Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is a 12-step program founded in 1935 for people struggling with alcohol abuse. AA has a presence in most cities and rural communities across the United States. Narcotics Anonymous is a 12-step program founded in the 1950s to address addiction to amphetamines, opiates, barbiturates, and other substances. SMART Recovery is a relatively new organization, and it is not a 12-step program. Five concepts emphasize differences between SMART recovery and 12-step programs like NA or AA.
Breaking Down the Differences Between SMART Recovery and 12-Step Programs
SMART Recovery was founded as the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network, or ADASHN in 1992. It became SMART Recovery in 1994. AA and NA are the most recognized and firmly established addiction recovery organizations, but the benefit of 12-step programs is questionable. The chance of staying clean for a year after starting a 12-step program is less than 25%. Some estimates are as low as 5%. Many people do not feel comfortable with the steps and dogma of NA or AA. SMART Recovery’s protocols center on the six stages of change, and they are much more flexible than 12-step programs.
Chapters of Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous can overlap or maintain strict separation. The level of separation depends on specific groups and communities. Some AA chapters are strictly for people with a history of alcohol abuse. NA chapters make most distinctions between alcohol and other substances, although the terminology is slightly different. While people in recovery are clean in NA. They are sober while in AA. The Basic Text is NA‘s version of the Big Book in AA.
Narcotics Anonymous is meant to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for people recovering from substance abuse. The demographics of NA and AA chapters can be very different. Young adults are now more likely to use a substance other than alcohol. The difference in age, circumstances, and drug of choice often lead people to feel more comfortable in NA than AA, or vice-versa. SMART Recovery does not separate meetings or strategies for recovery based on the substance of choice.
NA, AA, and other 12-step programs aim for complete abstinence. Most chapters want people to be clean or sober for at least 24 hours before attending a meeting. There is no discussion of tapering or strategies to reduce substance use instead of abstaining. This can be a problem because people can’t access the support of a meeting during a relapse. The requirement of complete abstinence leads people to lie or close themselves off. Most do this at meetings instead of reaching out for support and help. The chip system contributes to this problem. People who relapse are given a one-day chip no matter how much clean time they previously had. Tracking clean time with chips is helpful for some people, but it can also be discouraging and humiliating. The chip system is another factor pressuring some people to be dishonest and withdraw from the group.
SMART Recovery does not use a chip system or require complete abstinence. At meetings, people can discuss drug use and harm reduction. Harm reduction refers to behaviors and resources that lower the risk of death, injury, or illness. Providing clean needles is an example of harm reduction. People can reach out for help and receive advice or support during a relapse in SMART Recovery’s permissive atmosphere. The deviation from mandatory abstinence lets people seek help while they are still using.
The initial step in NA and AA is admitting powerlessness over addiction. Individuals can feel that the very first step is forcing them to give up control of their own lives. The spiritual aspect may feel manipulative. These concepts are especially concerning during court-ordered attendance. People can feel forced to attend meetings, forced to admit helplessness, and forced to acknowledge a higher power regardless of personal beliefs. The combination can spark so much anger, resentment, and frustration that it results in giving up on treatment entirely.
SMART Recovery is not based on admitting powerlessness or a higher power. Individuals can choose to incorporate a higher power or religious beliefs, but they aren’t required to do so. SMART Recovery includes behavioral and cognitive therapeutic techniques.
One of the most significant differences between SMART recovery and 12-step programs is the conclusion. NA and AA consider recovery an ongoing process; everyone is a recovering addict or alcoholic, and there is no such thing as a recovered addict. This outlook is beneficial for some people. It can provide a sense of purpose and prevent relapse. Unfortunately, the concept of recovery as a continuous process that is never finished can also be discouraging or trigger feelings of hopelessness.
SMART Recovery does not promote recovery as a lifelong process. The sixth step of change is graduation. Participants in SMART Recovery don’t have to graduate. They can participate in active recovery as long as they wish. It is entirely a personal choice. Each person can stay in recovery indefinitely, but a conclusion is within reach too. Putting behaviors and thoughts related to addiction in the past, with no presence in the future is very empowering.
