Sustainable recovery from Drug and Alcohol addiction is possible.
Introducing the Recovery from Addiction is Possible Blog Platform.
The purpose of this blog platform is to provide an open discussion platform for people, peers and professionals to discuss the many possibilities of addiction recovery, positive change and the different treatment and support options available.
The site offers an opportunity for individuals and treatment services to share their experience of the challenges attached to active addiction, what inspires an individual to seek change and what a life in recovery from addiction can actually look like.
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7 Ways to Stay Sober Through the Hard Times
Staying sober even when everything is going well is hard work, especially at the start of your recovery journey. When something goes wrong in your life, it can feel almost impossible to stay sober. With a strong support system, good coping skills and a little bit of knowledge, you can make sure that even if you do relapse, it is only brief and temporary.
- Self- Care
During active addiction, people stop doing what is in their best interests and only do what will help them fulfill their addiction. They quickly lower their standards od how well they should be taking care of their physical or emotional health and in turn allow others to treat them in the same way. That is why it is so important to maintain regular self-care practices to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance at recovery as possible. Self-care also creates positive feelings and lowers stress in other parts of your life.
Self-care is different to everyone but some examples of these activities can include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating well
- Making time for recreational activities you enjoy; learning an instrument, surfing, painting, rock-climbing, swimming, riding a bike, reading. Find some activities that work for you and make sure you allow yourself the time to participate in them.
- Support System
A good support system is essential in maintaining your sobriety. Without having someone who you can rely on to go to for help when you need it, it will be almost impossible to stay clean. When you are feeling down and out and the cravings are relentless, picking up the phone and calling a mate can mean the difference between relapsing and making it through the day. It doesn’t need to be a mate, but someone you feel comfortable supporting you through the hard times; a close cousin or sibling, parent, pastor, sponsor, partner, AA or NA meeting etc.
- Out-Patient Treatment
Being able to stay sober for 28, 60 or 90 days is a wonderful achievement, but sometimes an out-patient program can be helpful for transitioning from a residential program back to you day to day life, or if you find you need some support in your day to day life or when a triggering event occurs. In these cases, out-patient programs are a wonderful source of stability and refocus for you to continue living sober.
- Exercise and Eat Healthy
Exercising releases endorphins that make us feel good and help us stay positive throughout the day. Exercising regularly is good for your mental health as well as your physical health. Exercise also helps distract from cravings and can form healthy social relationships. Just a walk to the store every second day, riding a bike a few times a week or joining a sports team are all great ways to include exercise in your regular routine.
The foods you put into your body directly affect your mood. Eating a diet that includes a lot of fruit and veggies every day will improve your mood throughout the day as well as ensuring you don’t fell sluggish and helps improve your sleep. It may seem easy to replace your drug or alcohol addiction with unhealthy food, but try to avoid doing this as it will have a negative affect of energy, quality of sleep, mood and general feeling of wellbeing.
- Emotional Trigger List
It is a good idea to define to yourself what feelings you have that lead to cravings. Common feelings that have this effect are shame, guilt, remorse, anger, loneliness and feeling tired among others. Create an emotional trigger warning list specifying the feelings that you have that cause cravings, under each trigger feeling, write what action you can take instead of using that will alleviate the negative emotion. This may include calling a friend if you feel lonely, having a nap if you feel tired, or going for a walk/ride/run if you feel angry. Writing these things down allows you the opportunity to look back at your plans and refocus you during these emotionally heightened states.
- Location Avoidance
As well as emotional triggers, there is such as thing called Location Triggers. This refers to the sudden urge to use drugs or alcohol when you go through a place where you used to use them or pick them up or see people you used to use with. In these places or around these people, your body remembers and tries to avoid the danger presented by ingesting drugs, by going into a state of ‘opposite effect of the drugs’. For example you can have muscle cramps or sweats which give you intense cravings for the drug. To avoid these cravings, try to avoid the places or people where you used to use or pick up drugs as well as staying away from people you used to use with, especially if they are still in active addiction.
- Develop a structured schedule
Our bodies depend on habit to be able to work most efficiently. Structured days with daily habits help or body reset its ‘clock’ back to a normal, healthy routine. The mind also benefits from structured days as it has so much information to process, that keeping habits regular allow it to process information more clearly. It can be difficult to feel like you have to change everything in your life after addiction, but keeping a structured day will make it feel less chaotic and easier to get the things you need done whilst remaining regaining and remaining healthy.
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To access additional information and support, visit the Collective Recovery Support Network.