Let’s be honest. We know how to drink and get high. We did it for years. We’re good at it. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. Sure, those of us in recovery lived a life of chaos and destruction while we were in our addiction. We hurt a lot of people – especially ourselves. Nevertheless, when we were drinking or drugging, we became accustomed to the insanity of our addiction. Drinking alcohol or using drugs like heroin, crystal meth, or prescription painkillers became a way of life – one that gave us the illusion of control.
Sobriety, on the other hand, delivers us into a reality we know nothing about. It is uncomfortable. We feel insecure and unstable at times. Life can seem completely unrecognizable when we look at it through sober eyes.
The good news is, you CAN learn to live sober. And, what’s even better, you CAN absolutely enjoy it! Here are some tips and tricks to ensure your ongoing sobriety.
1. Want to Live Sober? Stay in a Sober House
One of the best ways to ensure long-term sobriety is to stay in a sober house (whether you have completed a rehabilitation program or not). Sober living is designed to provide a safe, stable, and supportive living environment for those who are early in their sobriety.
Sharing a living space with other people in recovery provides immediate access to peerl support. This keeps you connected to your commitment to stay sober. By establishing new, healthy friendships; you will feel empowered to live sober. Plus, you will quickly learn that there are a whole lot of laughs to be had in sober living, which shows you just how fun recovery can be in the long run.
Also, staying in a sober house keeps you accountable. There is a house manager to check in with, a curfew, housemates who will help you sustain sobriety, guidelines to follow, chores, random drug tests, and other safeguards in place to promote ongoing sobriety.
2. Get Involved in a 12-Step Recovery Program
Another great way to learn how to live sober is to attend regular 12 Step meetings. You might choose to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or another similar fellowship. At these programs, members share their experience, strength, and hope with one another to help each other stay sober. No one is better equipped to teach you how to live sober than someone who has done it themselves.
These programs offer meetings every day of the week at different times to accommodate those who are seeking recovery. Also, they promote regular social events like dances, picnics, conventions, and holiday gatherings. At 12 Step meetings, you will meet people you can relate to and forge positive relationships.
3. Get a Sponsor and Work the 12 Steps
If you truly want to live sober, you are going to have to do some things you have never done before – things that seem weird and uncomfortable at first. This includes getting a sponsor and working the 12 Steps of whatever program you choose to go to.
A sponsor is a recovering person who volunteers their time to help you stay sober and walks you through the 12 Step Process. The 12 Steps represent a proven program of recovery that has worked for millions of people around the world who have struggled with addiction issues.
The 12 Steps teach you how to live sober. They equip you with tools that allow you to face challenges in life without drinking or using drugs as a way to cope. They help you address the issues of your past, clean up the wreckage you caused in your addiction, and repair broken relationships.
Many say that working the 12 Steps not only saved them from death and destruction, but also brought them a profound sense of freedom, peace, and self-acceptance.
4. Make & Lean On Sober Friends
To learn live sober, you have to be around other sober people. Especially in early recovery, hanging out with old friends that you used to get high or drunk with can be triggering. It is important to have a sober friend with you or on speed dial if you are going to parties, concerts, or any event where people will be drinking and using drugs. You may even want to hold off on participating in those activities until at least 90 days sober.
Getting to know people who have been in recovery for years is a huge asset and a tool that can help you even when times are tough. Learn from them. Enjoy their company. Ask them to tell you how you can learn to live sober. Their experience is invaluable. Also, hang out with the new friends you have made at your sober living house. These are people who share a common goal of ongoing sobriety.
5. Don’t Drink Alcohol or Use Drugs No Matter What
Here’s a neat little trick to living sober – if you don’t drink, you can’t get drunk. If you don’t put drugs into your body, you can’t get high. Simple right? Yet, if it were that simple, we would have done it already. Utilize the advice of your peers, your counselors, your sponsor, and your friends. If you feel like drinking or using, call someone to help you get out of your head. The desire to drink or use will come at some point, and you need to be prepared. If you want to live sober, you have to STAY sober. NO MATTER WHAT! You cannot learn to live sober if you don’t stay in recovery.
6. Trust the Process and Take It One Day at a Time
Recovery represents an ongoing process. It is a journey. And, with time, you will come to appreciate it as an exciting adventure.
In sobriety, you get to know your true self. You get to find out what activities you enjoy that don’t center around drugs or alcohol. (After all, there is a whole, big wide world out there for you to experience!) You have the opportunity to have healthy, fulfilling relationships. You get to live life without blackouts, hangovers, withdrawal, negative bank balances and all the other side effects of an addicted life. You get to enjoy what it means to be a spiritual being and have a human experience.
Just remember to trust the process. You do not get to experience the gifts of recovery right away. They come slowly over a period of time with ongoing 12-Step work and meeting attendance. As people who have struggled with addiction, we are used to instant gratification. That way of thinking doesn’t work well in sobriety.
Living sober gets easier with time. After you work the 12 Steps with a sponsor, you can actually feel comfortable in your own skin. Dreams awaken and new possibilities arise. You just have to take it one day at a time. Amazing things will begin to happen in your life as you continue to walk the road of recovery.
You got this!
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or depression, we are here to help. Give us a call at 310.403.1032 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.