Look at All Options and Differences Between SMART Recovery and 12-Step
Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and SMART Recovery are all legitimate networks to aid people in recovery. Individuals determine the best program to join. Some people do very well with NA and AA, while others feel like 12-step programs are distressing or restrictive. SMART Recovery is less accessible than AA or NA. SMART Recovery doesn’t have as many chapters as NA or AA. Individuals seeking treatment and support should look at all available options and attend a variety of meetings to decide which program will help them be successful.
To learn more about the differences between SMART recovery and 12-step programs, or for more information on addiction treatment, contact Awakenings toll-free today!
Summer is on its way, and millions of people are planning cookouts and beach trips. Of course, most of these summer activities include alcohol. For a newly sober person, this may seem like the ultimate challenge. Can you participate in these things without drinking? Are you able to stay sober this summer?
Although summer brings memories of drinking, it is an excellent time of year to stay sober. You can find many ways to keep yourself busy that don’t include alcoholic beverages. It will be easier than in the winter months when you are often stuck at home, bored because of bad weather. Everyone who has beat alcoholism will agree that boredom is your worst enemy when it comes to resisting the urge to drink.
So, to help you stay sober this summer and still have a good time, here are a few tips.
Tips on How to Stay Sober This Summer
Bring Your Own Non-Alcoholic Drink to the Event
People love to get you drunk. If you’re standing around at the event without a drink in your hand, someone will try to give you one. Be prepared for this scenario by bringing your own beverage. Fill a big red solo cup with your favorite flavored water or juice or whatever you prefer. Then, you can say, “No, thanks. I already have a drink.”
Make Sure You Have an Exit Plan
The longer you hang around where people are drinking, the more likely you are to give in to temptation. You tell yourself that one little drink won’t hurt anything. But, if you’re honest, one drink can lead to another and another. One way to avoid temptation is to plan to leave early. Take a sober friend with you to the party who can back you up when it comes time to go before the party is over. You should be able to come up with a good excuse for your early exit.
Have an Emergency Contact Available
If you end up going to the event alone, make sure you have an emergency contact on board. This contact should be someone you can call if you find yourself feeling tempted to drink. Sometimes, just talking to an outside support person can bring you back to reality and help you avoid giving in to the temptation to take ‘just one little drink.’
Know What You’re Going to Say
Going to an event that promotes alcohol is a brave move. Before you go, it’s a good idea to know what you will say when someone shoves a drink at you. You can tell the truth and say that you no longer drink. Or, you can laugh it off and say something funny like “I’m allergic to alcohol. When I drink it, I break out in handcuffs!” Of course, simple excuses are often the best. You can simply tell them you are the designated driver, or that you are avoiding alcohol for health reasons.
Spend More Time With Sober People
If it’s early in your sobriety, you should try to spend more time with sober friends. The less you have to deal with temptation, the better. It’s essential for you to learn how to have fun without alcohol present. The good thing is, you’ll find out how much you’d missed when you were always intoxicated. Staying busy with sober activities is the best way to avoid boredom and loneliness, both of which are big triggers.
Find Online Resources or Webinars
The internet is an excellent resource for finding support and advice to help you stay sober this summer. You can find many valuable tips for staying sober and enjoy chatting with others who are having the same experience. Also, if you’ve just completed a rehab program, the counselors can provide information about support groups and aftercare programs in your area.
Stay Sober This Summer and Be Proud
You’ll be surprised at the creative ways to fill the void alcohol once filled. Stay sober this summer, wake up with a clear mind every day, and you’ll be proud of what you’ve accomplished.
rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov – Alcohol and Your Health: Questions and Answers
A recovering addict’s ultimate challenge is preventing relapse and remaining committed to sobriety. It sounds easy enough. But, the truth is, it can be one of the hardest things a person must deal with in life after rehab. Let’s look at some of the ways an aftercare program can help these individuals transition back into society and avoid relapse.
