Alcohol and drug addiction recovery involves more than just becoming sober—it also takes a lot of work to know how to stay sober, especially after you leave a treatment program. When your time in addiction treatment comes to an end, you will suddenly be exposed to triggers that challenge your sobriety. However, sober living is possible and, with the tips you’ll learn below, you will be able to maintain your addiction and mental health recovery through any life stressors that might arise.
What Is Sober Living?
Essentially, sober living means going through life without any addictive substances. This involves eliminating all alcohol and drug use. Sober living might seem simple to people who don’t struggle with addiction or other mental health disorders, but the truth is that sober living takes a lot of determination, professional treatment, and peer support.
In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that if people who have substance use disorders find the proper treatment and learn tips on how to stay sober, they have a greater chance of maintaining their recovery.
There are certain steps that you will work toward to achieve sober living. These steps are outlined to help you understand what your addiction recovery journey might look like through treatment and well after.
1. Start with an Addiction Treatment Program
First, you will need to successfully go through an addiction treatment program to address substance use disorders as well as any mental health concerns that could make it harder for you to maintain recovery. The type of addiction treatment you receive will depend on your specific experiences and current symptoms, but typically, you will begin with the detox process.
Though you might feel tempted to discard alcohol and drugs in order to begin detoxing at home, it’s important that you go through supervised detox with health care professionals by your side. Remember, your body and mind have become dependent on the substances you have been using. Quitting “cold turkey” could lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
For example, if you struggle with an addiction to opioids, you might experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes or cold chills
In the situation of opioid use, many patients end up relying on prescription drugs outside of their intended use because of chronic pain. When it is time to detox from these substances, it might bring back those symptoms. Thus, supervised detox is necessary to manage any worsening symptoms so that you don’t feel the overwhelming need to turn to drug use again.
Instead, you will be kept as safe and as comfortable as possible so that you feel prepared to dive into the next steps of addiction treatment. These treatment programs include:
- An inpatient residential program
- Opioid treatment
- Prescription drug recovery
- Cocaine rehab
- Meth rehab.
During your time in addiction treatment, it is also important to create a support system for yourself to help you through the long process of recovery. Group therapies such as process groups, experiential groups, and psychoeducation groups allow you to work with others who are also taking the steps needed toward sober living.
2. Find Sober Friends
When you complete specific treatment programs made to help you recover, you will have a starting foundation of support so that you will be motivated and ready to stay sober. After you return to your usual life responsibilities, the next step toward successful sober living will be to find sober friends who will continue to support you.
But why is it important that you know how to find sober friends? Well, you can find great strength in the people who surround you. If you spend time around people who regularly use alcohol and drugs, it will be much more tempting for you to go back to those old behaviors.
However, having sober friends who understand the struggle and who you can lean on in times of need (and vice versa) can substantially improve your chances of staying clean and sober. In addiction treatment, you might have had the chance to participate in peer support recovery groups. This network should be available to you outside of treatment, too.
Finding sober friends often involves seeking out recovery community organizations. Additionally, you might find it useful to look into the following:
- Sober fitness and recovery gyms
- Sober living homes
- Alcoholics anonymous (AA)
- Narcotics anonymous (NA)
- Recovery alumni groups
Help is always there for you, whether it is virtual in times of crisis or through a safe, sober facility. With the right people by your side, you will feel supported and remember that you are not alone in this fight against addiction.
3. Learn How To Stay Sober
Finally, it’s important for you to know that sober living is not something that just happens. Sober living is something that you will have to work at every day. But knowing how to stay sober can be challenging, especially as you face temptation and triggers outside of treatment.
This is why getting the right addiction recovery treatment is needed: through all of your therapies, you will learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stressful situations. You will also learn about the lifelong challenges that come with substance use disorders and other mental health conditions. And the more you know, the better prepared you will be to face any future challenges.
Regardless of which addiction treatment program you join, the goal is for you to learn lifelong skills to help you understand the possibilities of sober living—and all of the benefits that come with it. You will have the opportunity to attend therapies like:
- Substance use disorder counseling
- Recovery maintenance skills counseling
- Co-occurring mental health counseling
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
Once you learn tips on how to stay sober, you can help pass that guidance on to other people in recovery. Sober living becomes a type of team effort with mental health professionals and sober friends who will have your back through it all.
Start Sober Living Today
At the Vance Johnson Recovery Center, you will have the foundation you need to start living the clean and sober life you’ve been dreaming of. During your time here, you will begin to understand what sober living feels like. Most importantly, you will meet people in recovery who might just change your life.
If you are hoping to learn more about how to get sober and stay sober, reach out to our admission specialists at 888-828-2623 or complete our confidential contact form to have your sober living questions answered.
Located in dynamic Las Vegas, Nevada, the Vance Johnson Recovery Center (VJRC) a 44-bed facility is run by a skilled multi-disciplinary team of medical and behavioral health professionals that includes nurses, counselors, and doctors, along with complementary and alternative medicine specialists to provide our clients with a transformational experience that encompasses mind, body, and spirit. Our approach is holistic and grounded in research and evidenced-based best practices that help people develop the awareness and skills required to achieve and sustain recovery.