Are you new to recovery and just figuring out how to get to through every day while sober? Have you been sober for months or years and feel like you are stagnating? Here are a few tips to help you turn up the volume on your recovery and start making significant progress both emotionally and mentally:
- Build new friendships. Trying to stay connected with the people who were in your life during your active addiction is not going to serve your recovery. Even if they are nice people and supportive of your recovery, it is important to build new relationships and connect with people who deeply understand the nature of addiction and recovery and are working to live a sober life as well.
- Listen when other people talk. When you go to 12-Step meetings, support groups, therapy sessions, workshops, etc., work hard on actively listening to what the facilitator, therapist, and other participants have to say rather than just thinking about what you will say next. You never know when you will hear something that is meaningful to you and resonates with a challenge you are facing.
- Share your thoughts, questions, and experience. Speak up at meetings and in therapy sessions. Talk about what you are going through, what you have experienced, and ask any questions you have about your new life in sobriety. “Putting yourself out there” is the best way to connect with other people authentically
- Don’t forget about your physical health. Recovery requires a lot of hard work, and it is important to take care of yourself physically while you work on your mental health. This means eating healthy, getting lots of restorative sleep, working out regularly, and otherwise making choices that help you to continue flushing the toxins out of your system and rebuilding your immune system and physical health.
- Improve your home life. If you are not surrounded by positive people who are supportive of your recovery and living in a safe and sober home, immediately begin to search for a new living situation that will help you to stay sober.
- Help out the people around you. Start with helping to put chairs away after a 12-Step meeting or offering to bring refreshments to the next session. You can begin to play a positive role in all areas of your life. Part of being sober is learning where you fit in the world, and given all that people have done to help you get to where you are today, it is important for you to give back in a way that is meaningful to you and speaks to your strengths.
- Step away from potential complications. If a new person or situation feels stressful to you, ask yourself if it is necessary. If it is related to treatment in some way (e.g., a difficult person at meetings or a tough focus in therapy), work with a professional to figure out how to get what you need out of the experience and move forward.
- Focus on right now. If the future and the rest of your life feel like too much to take on right now, don’t. Choose instead to focus on what you are doing right now, in this moment, and then what you will do next and how those choices can help you to stay sober today.
- Put your recovery first. In everything you do, from choosing your friendships to your job to your home to the food you eat, it can help you to know what to do if you ask yourself, “Will this help me to stay sober?” Your recovery should always come first. Living with this guiding principle will help you to continue making choices that support your sobriety every day.
- Don’t be afraid to connect or reconnect with treatment. If you find you are struggling with relapse or on the verge of relapse, do not hesitate to reach out and connect with the treatment services you need. Whether you opt for an intensive inpatient or outpatient program or simply amp up your engagement with holistic and alternative therapies, make sure to listen to yourself and recognize when you may need to increase your connection to your recovery in order to stay sober.
What do you need to stay sober and give your recovery a boost?