Getting sober means getting through a period of uncontrollable cravings, trying to resist urges and ignoring addictive thoughts. You might say, “Hey, I deserve a wine today!” when it actually means “I need alcohol for my addiction!”
Getting sober can be the most important decision you could ever make in your life. When you realize that you need help, deciding what to do next and how to do it can be difficult and confusing. Like you, most addicts find it difficult to quit overnight. It is a gradual process that can take weeks, or even years, to overcome.
Steps to Getting Sober
The path to an addiction-free, fulfilling and healthy life starts with the simplest of steps. It begins with admitting to yourself that you are powerless and that pride is your enemy. To succeed, you must completely surrender yourself and recognize that alcoholism and drug addiction are things that you cannot control once you have begun.
Although deciding to get clean and sober is the first step, it is the easiest part. Actually leaving your old ways and staying clean and sober is an entirely different story.
- Stop drinking or taking drugs. The only way to begin is to stop with your addiction. We don’t mean switching from liquor to beer, or doing it gradually. We mean putting down whatever drugs or alcohol you have in your hands right now.
- Practice complete abstinence. Your main goal should be to go through every single day without drinking, smoking or taking drugs. Never make yourself believe that you can have complete control over your drug or alcohol intake by taking them moderately. There is no such thing especially for addicts. It might work with a few tries but you are bound to fail in the long run. We guarantee that.
- Take care of yourself. Eat right, get plenty of sleep and exercise. Take care of yourself to combat stress, cravings and other issues that may trigger your addictions. Always deal with stress in a healthy way.
- Follow what works for you. Addiction recovery is not an exact science. What has worked for one person may not work for another. Never believe it when anyone tells you that their way is the only single way to succeed with your recovery.
- Do not lie to yourself. When something doesn’t work, take a quick action to change it. Do it as fast as you can before you get hooked to your addictions again.
- Build a support network. Make friends, meet professionals that can help you with your addiction issues, rekindle relationships with your family and make sure that you avoid those people who will only make you go back to your old habits. Remember, however, that you are responsible for your own recovery just as you are responsible for your own life. Although you can seek out support and take advice, ultimately, you will have to deal with everything on your own. Be strong.
- Develop new hobbies, interests and activities. When you are not busy, you give yourself lots of time to think about many things, including going back to your addictive habits. Developing new hobbies and doing different activities is important especially during the first few months of trying to get sober. Learn to have fun without drugs or alcohol. Take long walks, start playing an instrument, fly a kite, run, bike, hike or do whatever interests you.
- If you can afford it, seek for treatment. In-patient treatment always works best. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The goal of drug abuse treatment is to stop drug use and allow people to lead active lives in the family, workplace, and community”. Being with a sober living home or a drug rehabilitation facility will help in many ways.
Living sober is enjoying a tranquil life. It is the calm after the storm. Sometimes you will still get interrupted by emotions, but they have become very manageable by then. This stage in your life is when you realize that there are tricky and negative emotions that come along, but instead of being tempting, they have become annoying to you. They pass, come and go.
When you start living sober, you start feeling great about the fact that you live a normal and stable life. In a nutshell, living sober means living without any struggle of going back to your addictions. This is the goal of anyone who is starting to get sober. Once you have achieved this stage, then it means that you have totally overcome addiction and are now living a happy and normal life. Congratulations!