Myth: The Only Way to Stay Sober Is by Going to Meetings
When most people hear the term “addiction recovery” they immediately think of the traditional 12-step model and going to meetings. While this form of treatment has been beneficial for many people, there are also a lot of people who are in recovery who do not benefit from going to meetings and that is ok too. There are many roads to a life of recovery which is a good thing because when someone is making such an important decision about their life they should have options.
So how does someone maintain their sobriety without going to meetings all the time? Here are a few ways that have helped many people go on to live productive and sober lives after living a life of addiction.
Developing new life skills to stay sober
Gaining new tools to develop and maintain a sober lifestyle is an important aspect of addiction recovery. Learning how to recognize and effectively deal with negative influences, unhealthy habits and establish new self-standards are all a good place to start.
Building a good support system
Everyone needs a good support system to lean on when times get tough, especially people who are in recovery. Developing a good support system of friends and family will not only help you get through the difficult days but will also provide you with people to help celebrate the good times with as well.
Finding effective ways to deal with stress
Learning how to deal with difficult emotions in a healthy way is essential. Developing new coping mechanisms will not only help you to stay sober but will also help to manage everything from the day-to-day ups and downs of life to the most difficult heartbreaks.
Limiting negative influences as much as possible
If there is certain music that makes you want to get high every time you listen to it then it would probably be a good idea to cut it out of your life. The same thing goes for “friends” who do not support your sobriety and places that make you want to relapse. While you cannot avoid every trigger for the rest of your life, it’s a good idea to at least give yourself a fighting chance and limit them as much as you can.
Creating a life that you love
Have you always wanted to learn how to paint but never had the time or resources to try it out? Then take an art class. The whole point of sobriety is to give yourself the opportunity to do the things you’ve always wanted to do but never did because substance abuse held you back. The more that you are able to create a life that you love, the less appealing drinking or using will become.
Learning how to be comfortable being yourself
It may be a difficult road to get there, but learning how to just be there comfortably without the use of drugs or alcohol is a very freeing experience. Doing even just this one simple thing sets a solid foundation for living a sober life. Learning how to love yourself for who you are is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself.
Taking responsibility for your past, learning from it and moving forward
We all have things in our pasts that we aren’t proud of. Addiction especially has this effect on people’s lives. People say and do things while under the influence that they normally never would if they were sober. Even though there may be things you did in the past you would rather not think about, it is important to learn from them, do what you can to make it right and then move on. It doesn’t help anyone to dwell on past mistakes and only makes the present moment more difficult to be in when you do so.
Creating and maintaining balance in your life
A balanced schedule provides enough time for being productive, getting relaxation and having fun. While it isn’t a good idea to have too much free time—especially in early recovery—having a schedule that is always so jam-packed that you cannot unwind can also be damaging. As with anything, moderation is key and figuring out the perfect work/life balance will go a long way towards maintaining stability in your life.
Taking care of your health
In order to truly flourish in life, people need to take care of themselves mentally, emotionally and physically. When one of these things falls out it will affect the others. When a person takes good care of themselves and does their best to maintain a healthy lifestyle their odds for success are greatly improved.
Realizing that there is more than one way to get and stay sober
A lot of people love going to meetings and have found that this method is what helps them maintain their sobriety, which is great. On the other hand, a lot of people have found alternative methods to obtain and maintain sobriety and there is nothing wrong with that either. The most important thing is for each person to find what works best for their sobriety and stick with that. At the end of the day, even though there are different methods to live a sober lifestyle, what is important is that they all have the same goal—to live a better life built on the foundation of sobriety.