adjusting sober lifestyle

4 Tips for Adjusting to a Sober Lifestyle

Published on December 19, 2019 by First Responder Wellness

No matter how dedicated you are to your sobriety, adjusting to clean and sober living after completing a treatment program for a substance use disorder is a challenge.  However, in addition to giving up on certain aspects of your previous life, recovery also affords you the opportunity to explore new interests and make connections with people who support and encourage your sobriety.  Entering into recovery after treatment without a plan, however, can leave you feeling bored and isolated, and may put you at risk of relapse. Using all your resources and remaining open to personal growth can help you establish a sober lifestyle that sticks.

Start at Home

One of the first and most powerful changes you can make after completing treatment for addiction is to make modifications in your home that support your mental wellness and sobriety.  If you live with someone, such as a spouse or other family member, it can be helpful to talk with them about the changes you would like to make to your environment in advance, so that they can prepare before you arrive back at home.  For example, you can ask your living partner to support your recovery by keeping all drugs and alcohol out of the house. If you ever developed a habit of hiding substances in your home, disclose your hiding places to your family member before finishing treatment and ask them to do a clean sweep of the entire house.  Additionally, it can be helpful to maintain a clean and uncluttered living environment to promote a calm atmosphere and prevent anxiety. You may also choose to make a space in your home to practice mindfulness. You can use this space to read, meditate, practice yoga, or simply enjoy a morning cup of tea. Dedicating a place in your home to your mental wellness where you can be free of distractions and feel safe can be a powerful tool in addiction recovery.

Build Your Safety Net

An essential part of recovery is building and maintaining a social network of support that you can lean on during difficult times.  These people should also hold you accountable for continuing your recovery work even when things seem to be going surprisingly well, so as to help you prepare for any unexpected triggers or stressful circumstances that may threaten your sobriety.  This safety net of individuals should include professionals such as psychologists, addiction counselors, and family therapists, as well as friends and family that support your new sober lifestyle. Building a healthy network of support also means cutting ties with people in your life that inhibit your ability to maintain mental wellness or encourage you to use.  This might mean losing touch with people you deeply care about, but prioritizing your sobriety sometimes means knowing when to walk away. In doing so, you may become an inspiration to others around you that also struggle with substance use disorders.

Set Goals

One of the greatest parts of recovery is discovering what you are capable of without the hindrance of substance abuse.  Now is the time to set personal goals and make a plan to achieve them. However, this does not mean that you should overwhelm yourself with work or become extremely achievement-oriented early in your recovery, as this behavior tends to lead to excess stress that may threaten your sobriety.  Work with your therapist or addiction counselor to set realistic goals for yourself, whether they be job-related, educational, or creative. Having something to work towards and look forward to can be a helpful motivator for staying sober in early recovery, and achieving the goals you set for yourself can provide you with joy and satisfaction that reassures you of your choice to live sober.

Explore New Interests

Newly sober people tend to feel like they have a lot of time on their hands now that they aren’t drinking or using drugs.  Sobriety can also be an eye-opening experience that shows you how much time you routinely wasted on substance abuse. With your newfound free time and lack of interests that don’t involve substances, now is the time to explore different activities and pursuits.  You may find yourself motivated to start working out more often, or discover your creative talents. In finding time for these new activities you have the added benefit of meeting other people interested in the same things—people who know how to enjoy themselves without drugs or alcohol.  Finding friends through addiction support meetings or treatment alumni programs is a great idea, but it can also be nice to make connections with people outside the recovery community that simply have no desire to abuse substances. 

In active addiction, a sober lifestyle sometimes seems impossible, but with the right help, lasting recovery becomes a realistic and attainable goal.  The First Responders Treatment Program at Simple Recovery uses trauma-informed strategies to cater to the unique needs of law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses.  We recognize that first responders encounter job-specific barriers and obstacles that come with the culture of their careers, and that existing stigmas may make seeking help for addiction and mental health issues especially difficult.

Addiction does not have to mean the end of your career or a lifetime of struggling with your health and relationships.  By taking a holistic approach to treatment and addressing the underlying causes of addiction, Simple Recovery makes it possible for first responders to regain control of every aspect of their wellbeing. First responders dedicate their lives to protecting their community, and at Simple Recovery’s First Responder Treatment Program, we believe in dedicating our time and expertise to helping these compassionate individuals find a path to lasting sobriety and mental wellness. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call us now at 888-743-0490.