Why Recovering Addicts Need an Aftercare Program
When you leave rehab, the real recovery process begins. You’re leaving behind the security of the facility and heading back out into a world full of expected and unexpected challenges. This is why rehab counselors recommend an aftercare plan that you can depend on when things get tough.
Seeing the world through sober eyes can cause a person who is fresh out of rehab to doubt their ability to cope. All the old triggers are still there. Plus, they feel like a stranger in their old environment. These are only a few of the reasons why an aftercare program is needed to help the person transition into life after rehab.
Ultimately, the key to a recovering addict’s success is support. With a team of caring counselors and peers, a recovering person won’t feel that they are the only one struggling to overcome one of life’s biggest challenges.
What to Expect From an Aftercare Program
With the support and guidance of an aftercare program, you won’t feel alone in your attempts to reclaim your place in the community. Someone is always available if you need advice, assistance, or need someone to talk to.
Transition planning is essential for a recovering addict.
For instance, here are some of the ways an aftercare program can help a person stay on track:
- Assists with obtaining employment
- Locates sober living residences
- Finds community resources, meetings
- Arranges transportation, child care
- Provides counseling
- Plans group activities with peers
The goal of an aftercare plan is to give a person the tools he or she will need to stay sober. The world outside of rehab can be a scary place, especially for a person who was isolated in their addiction for an extended period. An aftercare program provides a source of strength and stability for the struggling person and can make all the difference in their overall success.
Life After Rehab: Taking the Next Step
No doubt, rehab was tough, but you made it through. You graduated and are ready to show the world what you can do. Now, the hard part really begins. As you take this step into the world of sobriety, remember, you are not alone.
You learned many things in rehab about how to face life’s challenges without resorting to drugs or alcohol. These skills will help as you go about getting your life back together. Nevertheless, sometimes things don’t work out the way you’d planned. At these times, an aftercare counselor is only a phone call away.
Recovery is a process that has no defined end date. But, at the end of each day, as you continue to maintain sobriety, you’ve reached a goal. Day after day, your confidence grows with each new goal you achieve. You’re building a foundation for your new, addiction-free life.
Learn More About Transition Planning at Awakenings Rehabilitation
If you are ready to enter an addiction treatment program, contact us at Awakenings today. We will be happy to talk to you about our program and give you more information about aftercare and transition planning. We believe that life after rehab begins with getting the best treatment possible.
alcohol.org – Aftercare
Now that the holidays are over, you can step back and think about how you want to spend this next year. If you’re considering giving up drugs or alcohol as your New Year’s resolution, you won’t be alone. Of course, some people will succeed while others fail. But don’t despair. You can be one of the successful individuals who makes a change for the better. With the right treatment, you will be able to overcome drug addiction and remain sober for the rest of your life.
The First Step to Overcome Drug Addiction
You’ve already taken the first step toward recovery by recognizing that you need to seek help for your addiction. For most people, this is the toughest decision to make. The next steps you need to take will take you down a path that can be bumpy and difficult, but in the end, you’ll be glad you made the effort to keep going.
On your journey to sobriety, you will need to change many things such as:
- How you deal with stress
- Who you spend time with
- How you spend your free time
- Your self-image
- Medications you take for illness or pain
The good news is, the professionals at a drug rehabilitation center will help you stay motivated and provide the support and guidance you’ll need during this transition. With a strong desire and commitment to change, you can succeed in overcoming drug addiction in 2019.
Some Steps to Help Overcome Drug Addiction
Here is a breakdown of how to proceed toward recovery:
Step 1: Think about the things you need to change.
Keep track of your drug use. This list will help you realize the extent of the role addiction is playing in your life. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of quitting. Think about the effects of your addiction on your family, career, friends, and your health. Ask yourself what is preventing you from changing and think about what could help you succeed.
Step 2: Prepare to make the changes.
You’ll need to keep reminding yourself about the reasons why you want to change your life. If you’ve tried to quit before and failed, think about what worked and what didn’t. Try to set specific goals about quitting such as a start date. Remove all reminders of your drug or alcohol use from your home. Tell friends and family about your plan to recover and ask for their support.
