7 Steps to Get Sober by Summer
What does it take to get sober? It’s more than just not drinking or using drugs again. It’s about reclaiming your future and building a life that’s full of things you love. In a few months, summer will be upon us, and with the season comes new opportunities for those in recovery or entering recovery. If you’re suffering from addiction or struggling to maintain your recovery, you can start working to create a healthy future one step at a time.
How Long Does Addiction Recovery Take?
While addiction recovery can take just a few weeks to get started, sustaining sobriety is a life-long process. Part of the process of getting sober is rebuilding important connections in the brain that are damaged from routine substance use. Because drugs and alcohol affect the neurotransmitters in the brain, it takes some time to get brain function back to where it needs to be. Still, you can work on the process through a few steps.
Steps to Building Sobriety
Where do you start? Consider these steps and what it takes to work towards recovery.
#1: Find someone to talk to about your thoughts
Open up to a close friend or family member who you know prioritizes your health and well-being. If you don’t have someone like this in your life, reach out to an addiction therapist, your doctor, or a religious leader to talk openly about what’s occurring. Talking to someone means you’re taking action, even if you’re not sure you can do anything about it.
#2: Create a list of your “whys”
To help yourself remain sober, it’s critical to know why you are doing so. While you may make statements like “for my kids,” try instead to focus on how sobriety will impact you directly. Perhaps it could:
- Help you live longer
- Aid in rebuilding relationships that you value
- Help you reclaim your goals and passions
- Help you find out who you are
- Help you wake up feeling clear and hopeful every day
#3: Enroll in a treatment program
If you feel withdrawal symptoms or cravings when you don’t use substances, that means your body and brain are dependent on those drugs. To reverse this, you’ll need professional treatment. Just like any other disease, your recovery is more likely if you invest in a therapist and treatment center to help you. You’ll gain access to various treatment and therapy options uniquely designed to support your recovery. Most importantly, you’ll have support through each step in recovery.
#4: Define your triggers
Triggers are things that make you think about or want to use drugs or alcohol. They are people, emotions, or situations that put you at risk. Each person’s triggers are different, but some of the most common ones include:
- Stress, especially when unrelieved or ongoing
- Being hungry or tired
- Being around people you used to use with or going to places where you used to engage in these behaviors
- Being around people who have hurt you, angered you, or otherwise caused significant stress and emotional damage
- Pushing too hard too fast and expecting to just jump back into life; trying to be perfect at work, home, or school
Know what your triggers are. Then, work to avoid these situations.
#5: Learn about mental health
Many people with addiction struggle with mental health disorders. Sometimes these disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression, can make it difficult for you to remain sober. Treatment of them can help to strengthen your recovery.
Work with your therapist to learn more about the presence of mental health disorders like these. Discuss what could be behind them, such as genetics or a previous traumatic experience. Though hard to do, it’s critical to your recovery to understand what’s happening and work to alleviate the underlying cause if possible.
#6: Gain consistent support
As you work towards maintaining your sobriety, be sure you have a list of people to call who can help you at a moment’s notice. That doesn’t mean they will get you out of every bad situation, but they can be there to talk to you and help you avoid using. Your support team may include a good friend, a mentor, people from your recovery groups, and your therapist. Meet with your therapist as often as possible to stay on the right track, even if you’re feeling good.
#7: Know that stumbling blocks can happen
Sobriety isn’t a simple, straight path; it takes time and hard work. If you’re like many people, you don’t want to think about failing or struggling. Don’t put that pressure on yourself. Instead, realize that you’re winning the battle every day that you work towards your recovery.
Finding the right support matters. At Victory Addiction Recovery Center, we can help you to have the best long-term results possible. With consistent help, you may be ready to enjoy a healthy, sober summer.
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