Many experts of addiction and recovery have outlined the requirements of recovery. Although some details vary, for the most part, professionals agree upon certain elements of life that are required for a sustainable recovery.
Solid Foundation – In order to stay sober, you need to make sure that all your basic needs are met. If you’re homeless without income to buy food or water, then the stressors of life are likely going to make drugs and alcohol more attractive. It’s hard to stay committed to sobriety if you’re trying to survive. You’re less likely to have the inner resources to keep yourself sober.
Purpose – Many people need a reason to get sober. It gives them purpose and meaning in order to overcome the challenges that come with getting sober. For instance, some recovering addicts are getting sober to save their marriage or to repair their career. Others get sober because they are fighting to get their children back. Having a purpose behind sobriety can give you the motivation to do what ever it takes to get sober.
Hope – This is just as important as having a purpose. Hope could be described as a state of being where you feel that the future looks promising. You feel good about what the future has to offer you. For instance, if you feel that you’re going to enjoy your future without drugs and alcohol then you’re more likely to get sober and stay that way. For many people struggling with addiction, the future looks depressing which often facilitates more drinking and drug use.
New Sense of Self – An essential part of recovery is developing a whole new life and doing this requires creating a whole new you. It means making new, sober friends. It means thinking differently about your life. It means responding to challenges versus reacting with anger or anxiety. Your sense of self is no longer rooted in someone who drinks or uses drugs. Instead, your sense of self is based upon who you are as a father, sister, or a professional for example. In other words, your sense of self is derived from a healthy source of meaning.
Support Network – You’re not going to get sober alone. Being in a supportive community makes commitment to sobriety possible. It’s common for recovering addicts to feel marginalized, separate from the mainstream of society. However, belonging to a group can heal that sense of separation both at the beginning of recovery as well as throughout one’s life. Having friends and family members who are supportive can provide a listening ear, honest feedback, healthy companionship, and people you can call when you need them.
Empowerment – All of the requirements to recovery listed above support feeling empowered. The more you have what’s listed here, the more you can feel confident in your ability to get sober and stay that way. Once an individual realizes that he or she is not alone, for instance, there’s hope. And with hope, there’s more of an inner strength to stay sober no matter what. You feel strong and confident in your ability to manage life without drugs or alcohol.
These are common elements of staying sober. If you can create these in your life, you’ve got a great chance at recovery.
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