Step 3: Explore treatment options.
Choosing the right drug rehabilitation program to help you overcome drug addiction in 2019 can be a challenge. If you search online, you’ll find thousands of treatment programs that claim to be the best. But, if you know the basics of what you need and what to expect, the decision will be easier. For example, in most cases, a long-term inpatient program is the most highly recommended approach to treatment. An inpatient facility provides a safe, comfortable environment where patients remain 24/7 with no access to addictive substances. In this way, they are not faced with everyday stress or other triggers and can focus on healing.
Other types of programs include Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP), Self-Help, 12-Step, Sober Living, and SMART recovery programs. Although each program varies in their philosophies and approaches to treatment, they all adhere to the basics of detoxification, relapse prevention, anger management, behavioral modification, and aftercare, to name a few.
Choosing the Best Treatment Program to Overcome Drug Addiction
In your search for a treatment facility, remember that the program should address more than just the drug abuse. Addiction is a complex disorder composed of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual factors. No program works equally for everyone. So, you’ll need to look for a facility that focuses on adapting the program to fit your specific needs. Also, many facilities offer considerations for sexual orientation, gender, age, physical health issues, and religion.
Still unsure? We can help. Call us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today to learn more about how to overcome drug addiction. We will be happy to answer your questions and recommend a treatment program based on your situation.
If this is going to be your first sober Christmas, congratulations! You’ve come a long way, and your success is commendable. Getting sober is tough, but staying that way can present a wide range of challenges. One of the biggest hurdles for recovering alcoholics is getting through the holidays without drinking.
Of course, there are thousands of well-meaning tips, but many of them are easier said than done. Even the stress of worrying about it can make you want to take a drink. So, how can you take part in the holiday festivities and maintain your sobriety? Maybe these tips will help you find joy in sober holidays.
Tips on How to Have Your First Sober Christmas
Most of the following tips have been around for ages, but even though they seem fairly obvious, we hope they’ll prove to be helpful.
Obvious Tip #1: Decide not to drink.
This sounds like an obvious point but think about it this way. You think you have made up your mind not to drink. But, deep down, you might still be a little undecided and planning to play it by ear. If that little seed of doubt is planted, you’re going to struggle to say no to alcohol. Believe it or not, people decide they’re going to drink long before picking up that glass. Actually taking the drink is just the final step in a long line of other subconscious or conscious decisions.
Obvious Tip #2: Think positive.
Yes, we’re all tired of that bit of advice, but sometimes it works. Remember, you’ve been strong enough and smart enough to get sober. Don’t undo all your hard work for one night of fun. Visualize yourself having a sober good time and waking up without the dreaded hangover everyone else is gonna have.
Obvious Tip #3: Just don’t go.
If you are firmly committed to your sobriety, you’ll have some tough decisions to make. For instance, if you know the family gatherings or social events will be too difficult for you, just don’t go. Of course, you don’t want to offend anyone by declining to attend, but you are the one who is in charge of your sobriety. That puts you in the position of making unpleasant choices, but ultimately, you’ll be glad you stuck by your decision.
Obvious Tip #4: Be in charge of your drinks.
Holiday events call for special drinks, but they don’t have to be alcoholic. Plan ahead and come up with some unique non-alcoholic beverages that make you feel like you’re part of the celebration. Don’t depend on the host of the party to have something you’ll like. Bring your own non-alcoholic specialty drinks if this is your first sober Christmas.
Obvious Tip #5: Keep to your routine.
Holidays are notorious for upsetting our daily routines. This can be troublesome for recovering alcoholics because they need to keep doing the things that keep them sober. One way to avoid getting side-tracked is to choose three things that are vital to keeping you on the sober path. Running, reading, bubble baths, whatever works for you. Keep doing them no matter what. Anything you can do to reinforce your accomplishment is a step in the right direction. The holidays are temporary, so don’t let them cause permanent harm to your sobriety.
