If you want to stay sober, there are obstacles you’re likely going to have to get out of your way. To get sober, you might have attended an addiction treatment center or participated in a medical-assisted clinic for addiction. Or perhaps you even got sober on your own. Whatever the method, now that you’re sober, there are some other changes you’re going to have to make in your life to maintain your sobriety. There are often many barriers that a person who was once addicted to drugs or alcohol has in their life that prevents them from sustaining their sobriety. This article will discuss those barriers and how to address them.
As you can imagine, experiencing an addiction comes with a certain lifestyle, patterns of thought, and people. The following will discuss the three major barriers to sustaining sobriety:
Lifestyle: Although addiction doesn’t always mean living on the wild and risky side of life, it may mean not eating well, getting little sleep, and/or rarely exercising. It may mean an unhealthy lifestyle in general. Perhaps ignoring doctor’s appointments, not taking care of yourself, or engaging in risky behavior, such as driving too fast on the highway. On the other hand, a significant part of staying sober is taking good care of yourself. That may include making sure that what you put into your body will be good for it. It may also mean that you get the right amount of sleep and exercise from time to time. In general, a sober lifestyle is one where you are taking good care of yourself.
Patterns of Thought: One of the contributing factors to addiction is the type of thoughts a person has. Thoughts that have to do with low self-worth, lack of confidence, or shame can easily drive a person to want to escape those thoughts (and the associated feelings) through substances. Therefore, after you’ve gotten sober, part of a successful recovery is exploring the thoughts that might lead to cravings and substance use. It’s common in addiction treatment to include behavioral therapies which explore a person’s connection between their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Two common forms of this type of therapy are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
People: As you can imagine, when you’re sober you may want to spend time with other sober people for inspiration and motivation. However, you might still have those old friendships from when you were in your addiction. And those old friendships may come with memories, nostalgia, and good feelings. There may be a desire to spend time with your old friends, even if they’re still using. However, doing so, may be a danger to your sobriety. Spending time with others who are still using can put you at risk for relapse. In order to stay sober, you may need to sever some of your old friendships – at least for now until you’re solid in your sobriety. And some people may need to sever their old friendships for good. However, you can replace those old relationships with new ones that are based upon sobriety, health, and well being.
These are a few areas of life to consider including in your quest for sobriety. You may be physically sober, but now you may need to work on your emotional, social, and psychological well being to stay sober, safe, and healthy.
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