New to Sobriety? A Beginner’s Guide to Staying Strong in RecoveryPat Fontana
Recovering from an addiction can be scary. You are entering a new phase in your life, one in which you cannot depend on drugs or alcohol to numb pain or to give you energy to get through your day. The beginning of sobriety is also a very rewarding phase in your life, as you learn to manage your cravings and become a healthier person, mentally and physically. If you are new to sobriety, the key to your success will be staying strong in recovery.
There is no one solution to the temptations you may face in recovery. Everyone’s needs and responses are different. What works for one person may not work for another. You will find, as you move through the stages of recovery, that some strategies are more effective or are easier for you to handle. Regardless of the specific type of program you decide to pursue, remember that an ongoing program of recovery is essential for long-term abstinence for most individuals.
Coping Skills and Willpower
One common fear for the beginner is that you may not be capable of recovery. You may believe that recovery takes special strength or willpower that you’re just not feeling right now.
While no one can go through recovery for you and you do need to have a desire to change for yourself, neither addiction nor sobriety is solely based on willpower. However, you will need coping skills, especially when you are first starting out, so that you know how to handle certain situations and certain temptations that may arise. Those coping skills will affect various areas of your life and the lives of those around you.
Dimensions Supporting Recovery
The US Department of Health & Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) describes recovery as a “process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” SAMHSA outlines four major dimensions of your life that will support your recovery:
- Your health. Managing your addiction, your recovery, and all the symptoms associated with it will become a matter of making healthy choices that support your physical and emotional well-being.
- Your home. Of course, the meaning of “home” is also different for different people, but in essence a stable and safe place to live it will become an essential part of your recovery.
- Your daily purpose. Participating in meaningful daily activities gives you a sense of purpose and independence.
- Your community. Your relationships and social support network will become increasingly important to you as you work through your recovery.
Steps to Staying Strong
When you begin your journey toward sobriety and recovery, you will face many challenges. Friends will ask you why you are not drinking or perhaps even why you do not want to socialize with them any longer. Be honest with them about your purpose and your goals. You will need to stay strong and resolved!
One of the first steps to staying strong in recovery is to take care of your own physical and mental health. Find positive options for managing stress and relaxing. Practicing yoga and meditation can help tremendously. Even just going for a long walk can help clear your mind and rejuvenate your body. A new routine of physical exercise can help keep your body as well as your mind strong.
Look for ways to distract yourself from cravings in a constructive manner. For example, you could develop a mantra in which you tell yourself that you are strong, and you have what it takes to move past the craving. Try keeping a gratitude journal, noting all of the new things you have become grateful for in your newfound sobriety, so you will not dwell on what you have given up.
A support group can help tremendously as well. You may find that you have to sever some past relationships, particularly with friends and associates who are still using drugs or alcohol. A new group of friends who understand what you are going through and who support each other through sobriety can be very helpful as you begin your new journey.
IF YOU NEED SUPPORT TO STAY STRONG IN YOUR RECOVERY, CONTACT SOBER AUSTIN
People can and do recover every day, but they seldom do it alone. If you are looking for help in the Austin, Texas area, you will find it here. Sober Austin provides resources to those seeking a substance-free life and those who have loved ones struggling with addiction. Please browse our site to learn more about finding support in Austin. You can also contact us directly by calling 512-981-6572 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.