Setting Realistic Goals for the Holidays
Are you thinking you can handle your difficult relatives better now that you’re sober? Maybe you can. But, don’t expect too much. If they get out of control, just focus on yourself and don’t let their behavior lead you to take a drink. Set realistic goals that will give you a way out if things ramp up. For instance, take your own car so you can leave if necessary. Or, take a sober friend with you for added support.
If your first sober Christmas must be spent away from home, you can still attend AA, NA, or other meetings to help you stay focused. Spending a sober Christmas will take some planning, but you’ve already come this far. You can get through the holidays without drinking and still have a good time. All of us at Awakenings Rehabilitation wish you a successfully sober holiday season.
The role of aftercare in addiction treatment is vital to helping a recovering addict maintain sobriety and prevent relapse after leaving rehab. Most treatment providers work with clients during intake to create a plan for continuing support after they complete rehab.
Aftercare helps provide the encouragement and guidance a person needs while attempting to rebuild their lives. After being sheltered within the rehab facility for a few months or more, the outside world can seem overwhelming to the person. Also, the individual has been accustomed to a daily schedule of goals to achieve and activities to keep them busy. Leaving that structured environment behind can throw a recovering addict off balance, and possibly result in relapse. For these reasons and more that we will cover below, aftercare in addiction treatment is a must.
Acclimating to the Outside World After Rehab
Most people who have been struggling with addiction for an extended time have lost touch with how to perform daily routines. Throughout their addiction, the main thing on their mind was being high and finding money for more of their substance of choice. Daily responsibilities such as paying bills, cleaning house, personal hygiene, attending school or work, and maintaining relationships are long forgotten.
Now that rehab is over, it’s time to take up where they left off, and the person is not sure that they can handle it all. With the right aftercare program, a recovering individual can find a compassionate person to talk to when things get tough.
Words of encouragement and praise are often hard to come by for someone just out of rehab, especially when friends and family have turned their backs. The staff and counselors of an aftercare program understand the challenges that await a recovering addict. Their advice and empathy are valuable to someone who is in a transition from addiction.
Other Benefits of Aftercare in Addiction Treatment
Studies reveal that relapse rates are as high as 40 to 60 percent during the first year after leaving rehab. However, it’s important to stress that relapse does not mean failure on the part of the individual or the rehab. It merely means a little more work must be done. Many factors contribute to relapse, so it’s necessary to ensure that the individual has a variety of resources available. An effective aftercare program can provide those resources or recommend alternatives.
One of the main goals of aftercare in addiction treatment is to help prevent relapse. But, the role of these programs also extends to helping the individual find the right balance in their new life. The person must learn to manage new responsibilities while also focusing on remaining sober. It won’t take much to tip the scale the wrong way and send everything tumbling down into the black hole of addiction once again.
An aftercare therapist can help the individual maintain balance by keeping them on a regular schedule of meetings and therapy sessions that cater to the person’s specific needs. These sessions help renew their commitment to sobriety.
Types of Aftercare Programs Available
Recovery doesn’t stop the day rehab ends. It is an ongoing process that will continue for a lifetime. For that reason, the aftercare program a person chooses should be one they can trust and depend on for the level of support needed.
There are a variety of aftercare programs available today, and a recovering addict can take part in more than one at a time.
Here are a few of the most commonly used services:
- IOP – Intensive Outpatient Programs: Typically provides four of five days of programming per week. The program can include group and individual counseling sessions, wellness programs, and more. The person can live at home or in a sober living home during this time. IOP’s are designed to support a person physically, mentally, and emotionally as they transition back into society.
- 12-Step Programs – These fellowship programs such as AA and NA help provide continuing support and guidance as they navigate the complexities of recovery. Participants share their experience with addiction and recovery, give and receive tips and advice, and improve communication skills and self-confidence.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Known as CBT, these programs are short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment. It focuses on problem-solving and changing patterns of behavior and replacing negative thinking with positive attitudes.
- Support Groups – Local support groups are often designed to cater to a specific addiction. Recovering addicts are advised to surround themselves with people who are sober, so these groups are excellent resources. Many new and lasting friendships form among members of these groups.
