Tips For Early Sobriety & How to Stay Sober After Rehab

Making the decision to get sober and change your life is never easy for someone who has developed an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or both. Many who have used substances to deal with childhood trauma, depression, or an overall apathy toward life feel a life without substances is not achievable. Many people will try a variety of different remedies, tips, and ideas in an attempt to control their drinking and drugging. Maybe they’ll dive into a hobby, ramp up their physical exercise, go on a spiritual retreat, detox with an extreme diet, or quit cold turkey. For some, these might work. However, for people who have an alcohol use disorder, described by The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as “a person who does not know when or how to stop drinking. They spend a lot of time thinking about alcohol, and they cannot control how much they consume, even if it is causing serious problems at home, work, or financially, ”(1), living a life sober is probably the best course of action, but it is not easy. Thankfully, there are institutions and facilities such as detox centers and rehabilitations where you can obtain some early sobriety. These programs last anywhere from seven days to a year and will most definitely help you establish your bearings in early sobriety. But after being in a controlled environment where drugs and alcohol are harder to get, and not having to work or deal with home life, it’s very easy to fall back into old patterns and relapse once reality comes back into the fold. People will give a newly sober alcoholic or drug addict many tips for early sobriety, not knowing if they are any good or not. So, after detoxing and successfully gaining some early sobriety, one might be wondering how to stay sober after rehab. Let’s explore some tips for early sobriety, and some ways on how to stay sober after rehab.

early sobriety

Early Sobriety

The steps one takes in early sobriety are very crucial, and one will need many tips for early sobriety to stay clean beyond the initial period. Spending time away from the drug or drink of their choice has a vast effect on someone’s mental, physical, and emotional levels. In some cases, such as chronic alcoholism, withdrawing can be fatal if not done with the help of medical professionals. In other cases, like narcotics, withdrawing is a painful, long process, but manageable with proper assistance. The Oregon Trail Recovery notes that “it is common for some people recovering from alcohol addiction to experience early sobriety mood swings, fatigue, and depression.”(2) They call this period “early sobriety fatigue” and can be present in recovering alcoholics and addicts for up to 90 days in early sobriety, or longer.

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Tips For Early Sobriety

If you are experiencing early sobriety fatigue, here are some tips for early sobriety:

  • Start to identify triggers, which are people, places, and things that will make you more than likely want to indulge in drinking or drugging.
  • Pay attention to warning signs of a relapse, such as returning to old addictive thinking patterns, behaviors, or seeking out old drinking and drugging buddies.
  • Reach out to somebody with knowledge of sobriety or dealing with the emotional stress that can cause you to use, such as a therapist or a long-standing member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) who can help you detour your cravings for a drink or drug.

There are other tips for early sobriety. Limiting relationship, financial, and job stress can be crucial in making sure you can focus on staying sober in early sobriety. Creating boundaries with those who still use and drink heavily, even if they are family or people you’ve known for years, can help you not feel peer-pressured to use. This does not mean that later on in your sobriety you won’t ever be able to be around people drinking or using, but that usually comes when someone has been sober many years. During early sobriety, it’s best to create a distance and focus on yourself. This may seem hard to achieve, since many aspects of our social life revolve around drinking or using; work parties and family holidays get togethers usually involve drinking, and since marijuana has become decriminalized, social gatherings like concerts, fairs, and tailgating involve vast amounts of marijuana as well. So, this is when perhaps the biggest and possibly best tips for early sobriety comes into play when wondering how to stay sober after rehab; finding connection and a sense of purpose by joining a group of sober individuals in AA or NA, and attending therapy to identifying the emotional, psychological, and physical trauma that led you to uncontrollably drink and drug.

How To Stay Sober After Rehab

How to stay sober after rehab is something many recovering alcoholics and addicts first question when they are about to be set out into the world after treatment. As mentioned, there are many early tips for early sobriety, such as identifying triggers, paying attention to warning signs, and staying away from past drinking and drugging buddies. However, doing these things alone, without a solid group of people to fall back on or delving into how your mind works is very hard to. How to stay sober after rehab should involve joining AA or NA. The idea behind groups like AA and NA are to create a safe space for people who wish to maintain sobriety while learning how to help others in the process. According to VOX.com, attendees of AA and NA “complete 12 steps that combine spiritualistic ideals about addiction, along with the view that it’s a disease, to help them overcome their illness. Among the steps: submit to a higher power, address ‘defects of character’, and make amends for past problems.”(3) In AA and NA, one will find a sponsor, someone with a working knowledge of the 12-steps and many years of sobriety under their belt, to take them through the 12-steps and be a guide and mentor in their sobriety journey. One will also attend AA or NA meetings, in turn creating a wide network of fellow recovering addicts who they can build a safely comfortable sober world with. Therapy and counseling are another great way how to stay sober after rehab. Sitting down with a mental professional who you can get honest with about triggers, warning signs, and how others effect you will help you be able to deal with life’s stresses without having to use a substance as a crutch. So how to stay sober after rehab? Find connection and purpose in AA groups, identify psychological triggers with a therapist, and you can maintain a fruitful and enjoyable sober life.

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References:

  1. What is an alcoholic? How to treat alcoholism (medicalnewstoday.com)
  2. Early Sobriety: What to Expect & Tips for How to Stay Sober (oregontrailrecovery.com)
  3. Why some people swear by Alcoholics Anonymous — and others despise it – Vox