Staying sober is a challenge. Whether the drug you are kicking is one you can completely abstain from (drugs, alcohol, nicotine) or those which require continued use (prescription pain killers, food, the Internet!). It is commonly echoed that the first several weeks are always the hardest - withdrawal sets in, and so does familiarity. How does one cope with the newness of being sober? What if you are the only one who is clean or sober? Not having the proper support system can be a key indicator for success or failure.
While the cravings may never cease fully for some, they do lessen over time. The key component is to learn to put your needs and desires to be clean and sober ahead of your desire to caving into the craving. This is a lesson many addicts stumble with in the process of learning to stay clean. Learning to recognize when you’ve fallen and being able to pick yourself up and move forward is also key to recovery.
Another one of the biggest challenges is to understand that being clean and sober is ok -- even if it feels like everyone else around you is not. Here are some common tactics used by the newly clean and sober to stay that way:
- Change your environment: If the environment you are in, including your partner or friends are bad for you, then change them. You had the guts to change your lifestyle, so change them as well. Avoidance is a great way to not have to deal with many temptations early on, and thus surrouding yourself with better people for you will help in both the short term and long term.
- Become an ambassador: Be proud that you are now clean and sober, and champion the cause. Help others to find a solution to their issues or addictions, and be the ultimate cheerleader. If you are the loudest advocate, then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Never forget to be proud of what you accomplished!
- Substitution can be OK: Feel free to substitute one habit for another... just choose them wisely. Substitute alcohol for the gym. Change nicotine to yoga or meditation. By creating positive outlets and not negative ones, you will fill your time not dwelling on the addiction’s cravings and what was lost, but instead on what was gained.
As an international source of information, Addictionrecovery.com aims to educate the world about addictions, and connect those that are in need, with providers that have been peer reviewed and assessed. If you know someone in need, or need further information, please visit www.addictionrecovery.com or find us on facebook www.facebook.com/FindRecovery.