If one of these programs doesn’t meet a person’s expectations, it is okay to try another. It may take a few attempts before finding the right one.
What’s Next for a Recovering Addict?
Completing rehab is a milestone to celebrate. It took a lot of commitment and hard work to get to this point. But, the hard work doesn’t end the day you leave the facility. You will have to work on recovery each day as you face temptations and challenges. At Awakenings Rehabilitation, we understand that you may be a little apprehensive about getting back into daily life. That’s why we recommend aftercare in addiction treatment that includes community support and transition planning. Contact us today if you would like more information.
Though it is true that drug and alcohol addiction has grown to be a very alarming issue in this country, it is also true that many attempts have been made to do something about this problem and to effectively address it. Substance abuse is a growing problem in this nation. However, some individuals who have a spiritual background find that when they get back to their roots of spirituality, they find an inner strength that helps them in fighting their addictions. Spirituality in addiction recovery has been found to be the answer for many individuals.
Applying Spirituality in Addiction Recovery
When a person finds that they can apply their spirituality in addiction recovery, they can ask a higher power to help them as they try to recover from addiction. Many individuals find this to be very comforting as they are searching and working towards sobriety and freedom from addiction. When a person is in a faith-based treatment program, they can attend bible studies and be counseled by ministers who direct them back to their faith. Most treatment facilities even have church services which clients can attend if they feel they want to participate in church activities.
Many people who have grown up with religion and faith, but have become addicted to a substance and therefore, may feel that they have been a disappointment to family members and to God because of this addiction. However, with a faith-based recovery program, they can regain their spirituality in addiction recovery and carry this with them throughout their recovery process.
How Spirituality Works in a Treatment Program
Addiction treatment programs in faith-based treatment centers work much in the same way that treatment programs in non-spiritual facilities work. Individuals are taught the same skills and given the same tools to avoid temptation and triggers when recovering from addiction. They go through the detoxification process just as any other patient who first enters treatment for addiction.
The difference is that they simply add their relationship with God and their faith to the mix when going through counseling and group sessions. Each individual has their own spirituality in addiction treatment that comforts and supports them through their recovery process. Many individuals get back to their relationships with other spiritual people who lend support and encouragement as they get back to their life of sobriety and well-being.
Spirituality in Addiction Recovery
A big part of beating addiction is in finding spirituality in recovery. This is the part of a recovery program that essentially helps a person to really free themselves from even the most brutal of addictions, and it is this approach more so than anything else that assists them in truly freeing themselves from addiction for life. With spirituality in addiction recovery, people are able to build a base of strength and effective tools for triumphing over even the harshest of addictions.
Spirituality in addiction recovery is a type of treatment program that can be chosen in almost any addiction treatment facility. While beating addiction is a tough battle, an inpatient addiction treatment center that approaches addiction from a perspective which will benefit you, the client, is one that can truly be an asset to your recovery.
Contact Awakenings for a Program Designed for Your Needs
Whether you choose to find your spirituality in addiction recovery or if you prefer some other type of treatment, a program can be designed that will fit your individual needs and preferences. Don’t continue down the path of addiction you are on today. Call one of our addiction specialists to learn more about a faith-based or some other type of treatment program for your needs. There are many from which you can choose. To get started, contact Awakenings today.
Summer is almost here, and it brings the promise of long days and more time to have fun in the sun. For many people, summer activities include backyard BBQs, beach parties, music festivals, and more. Indulging in alcohol or drugs also seems to be high on the list of events. If you are a recovering addict, you may be wondering how to have fun sober. You don’t need to worry about feeling left out, though. It is possible to have a great time with people who don’t drink or do drugs. Remember that you are doing this to protect your sobriety.
Making Plans for a Sober Summer
Getting caught in a situation where drugs or alcohol are prevalent can undo all your hard work if you don’t have a sound plan for handling those types of surprises.
For your protection, make an effort to do some of the things on the following list to help you stay on track this summer:
- Be aware of your triggers: You know what makes you feel most like relapsing, so plan to cut these activities out of your summer schedule.
