If you have recently stopped drinking or are recovering from an alcohol addiction, then you will want to do everything possible to remain sober and avoid a relapse. Although it may not be something that a newly sober person wants to think about, relapses are common for people new to recovery and should be planned for. Relapses begin long before you turn to pick up a drink or drug and are most likely to sneak up on people who are unable to recognize the warning signs of an impending relapse. The following tips are changes that you can make to help establish a healthier lifestyle and stay sober.

1) Make Some Changes

If you are trying to remain sober, then it is important that you remove previous temptations from your daily routine. In order to develop a healthier lifestyle, some of the immediate changes that you need to make will be obvious. You can’t hang around your old drinking buddies or hangouts and expect to remain sober for very long. Try to avoid people who have encouraged your drinking habits in the past and if this is not possible, then publicize your commitment to sobriety. Hopefully, people will not tempt you with drink offerings if they know that you are in recovery.

In the long-term, it is important to develop goals and establish a schedule. Research shows that having a chaotic or disorganized lifestyle can also hinder your recovery. By creating short-term and long-term goals for yourself in addition to a structured weekly schedule, you will be more focused and have less free time to think about drugs or alcohol.

2) Find a Support Group

You need a supportive network of people who know what you are trying to achieve. Although friends and family members are helpful for a successful recovery, they will never be able to fully understand your struggles unless they too have suffered from addiction. Even worse, it could be a toxic or co-dependent relationship in which your partner or loved one is enabling you without knowing it. If you find it difficult to make new friends or are unsure where to find positive influences, try joining a support group or attending aftercare therapy. The chances of you remaining sober are higher when you are surrounded by other sober and committed people. AA meetings, group therapy, and counseling are a few examples of groups who can help you maintain sobriety.

3) Get Physically Active

Drinking affects your health by not only decreasing your body’s productivity but encouraging bad habits such as unhealthy eating and inactivity. If you have been feeling excessively tired and unmotivated as a result of drinking, then you might want to reevaluate your physical health. Exercise and recreational activities can reduce stress and boredom, which are two relapse triggers. Adopting a regular exercise routine can not only restore a sense of balance in your life, but benefit you physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, it is important that you partake in these activities, even if healthy, in moderation to avoid transferring your addiction to something else.

4) Deal with Past Mistakes

Most people who make their way into recovery have left a lot of pain and suffering in their wake. There are likely many things in their past that caused feelings of shame and guilt such as strained relationships. If your addiction affected someone close to you, then it is important to accept and respect that person’s wishes to give them the proper space needed to heal. Although you can ask for forgiveness and do your best to prove your sobriety to them, you need to accept that they may not want to return to your life. Acceptance is an important part of a healing process. Without it, you will remain bitter about it to the point of disillusionment and eventual relapse.

5) Find a Life Balance

A common mistake that those who have recently obtained sobriety often make is substituting their old addiction with a new one. Individuals who suffer from addiction are generally compulsive, which can be dangerous if not approached with in moderation. Find a new hobby, job, or activity to fill your time, but make sure that you are doing so in healthy amounts. Recovering addicts are susceptible to unhealthy habits such as approaching their new diet, exercise program, and even their participation in their mutual support groups with a compulsion. This could lead to a relapse or worse, a cycle of new addiction.

Staying sober is a result of supportive networks, proper aftercare, and adaptability to a healthier lifestyle. It requires constant dedication to the person you are becoming. Remember to periodically remind yourself and those around you of your sobriety goals so that you do not risk a relapse. Dedication, moderation, and support from your loved ones will help keep you on the path to recovery.