6 Obstacles You Must Overcome for Sustainable Sobriety
There are no quick-fix ways for how to get sober fast, and there is not one simple formula for staying sober either. But whether you are looking to get sober or maintain your current state of sobriety, there are definite obstacles that must be overcome, and goals that must be set (and met) for your greatest chance at success, and they are as follows:
1. Get honest with yourself.
Let us start with our first bit of honesty; Addicts lie. They lie to themselves, they lie to friends and family members, and they lie to colleagues. They lie to preserve their addiction and avoid confrontation, they lie out of shame and denial, and they lie out of a fear of reality.
In the depths of addiction, lying to yourself about the severity of the problem is very common. And of course, accepting the fact that you have a problem is the first step to getting the help and treatment that you need. But recovering addicts lie in sobriety as well. Many will tell themselves that they are fine now, that they can go back to old friends, old hangouts and be completely comfortable without using drugs or having a drink. This is very rarely the actual case. The desire in these cases to get back to a ‘normal life’ may be overpowering the truth that is deep down inside — you cannot go back to those places without desires to use.
Being honest with yourself is scary, but you need to have faith that deep down inside you really do know what you need — whether you like what the answer is or not. Being honest is difficult, but it is incredibly important for sustainable sobriety.
2. Have an open, creative mind.
You may be able to get sober without an open mind, but an open mind is necessary for lasting sobriety. For addicts new to recovery, sobriety is a scary thought. It is an entirely new world. You have to find new ways to fill your time, and new places to make your hangouts. Literally everything has changed around you, and it is this feeling that can often spiral addicts into relapse.
Having an open mind, however, can help you ease into this new world a little bit easier. Counsellors and sponsors may suggest things to you that at the time you feel are completely unrelated to recovery. But listen to them. Try everything they suggest. Come at all new things with an open mind. Yes, it will be easier to push these new ideas away, but that type of mindset will set you up to struggle with and possibly fail at sobriety.
3. Overcome complacency.
All too often, recovering addicts fall into a life of complacency. They are no longer using drugs or alcohol, but they are no longer growing as a person either. Complacency can often result in relapse if unattended.
Think of it this way: If you sit around all day smoking cigarettes, eating junk food and watching TV, you might not be using drugs or alcohol, but you are not bettering your life in any way either. If instead you get outside, eat healthy, get physically fit, join some classes or engage in some hobbies — you are less likely to relapse because you have ‘farther to fall’ so to speak. Being motivated to grow as a person each and every day will make you less likely to slip back into negative routines.
4. Learn to communicate.
As addicts spiral further into their addictions, they distance themselves from those close to them. They cover up their emotions with drugs and/or alcohol, and essentially remove themselves from most meaningful relationships. In an essence, they have lost proper communication skills. In some cases, the addict did not have these skills in the first place, which drew them into substance abuse as a way of self-medicating.
Almost all relapses come from a moment of raw emotion — from anger, frustration or sadness — and in order to avoid saying ‘screw it’ and turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort, it is important that you learn to talk through your problems. Whether you call your sponsor, counsellor or close friend, learning good communication skills can be the difference between relapse and sobriety.
5. Be committed.
Nobody said that addiction recovery was going to be easy. If you truly want to get and stay sober, you need to be willing to put in the work. That means going to a meeting instead of watching your favourite TV programme. It means saying good-bye to old friends who are still using. It means every single day from here on out, focusing on recovery. Yes, it will get easier with time. But it is a continuous process that will last a lifetime.
6. Want it.
You are the only person who can make the changes needed for lasting sobriety. Getting sober because someone else wants you to is a good reason to start the road to recovery, but lasting sobriety will only come when it is something you really want. Write down all the ways in which your life will improve if you succeed and post it on your bathroom mirror or keep it in your wallet. Whenever you feel yourself on the brink of giving up, remember the reasons you started this journey in the first place.
Addiction Treatment Centres can Help
For those already living in sobriety, the above can serve as a guide or daily reminder to what you need to focus on in recovery. For those who are still in the throes of addiction, it is a good idea to speak to an alcohol and drug rehab facility to see how they can assist in the path to recovery. For most addicts, a complete treatment programme is the only road to recovery. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, call our counsellors today for a free assessment.
(This article is the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”; they are its original authors)