- Create a plan for fun: You might end up at a party or picnic that includes drugs or alcohol, so plan to take a sober friend along with you for support.
- Get involved in a new project: Take a class or learn a new skill or hobby. Plan regularly scheduled summer-long activities such as swimming, hiking, exercise classes.
- Spend more time with sober friends: Staying busy with sober people is a great way to get accustomed to your new lifestyle.
- Get a summer job: This is a great way to learn a new skill, add to your resume, and explore new career options. Be sure the job isn’t one where its easy for employees to sneak around and get high.
- Become a volunteer: Now that you’re sober, you may have too much free time to fill. Try volunteering in community projects. Giving back to others is a great way to build self-esteem. You could also become a sponsor for someone who is in a self-help or 12-step program.
Of course, there are many other ways to stay busy and on the right path during the summer. Some organizations offer things like sober cruises, sober music festivals, sober tours of distant cities, and more. These activities give you a chance to explore the world and meet new, sober friends.
Reward Yourself for Learning How to Have Fun Sober
You’ve come a long way, and need to be proud of your accomplishments. Getting sober and staying sober take a considerable amount of effort. You should reward yourself for learning how to have fun sober. Involve your support group and plan a special day doing something you love such as a water park or street fair. Or, spend some quality time with the ones you love. Staying sober doesn’t have to be all hard work. When you find that you’re enjoying life more than ever before, you know you made the right choice.
Other Tips for Getting Through a Sober Summer
With drugs and alcohol as prevalent in society as they are today, you won’t always be able to avoid being around people who imbibe.
Some ways to help you stick to your decision to get sober include:
- Remember why you stopped drinking or using. Don’t lose sight of the image of the sober person you wanted to become.
- If you find yourself tempted to partake of drugs or alcohol, think about what will happen next. Would it lead to more? Would you regret it tomorrow?
- Have a backup plan. This can include taking your own non-alcoholic beverages or having an escape route planned in case you want to leave.
You’ll learn to appreciate your ability to stay in control of your sobriety. With each accomplishment, your self-respect improves. When you learn how to have fun sober, it opens up a whole new world for you and your loved ones.
If you would like more information, please contact us at our toll-free number.
When you leave rehab, you might think the hard part of recovery is behind you. In some respects that is true, but, many challenges lie ahead of you as well. Staying strong in recovery takes dedication and the will to succeed. To help you achieve your goal of sobriety, apply the coping skills you learned in rehab. Also, there are several other suggestions to help you stay on track.
Here are ten tips for transitioning smoothly into sober living:
Suggestions for Staying Strong in Recovery
After rehab, it is essential for recovering addicts to put their recovery first. It’s often difficult to avoid situations that might trigger a relapse because you don’t want to offend anyone. But, you must do whatever is necessary to stay sober.
Other things you can try for staying strong in recovery and keeping on the right path include:
- Know Your “Triggers” – Did anger, anxiety, depression, or discomfort cause you to drink or use drugs in the past? If so, do whatever you can to avoid these emotions to prevent relapsing. It’s easier said than done, but staying busy with sober activities can help.
- Build or Join a Support Group – There are many support groups for recovering addicts that you can join such as 12-Step meetings, SMART Recovery, or faith-based and non-religious groups. These groups help you feel that you aren’t alone in your struggle to remain sober. Being part of a group tends to help addicts with staying strong in recovery as well.
- Make Positive changes in Your Lifestyle – Decreasing stress and cultivating wellness is a great way to avoid relapse. A healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and regular exercise are vital to helping you keep a positive outlook. A healthy mind and body is less likely to crave mood-altering substances.
- Practicing Mindfulness – When you have a tough moment try to focus on one thing only. Focus on deep breathing for a few minutes. If the situation is more than you can handle, get away by going for a snack or taking a nap. Do something to make yourself feel better.
- Find a Job – Being gainfully employed helps pay the bills, but it’s also a boost to your self-esteem. A sense of self-worth is one of the best weapons against relapse. Take is slowly in the beginning, work part-time for awhile until you’re comfortable with the responsibility.
