Sobriety is more of a challenge for some people than for others. Maintaining sobriety and staying sober are the most important goals for anyone in recovery. But sticking to sobriety is not always easy. Many different pressures, triggers, and stressors exist in life beyond addiction treatment. Relapse rates remain high, even for people who experience top-notch addiction treatment. Staying sober is a lifelong commitment that requires constant vigilance, practice, and careful implementation of coping mechanisms.
What Is Sobriety?
The answer to “What is sobriety?” may seem simple. And indeed, the most straightforward definition is accurate. Sobriety means not using drugs of any kind. Yet, in addiction treatment, sobriety is often used in a broader sense. Instead of being restricted to total abstinence, sobriety can also mean achieving full and lasting recovery. Hiccups and setbacks may occur along the way.
Rates of relapse are high. Some research indicates that as much as 80% of people who maintain sobriety experience at least one relapse. So the strict definition of sobriety wouldn’t fit most of those doing their best to stay sober. Sticking to sobriety is about much more than good intentions. Living sober often takes a lot of support. Unfortunately, too many people fail to stay involved in support programs, such as 12-step groups, that help maintain sobriety. Beyond those formal support networks, there are many other tips people can use for sticking to sobriety.
Tips For Maintaining Sobriety
Many different tips for maintaining sobriety can be used in the recovery process. What works for one person may only partially apply to the next person. Remember that recovery takes long-term dedication. Setbacks are likely to occur. Trying out some or all of these tips makes staying sober easier.
1. Identify and Plan Around Triggers
One of the biggest reasons people relapse is triggers and stressors. These can include:
- Negative emotions
- Environmental factors
- Friends or family who still use drugs
- Relationship issues
- Financial or workplace problems
Knowing your exact triggers is very important. In this instance, knowledge truly is power. But knowing your triggers is merely the first step. Once you understand what things are most likely to tempt you to use drugs, you can put an action plan to deal with those triggers healthily.
For example, if some of your friends are major drinkers and partiers, you may do well to avoid going out with them if alcohol or other substances are present. You don’t necessarily have to cut them out of your life. But staying sober does mean you may need to alter your relationship with them.
2. Recognize Warning Signs and Prepare Redirection
Warning signs are another thing you can and should learn to recognize. Similar to triggers, knowing what they are is step one. Step two is preparing a healthy response. A few common warning signs that sticking to sobriety is in danger are:
- Engaging in self-defeating behavior
- Seeking situations where alcohol or drugs are present
- Thinking about using drugs to cope with distress or negative emotions
These warning signs are liable to crop up at some point when living a sober life. It’s imperative that you put in place a healthy response when these warning signs appear.
3. Access Support
As mentioned earlier, too many people stop accessing formal avenues of support far earlier than they should. Support groups and 12-step programs don’t force people out simply because they are making progress. These support structures are long-term investments, even when they may feel less vital.
Get Help Maintaining Sobriety
You don’t have to do sobriety alone. Evoke is here to support you in your pursuit of maintaining sobriety. Call 866.931.6429 to access help in staying sober.