Are you new to sobriety and unsure of how to stay sober for the rest of your life? Sometimes being sober 24/7 can feel unfamiliar and cause a person to fear they will reach for drugs or alcohol again to avoid the discomfort. We can help you feel more confident coping with sobriety as you deal with the early stages of being sober. The more comfortable you become with sobriety being your new normal, the less tempted you will be to relapse.
Challenges of Early Sobriety
People unfamiliar with getting sober often believe once a person completes a detox or initial residential program, the hard work is over. Those in the early stages of sobriety understand that they have to relearn how to live sober, which can prove challenging. One challenge comes from the fact that people struggling with addiction often use drugs or alcohol as an emotional salve. They drink or use when they feel angry, sad, frustrated, or have other uncomfortable emotions.
Sobriety means learning to feel their emotions fully, which can be difficult at first. Support groups, therapists, sober living homes, and outpatient treatment can help you process your emotions rather than attempt to self-medicate them. The longer you practice this new art form, the easier it becomes.
Another challenge involves removing toxic relationships from your life. This includes people who have their own addictions or may tempt you to relapse. Learning to surround yourself with positive, sober people helps turn your early sobriety into living a long, substance-free life.
Coping with Sobriety by Using Coping Mechanisms
While learning new coping mechanisms may seem difficult to do at first, a wide variety of them exists, making learning to use them a skill anyone can conquer. Coping with sobriety can come from three different types of coping mechanisms. These include:
Social Coping Mechanisms
People who deal with addiction to drugs or alcohol often center their social lives around using them whenever possible. Sobriety takes away that option, leaving some people floundering when it comes to figuring out a new way to socialize. The first thing to consider when planning a social activity is not visiting a place that focuses on using substances. This includes places like bars, nightclubs, and the homes of people who regularly drink or use drugs.
Plan on activities with a friend that requires focus, such as watching a movie, going on a hike, visiting an amusement park, or checking out a new restaurant. Try engaging in pastimes that involve concentrating or conversation, such as playing video or board games or joining a book club. Keeping busy with people who focus their attention on the same activity can provide a fun time together while reducing time spent thinking about using substances.
Mental Coping Mechanisms
Recovery from addiction involves changing your mindset in multiple ways. When you’re alone, keep the temptation to use drugs or drink at bay by engaging in acts that require mental focus. Activities to try include learning a musical instrument, working on a puzzle book, cleaning out a closet, or doing yard work. When the mind focuses on one activity, it helps block out the impulse to relapse. You can also try writing in a journal or recording a video of yourself discussing the subject of recovery. Notate the progress you’ve achieved, your upcoming goals, and reminders of why sober life beats the old life you gave up.
Physical Coping Mechanisms
Physical activity offers several benefits for coping with sobriety, including the obvious one of helping keep your body in good shape. Joining a gym or signing up for a yoga class can help you focus on physical activity while also providing natural endorphins and a feeling of being centered. If you find a physical activity you’d like to excel at, try making it a new focus. You might try training for a marathon, taking dance classes, or coaching a softball team. This type of activity gives you regular sessions to release stress and feel useful as you work towards your goals.
Coping with Sobriety Means Dealing with Change
Change can be scary for anyone, but life often consists of change for the better. Learning to embrace the idea of positive change helps people unsure of how to go about coping with sobriety when they are new to it. Think of change as a chance to remake yourself into the person you always wanted to become. No matter your age or life experience, it’s never too late to start over. Every day provides a chance to turn it all around.
Make a list of what you like about yourself and your life and what you’d like to change. Sketch out a step-by-step plan for reaching your new goals. If you are seeing a therapist or participating in a support group, ask for input on your ideas and how best to accomplish them. Remind yourself that a regular part of life involves dealing with change, and everyone can feel intimidated by it at one point or another. Just as you once couldn’t imagine living your life without drugs or alcohol, you have already accomplished that. Let that be a reminder that you have the strength and patience to create a new life that allows you to deal with whatever changes may occur.
Coping with Sobriety in Los Angeles, CA
Entering a treatment program and leaving a substance use disorder in the past proves to be a major accomplishment. Taking advantage of a sober living house in order to help maintain recovery helps people stay strong in their sobriety and learn to avoid triggers that lead to relapse. The gender-specific sober living homes at Riviera Recovery in Los Angeles, CA, provide the perfect setting for follow-up help after completing an initial treatment program. If you need information on getting off drugs or alcohol and coping with sobriety, call or visit our admissions page today.