- Set Goals and Track Your Progress – These goals can include personal goals, family goals, and career goals. But, be careful that you don’t set unrealistic goals that will cause you a lot of stress. Each time you reach a goal, you become stronger in your conviction to succeed in recovery.
- Hire a Life Coach or Recovery Coach – These individuals help people organize their daily routine to avoid boredom, which is a known trigger for relapse. They also help a person set goals and make plans to achieve them. A life coach will also assist with finding a job, a place to live and help arrange transportation.
- Show and Feel Gratitude – Don’t focus on the past. Surviving addiction is a feat you should be proud of, so don’t dwell on past wrongs. Reliving past wrongdoings can make you sad or depressed. Learn to look forward and see the beauty in living sober.
- Take Time for Yourself – It’s important to stay busy during recovery, but you also need a little downtime. If you don’t take time to relax and do something nice for yourself, you may start feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Remember, this is about you and your successful recovery.
- It’s Okay to Say “No” – Recovering addicts often feel the need to prove themselves or to make up for past poor choices. Before they know it, the obligations they’ve made take a toll and leave the person feeling inadequate. It’s okay to say no sometimes.
Other Ways to Ensure Long-Term Recovery
When you were attending rehab, your counselors worked with you to create an aftercare plan to assist you in transitioning back into society. It is important that you follow-through with this plan in addition to the above suggestions.
Many aftercare services can be valuable sources of encouragement and guidance as you learn to navigate through the day as a sober person. Someone is always available to offer advice or listen when you need to vent. They can also be valuable resources for information on finding jobs, transportation, daycare for your child/children, and more.
If you would like more suggestions for staying strong in recovery, contact us today. One of our representatives will be happy to talk with you.
This is a question asked by addicts as well as the average person when it comes to addiction. In recent years, addiction has been classified as a legitimate mental illness. The source of addiction comes from an abnormal prefrontal cortex, which doesn’t ever fully heal. There are many addicts who have been sober for months or years that have a different way of talking about their sobriety. Some say that they’re in recovery and others say that they have recovered. So, can a person fully recover from addiction?
The best way to think about addiction is to relate it to other chronic illnesses like diabetes or cancer. People can recover from both of these illnesses, but there is always the potential for relapse. For those who go through chemotherapy, they may get a clean bill of health saying that all of the cancer is no longer visible in their system, but there’s still a possibility that it may return.
Can Someone Fully Recover from Addiction?
Although the cancer patient may have recovered from the state they were once in, there’s always the possibility of the cancer returning. This person must follow the directions of their doctor in order to have the best chances of avoiding a relapse. The same can be said for those who suffer from addiction.
To this day, there’s no known cure for addiction, but millions of people have recovered. These people have gone through treatment programs or have done other methods to get sober. They can maintain their sobriety, but it often takes a lot of work. Many addicts find that their drinking or using was only part of the problem. It was their way of living that lead them to the alcohol or drugs. To fully recover from addiction, they will need to make some lifestyle changes.
The Obsession has Been Lifted
Addiction is a mental obsession and physical craving. Most addicts drink or use when they don’t want to because they have acted on impulses or have compulsions to drink or use. Usually, when an addict takes the first drink or drug, that obsession and craving kick in. All they can think about is taking the next drink or finding more drugs. When they’re out of alcohol or drugs, they feel anxious, and all they can think about is how to obtain more.
After some time in sobriety, the obsession is lifted, and this may be what addicts speak of when they say that they have recovered. Over time, the brain begins to heal as the addict replaces their old habits with new ones. One day, they wake up and realize that their intense cravings and mental obsession to drink or use are gone. This is an extremely freeing experience for most addicts.
Much like the cancer patient, addicts should continue to seek help even after the obsession has been lifted. They can do this by ensuring that they maintain good mental health. Different treatment centers offer aftercare programs for their alumni, and an addict can also move into a sober living home where they can feel more comfortable before transitioning back into the world.
If you would like more information on how to fully recover from addiction, contact Awakenings today at our toll-free number.