Whether you have started or completed treatment for addiction recovery, the importance of maintaining sobriety through the rest of your life may seem obvious. However, it is often not that simple to accomplish. Some individuals who go through treatment find that managing sobriety throughout their life can be harder to do after they believe their recovery period to be over. Committing to long-term recovery and holding yourself accountable for this is essential to avoid relapsing and working through the recovery process from the beginning again.
Importance of Sobriety
Sobriety should be a long-term goal that you are consistently working toward even after you have completed treatment. While you may have gained a variety of skills to help you reduce impulsivity and engage in healthy behaviors, the act of one use of your problematic substance can pull you back into the struggle of addiction all over again. Many people think that using a substance once they feel comfortable with their recovery will not have harmful effects on their long-term recovery, but that is very rarely the case. Feeling the sensations of the substance again may reactivate those addictive desires.
Managing sobriety through treatment is important, but maintaining sobriety throughout your life is an additional important challenge. Sobriety requires a life-long commitment.
The following techniques you can use to help you maintain your sobriety each day.
Remember Your Past
Calling to mind the struggles you went through before and during treatment as well as the successes you have accomplished is a simple but effective way to keep you on the path of recovery. Knowing how hard the initial and subsequent stages of the recovery process are, you likely do not want to experience them again. Remind yourself of the hard work you have put in, and reward yourself by sticking to your new core values.
Regulate Your Emotions
Through learning to regulate emotions during treatment, you can achieve long-lasting effects on your mindset, behavior, and lifestyle.
Continuing to regulate emotions will allow you to make conscious decisions if a substance is offered to you or another temptation presents itself. If you stay in control of your emotions, you can prevent them from getting in the way of your choices.
Continuing this practice can also help you avoid feeling the depressive feelings that led you to feel the need to use substances. If you are regulating your emotions on your own and can maintain a healthy mental state, you likely will not feel the need to use substances to manage your mental health.
Remind Yourself of Potential Consequences
After working through treatment and moving on to the next step in your life, you may find it easy to forget the consequences that substances have had on your life. Working to remind yourself of these potential consequences and reminding yourself of how much better your functioning is without them can help you to avoid falling into the path of addiction again.
If you are working toward or currently engaging in achieving your long-term goals, such as furthering a career path or having a family, consider the potential effects that substance abuse could have on these aspects of life. Being aware of the negative effects substances can have on your current life is a huge motivating factor to continue sobriety and stay away from substances.
You have worked hard to get to where you are. Don’t let a past mistake ruin that for you.
Know Your Coping Strategies
During recovery, you likely experimented with a variety of different coping strategies to use when triggers arise or when you feel the need to use a substance.
Continuing to have healthy coping strategies is essential to maintaining long-term sobriety. Knowing how to manage these triggers and continuing to use these skills after treatment will help you handle obstacles that come into play throughout your life.
One way to motivate yourself to maintain sobriety throughout your life is by working to influence those around you. If you have a family or loved ones around you, work toward being a positive role model for them. If you have children or grandchildren in your future, think of who you want them to become and set that kind of example. If you fall back into the state of addiction or are using substances, that can portray the message that substance use is okay or normal to your loved ones. Ensuring you are informing your family members and friends of the risk of substance use and following those standards yourself is a beneficial way to encourage your own sobriety throughout your life as well as the sobriety of those you love.
Use the skills you learned in recovery throughout your life. If you wish, you can alter these skills or adjust them to your current life situation, but remember that their purpose is to help you to maintain long-term recovery. Always work to set new goals for yourself and continue your success in other areas. Feeling fulfilled with your overall lifestyle can help you refrain from feeling the need to use a substance and encourage you to avoid future use.
Sobriety is expected during the recovery process and shortly after treatment. However, it is important to continue practicing sobriety throughout your life to avoid falling back into the cycle of addiction. Understanding the importance of life-long sobriety and engaging in practices to keep this mentality is essential. Many of the skills that you learned during recovery can continue to help you maintain long-term recovery. Work to influence those you care about and set an example for them. Remind yourself of the potential consequences that can occur if you choose to engage with a substance again and of the success you have achieved to get where you are now. Use your coping skills and emotional regulation skills to keep a healthy mental state throughout your life. To learn more about how to maintain a life-long state of sobriety, reach out to Dream Recovery at (949) 732-1960.