stay longer than others, I stayed for 5 weeks. That was long enough to break the cycle. The advantage of being inpatient is that you’re cut off from all distractions and you’re there to focus on you and your sobriety. Also, you will be distanced from your substance of choice whether it be alcohol or drugs which is a big help. That physical barrier was magic to me and I really needed to be away from the substances. The temptation greatly subsides when you know you do not have access to your substance of choice. Another advantage of inpatient is that there are nurses and doctors closely watching you 24 hours a day in case of medical emergencies. They will make sure your withdrawal symptoms will be at a minimal. The downside of going to a rehab facility is that it good be too expensive for you. Although I believe it will be the best investment you make, because it’s an investment to save your life and there’s no price on that. To comfort me I think about how much money I wasted on my addiction and it makes it an easy decision. Fortunately there is another option: Alcoholics Anonymous.
The 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous
I’m sure you’ve all heard of alcoholics anonymous (AA). AA is a 12 step program for alcoholics and it is free for everyone. I have friends that got sober just by going to an AA meeting everyday (at the beginning). If you are struggling with alcohol addiction and you can’t stop on your own I recommend going to 90 AA meetings in 90 days. In the program it’s called 90 in 90. It has shown great results in the past which I’ve seen for myself. It’s a great way to start in my opinion. Go to aa.org for a list of meetings in your area. There are meetings in almost every city in North America. If you’re addiction was more drug related there is also a program called Narcotics Anonymous (NA). It’s really your preference, I would suggest trying both types of meetings and then you can determine what works for you.
Do Physical Exercise
One of the main ways I maintain my sobriety is by participating in physical activities. I jog or do brisk walking at least 3 to 4 times a week and it makes me feel great. You should try to get your brain to produce natural endorphins because it will make you happier. Instead of exhausting your brain by producing excessive endorphins by abusing drugs or alcohol do it in a healthy and natural way. The reason why it’s so important to exercise in sobriety is because you might be feeling a little down at the early stages. It’s a great way to improve your mood throughout the day and enjoy your sobriety. If you don’t like running or jogging on your own you should try to play sports you enjoy or join exercise groups. It’s very enjoyable doing activities in groups and it should encourage you to be consistent in your efforts. You could search Google to find these types of groups in your area or you can try meetup.com
Be Honest With Yourself And With Someone You Trust
Sobriety is about honesty. In sobriety it’s extremely important to be honest with yourself. You need to be honest with the way you’re feeling in the present. If your not feeling well and you’re having cravings it’s important not to ignore it. If you start telling yourself that you could do it on your own then I think you’ll belying yo yourself. When you’re struggling with a craving or emotionally I suggest calling a good understanding friend or family member that us ready to listen to what you have to say. If you’re part of the AA program then call your sponsor. If you don’t have a sponsor look for one or get a temporary one. They offer temporary sponsors at the meetings. If you’re having trouble dealing with your emotions then I suggest reading my post on that.
Keep Going To Meetings or Group Sessions On a Regular Basis
One of the most important things to do to stay sober is to be consistent with your therapies. If you went to a rehab facility then they should definitely have weekly group sessions and 1 on 1s. You can also go to AA meetings. I personally do both. I make sure they are a part of my weekly schedule and they are certainly the most important part. My meetings and my sobriety come before anything because if I lost my sobriety I lost pretty much everything. Sobriety is all about maintenance and taking care of yourself.
Meditation, Prayer and Spirituality
Everyday I meditate for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night. For some of you meditation won’t be easy at the beginning. But like they say practice makes perfect. If 20 minutes is too much for you then just start off with 5 minutes a day and work your way up. When I feel like I’m in a bad spot in my sobriety I pray to my higher power. It helps me to let go of situations I do not have control over like being exposed to alcohol on a daily basis. I pray because I know I cannot do it on my own.
Staying Away From Dangerous Places and Making New Friends
Now that I have new interests in my life other than drinking and drugging I do not go to the same places. I used the party and go to bars and clubs every night, now I would rather stay home and watch a nice movie. For myself I don’t see the point of going to bars and clubs anymore because it’s just not fun for me anymore. I really overdid it and I don’t miss it at all. I also made new friends in sobriety because we share the same interests for the most part. There are some great people out there who don’t drink trust me. Also, when I stopped using, the people that I partied with would stop calling me when I told them I quit. I guess they weren’t real friends because the only thing they
wanted to do with me was use drugs and drink. Don’t let those people discourage you because they will cross your path at some point. You have to remember your doing it to save your life and to live a happy fulfilling life. I constantly remind myself of when I hit rock bottom and what state of mind I was in and I never want to go back there because it was hell.