Deciding to live a life of sobriety is a huge choice. And whether you are in an active treatment program, or out on your own, you are going to need help along the way. So, here are six essential tips to help you maintain your recovery goals.
Know That You Are Not Alone
Statistics show that at least 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol, which is about 1 in every 10 people over the age of 12. While it’s true that far too many of these individuals do not seek treatment, there are still many who do, and are willing to talk about it.
Make Abstinence Your Friend
Most people with addictions enter recovery without a clear idea of how they want to live their lives. They only know that they don’t want to feel the way that they are feeling. Deciding on absolute abstinence is key. Otherwise, your addiction will give you all kinds of reasons as to why “today,” is a special day to use. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, even Tuesdays, will become reasons to get high. When you are practicing abstinence, there are less decisions to make. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.
Put Yourself First
People who suffer from addictions are often called selfish and self-centered. This is not true. The addiction is an egomaniac. But the person is not. In fact, the person is a slave to the addiction, in much the same way that a puppet is a slave to a string. Recovery is about learning to put your true needs, not the needs of your addiction, first. It’s true what they say, when you do what’s right for you, it ends up being right for everyone involved.
Take It One Day At A Time
Nothing sabotages recovery like living in the future. If you have been living under addiction’s thumb, you are used to spending all of your energy focusing on your next score. But, when you are trying to live sober, learning to be in the moment is extremely important.
Develop A Mantra
Mantras are short, sweet sentences that you say to yourself over and over until you believe them. Some examples of helpful mantras include:
- I am worthwhile
- Just for today, I will stay sober
- I love myself
- I am making progress
- I can do this
If you want to get fancy, try these yoga mantras spoken in Sanskrit for extra effect.
Make A List Of Craving Breaking Behaviors
Cravings are going to hit. It’s that simple. So, be prepared and have a list of at least 10 things that you can do to distract yourself when that happens. If you can get yourself through the toughest part of the longing, you will find that it passes. Some examples of craving breaking behaviors are:
- Have a glass of water
- Listen to your favorite song (not one that you associate with using)
- Take a walk
- Do 10 jumping jacks
- Deep breathing
- Call a friend
Find A Reason To Believe
Central to any recovery program is a belief in something greater than yourself. It doesn’t have to be God, although it could be. Other things to believe in include, but are not limited to: service, nature, a sunset, your dog, a poem, etc. Anything that is outside of yourself, but has meaning to you would work. And on your toughest days, when you can’t work your recovery for yourself, do it for what or whoever you believe in.