Staying sober requires you to identify and avoid triggers that might cause you to drink or use again, but it’s not always easy to know how to stay sober in the most challenging times—when your best friend wants to go out partying, when your boss criticises you at work, or when you’re going through a breakup with your significant other. In these situations, it’s easy to want to feel better by turning to alcohol or drugs—especially if you’ve experienced problems related to drinking or using in the past. However, there are alternative ways to feel good without risking your recovery after attending an alcohol and drug rehab clinic.
This is one of those alternatives that will make you battle the addiction and feel good without triggering a relapse. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help reduce anxiety and stress while improving self-esteem, all important factors in maintaining sobriety. Try taking up a sport or activity that you’ve always wanted to try but never had time for—the social aspect of team sports can also be an excellent source of support when struggling with addiction.
Meditation can help with recovery, and many rehab clinics recommend it as a way of staying sober during periods of extreme stress. Taking time to relax and clear your mind can prevent you from making rash decisions that could compromise your sobriety. If you’re in rehab right now, take advantage of any meditation classes or sessions that are offered by your clinic. If not, try downloading a free meditation app on your phone.
While some people can get by on just six hours of sleep per night, that’s not a good idea if you’re recovering from alcoholism. Sleep helps your body repair itself, it gives your mind time to reset, and it even makes you feel less depressed. For these reasons, doctors recommend that alcoholics aim for seven or eight hours of sleep every night—if possible.
Regular yoga practice is one of the best ways to feel good without having to resort to drinking or using. It builds resilience, balance, and mental and physical fortitude. If you’re new to yoga, visit a local yoga studio and ask for their recommendations on beginner classes. Many studios offer free beginner sessions so you can see if it’s right for you. (And don’t forget: Yoga helps build strength when practised alongside other workouts.)
Not only will eating a healthy diet help you get on track for recovery, but it can also help your physical appearance. Even if your relationship with food isn’t a big problem, improving your health is still a win-win situation; studies show that people with better diets look better and feel better.
Take up a hobby
Having a hobby will occupy your time and mind with something more productive than drinking. During difficult times in sobriety, it’s easy to think you’ll never feel better. However, being around positive people who are trying to live healthy lives can lift your spirits and show you what’s possible if you get sober for good. If you want other alternative ways of staying sober in challenging times, try finding a recovery centre or rehab clinic that helps individuals kick their addiction.
Spend time with friends
Sometimes, it feels like drinking and using is all your friends want to do. This can feel pretty isolating for a recovering addict. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! While spending time with friends who aren’t sober isn’t always an option (especially if they don’t understand your recovery), there are ways you can spend time with people who are healthy influences on your life. Meeting new people in different settings may help you find new friendships that promote positive habits.
Cleaning, organising and decluttering
If you’re struggling with an addiction and are interested in building new hobbies, cleaning and organising can be a great place to start. Not only is it productive, but keeping your space clean can help you avoid triggers that cause cravings and make quitting easier. Instead of hiding from your problems, get rid of everything that reminds you of your addiction. Start by tossing out all liquor bottles and anything else related to your substance abuse problem. Clean out cabinets where alcohol was stored or dishes that were used for drinking.
Giving back is a great way to stay sober—and helps others as well. Volunteering for a cause you care about can help you meet new people, contribute positively to your community and (of course) stay busy with something other than drinking or using. Consider volunteering at a sober living rehab clinic, if one exists in your area. Just getting involved in your local community may be just what you need!