Getting sober is a huge accomplishment, but staying sober can pose an even greater challenge. Addiction is a chronic condition, and the risk of relapse is real. You may be feeling excited and positive about your bright future, but first you need to learn to deal with the days one at a time without derailing your recovery efforts. In this article, we’ll discuss some simple steps that can help you succeed in staying sober.
Staying Sober and Getting Healthy
Your body went through a lot during active addiction; take good care of your health now, and you’ll have an easier time staying sober. Get regular exercise: Physical activity is great at banishing “blah” days and negative moods, which can pose a big risk to your sobriety. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in your brain that produce a sense of well-being. In fact, research has proven that exercise can even be an effective treatment for mild depression.1 Get enough sleep: Sleep problems are a common complaint among people in recovery. One study found that recovering people were five times more likely to suffer insomnia than the general population.2 To give yourself the best chances of a good night’s rest, establish a sleep schedule for yourself and stick to it. Avoid caffeine in the evening and create a relaxing nighttime ritual to help you wind down.
Feeding Your Spirit
Staying sober is easier when you’re feeling emotionally centered and balanced. Adding some soul-soothing activities to your routine can help your recovery efforts go more smoothly. Try meditation: Even a short period of mindful meditation can set the tone for your day and help you attain a sense of inner peace. Meditation is also a great way to keep yourself grounded in the present, taking things one day or even one minute at a time. Give back: Giving back to others is a deeply rewarding experience There are countless ways to make a difference in your community. For some people, lending their time to a hospital or nursing home is an ideal fit; animal lovers may want to consider volunteering at a local shelter. Think about the causes and issues that matter most to you, and there’s likely to be a volunteer opportunity that matches your passion.
Connecting with Others
Recovery can feel isolating at times, so it’s important to make an effort to connect with others and build positive relationships. Start small: Go easy on yourself—it’s not about how many friends you have, it’s about having meaningful relationships that make you happy. If making the first move in a new friendship is hard for you, take baby steps. Even one phone call a week to a new acquaintance is a step in the right direction. Think outside the box: Social activities don’t have to revolve around the bar. Get creative, and invite friends to browse a street fair or attend a concert. Round up a few friends and sign up for a local 5k together—you’ll have fun and get some healthy physical activity at the same time. There will always be times when staying sober is a challenge, but these simple strategies can help. Try adding some of these positive lifestyle habits to your routine, and you’ll be paving the way for a healthy future.