If for some reason you cannot go to addiction treatment, then the most important step you can take toward staying sober is to spend time with others who have already sustained their sobriety. It’s common for men and women to avoid addiction treatment for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is too expensive, requires too much demand on your time if you need to work, takes you away from your family, or puts too much pressure on your relationship. Whatever the case may be, if you cannot attend addiction treatment, be sure to surround yourself with others who are already sober.

It’s important to point out that this article is not suggesting that you should spend time with sober people as a substitute for addiction treatment. Treatment provides a person with a wide range of support tools that more easily facilitates sobriety and recovery. Treatment provides a person with a healing environment, professional staff, nutritional meals, support groups, therapy, medical attention, and other services all directed towards supporting a person’s physical and psychological recovery. In fact, research shows that when a person moves through residential treatment and then subsequently lives at a sober living home, he or she has a greater chance of staying sober and reaching their goals.

However, there are many people who choose to avoid treatment for whatever reason. In addition to the examples provided above, a person might be afraid of stepping into the unknown but still feel the need to quit using drugs or alcohol. Because of financial, family, or social constraints, many people choose to quit cold turkey without the support of professionals. If you choose this route, at the very least, be sure to have others around you who can support you in your sobriety.

For instance, you might be familiar with the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Every person attending an AA meeting is aiming for abstinence in order to reach sobriety. Attending a meeting and spending time with their members can be a way to begin to feel what it’s like to be sober and living your life without the use of alcohol or drugs. Furthermore, hearing the stories of others, their trials and successes, their failures and achievements can give you a taste of what it’s like in recovery. In fact, you might hear these stories and realize that you need more support than you realize. Nonetheless, having support from AA members, a sponsor, family, and friends is a great beginning.

Yet, if you choose not to attend addiction treatment, you should know that if you are not in treatment for addiction and your only method is gaining the support of others, the possibility of relapse exists. The way that the brain is affected by addiction can create distortions in thinking, poor choices, and unhealthy behaviors. Relapse can happen when a person gets triggered, stressed, or flooded with intense emotions. When the same circumstances arises that is similar to circumstances that prompted a person to use, that person may be vulnerable to relapse.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an addiction, gather support around you. This might include calling a mental health provider who can help facilitate making the decision about treatment that feels right for you.

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