Getting sober is an incredibly difficult mission for many people who have struggled with or are currently struggling with substance abuse problems. The grip that alcohol or drugs may have on you is often quite deep, as it sinks its claws into every facet of your life. A life ravaged by addiction is one in which all aspects of a good life fall away, one by one, due to the addict’s inescapable desire to use and to do so at the cost of everything else. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to stay sober:
Desire is Inescapable
Don’t worry, this point is not as bleak as it sounds. In fact, it can be the most freeing thing you’ve ever considered. Desire is inescapable—in other words, there will be times when you’ll want to use and that is something all of those who wish to begin or continue their recovery must acknowledge. There is something in you that is particularly susceptible to alcohol or drugs or certain behaviors such as gambling. If you spend all of your energy trying to fight and change that fact, it will be a futile battle.
Paradoxically, accepting the addict within you will free you from the control he or she imposes on you. It’s perfectly natural to experience temptation and desire. The nonprofit organization, Alcoholics Anonymous has a famous mantra that goes something to the tune of, “just for today, I will not do X”.
The X can be whatever you want it to be that you struggle with. The truth is that, much like brushing your teeth every day, substance abuse is a day to day problem. You only need to concern yourself with staying sober today, that’s all. Thinking about never having a drink again or never using again for your entire life can make it appear to be a monumental undertaking of impossible sorts. If we reduce the scope of the problem and live day by day in the moment, then anything is possible.
Engage in Physical Exercise
At the end of the day, addiction treatment is all about stress management. Stress is a factor that pushes people to respond in certain ways. For those who have struggled with addiction, stress is what often pushes them to use or to relapse.
Exercise has been thoroughly proven to effectively reduce stress. The body is akin to a battery, it can store a charge but when things get too pent up we spill over. Exercise will not only release feel-good endorphins in your brain, but activities like running or cycling can train your body to breathe deeper and with more control—something that is also effective at reducing stress. Deep breathing in laymen’s terms, activates your parasympathetic nervous system, often termed the rest and digest system. This system is responsible for helping you relax and recover, whereas the sympathetic nervous system is one governed by cortisol and adrenaline. Most people have too much sympathetic activity and not enough parasympathetic activity.
Remove Yourself From Old Circles
I once received a message from an old friend of mine whom I had spent a lot of time within our high school years. He had told me that he and the old gang were planning on meeting up for a small trip over the weekend. I was asked to also come, and I did. The fascinating thing in these situations is that you realize how impactful your social circle really is. The people you surround yourself with infinitely impress upon you in ways you do not realize.
Once I met up with them, I felt myself—without my intent, becoming who I used to be rather quickly. 10 years of personal growth and change had started to momentarily give away to highly ingrained old behavioral patterns.
The lesson? If you want to stay sober, you must avoid putting yourself in situations or keeping in touch with the people you used to use with. This is perhaps the hardest aspect for many people looking to start a new life of sobriety, having to leave many of their old friends, and even family sometimes, behind.
The Lumiere Difference
At Lumiere Detox Center, our state of the art facilities are merely a structure in which our compassionate staff can do the real work needed for true healing. We specialize in drug and addiction rehab—inpatient and outpatient, alcohol detox, and most importantly, providing a strong emotional support system to prevent relapse and provide solidarity to those who have been impacted by addiction firsthand or secondhand. Visit our contact page or give us a call at (855) 535-8501