Strategies for Maintaining Long-Term Sobriety from Alcohol

Long-Term Sobriety from Alcohol

You already know how much effort it takes to become sober if you’re already recovering from an alcohol use disorder. You’ll want to take every precaution to prevent relapsing. However, relapses are rather common for those new to recovery.

This article explores the meaning of sobriety and outlines tactics to aid your long-term recovery from alcoholism. It also includes advice on handling the difficulties you’ll encounter on the road to sobriety.

Defining Sobriety

Being sober entails not being under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. However, the word is frequently employed in many contexts and varied ways. According to many 12-step organizations, sobriety entails complete abstinence—never taking the drug again.

However, other definitions frequently emphasize the recuperation process and the formation of coping skills and routines that promote long-term health and wellness. Although complete abstinence may be the aim, failures are frequently encountered.

Up to 80% of people who achieve long-term sobriety are thought to have experienced at least one relapse. Before experiencing long-lasting healing, some people in recovery go through numerous setbacks. Despite your best efforts, it takes more than determination to avoid relapsing.

How To Stay Sober After Alcohol Rehab

Some people claim that the best counsel for those just beginning their journey into recovery is as straightforward as “Don’t drink or use, and go to meetings.” If that works for you, that’s great. However, it’s not the only approach to achieving lifelong sobriety.

Most people find it difficult to maintain sobriety. The more techniques you learn to recognize triggers, handle stress, and manage your new sober life, the simpler it becomes to prevent relapse.

1. Identify Your Triggers

Understanding your internal and external triggers that cause thoughts or desires related to alcohol use is key to preventing relapse.

You can develop a strategy to mitigate or avoid your main risks once you’ve identified them. Common triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Environmental cues
  • Emotional distress
  • Friends who continue to drink
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Financial or employment issues

2. Recognizing Relapse Signs

Relapses can happen suddenly, especially if unaware of the warning indications. Relapses occur in three stages: emotional, mental, and physical, and they start long before you even pick up a drink.

Relapse warning signals include:

  • Returning to negative thinking patterns
  • Exhibiting compulsive, detrimental behaviors
  • Looking for settings where there are alcohol users
  • Irresponsible behavior and less logical reasoning
  • Finding yourself in a situation where using alcohol to cope with suffering sounds sensible

3. Avoiding Old Habits and Routines

It makes sense that it will be far simpler to relapse if you stop using your preferred substance while maintaining your current routine and hanging out in the same settings without making any adjustments to your situation.

Some of the initial adjustments you must make are obvious, such as staying away from the people you used to drink with. You can’t expect to maintain sobriety if you hang out with your old drinking companions.

In order to avoid any triggers, people, things, and environments that make you want to drink alcohol, you might also need to alter your route to work or home.

4. Prepare for Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

In post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), alcohol withdrawal symptoms continue after detoxification. These symptoms, frequently linked to mood, can include depression, irritability, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and exhaustion.

After you stop using alcohol, PAWS can persist anywhere between six months and two years, depending on the type of dependency.

If you’re not careful, the symptoms associated with PAWS may prevent you from fully recovering. Knowing when to seek help is equally as crucial as being able to identify them.

5. Build Healthy Relationships

Now that you’re clean, you may realize that some of your previous relationships weren’t just unhealthy—they were toxic. However, your drinking pals are not the only ones that can get you into trouble. Occasionally, your closest friends and family members might encourage a relapse.

For instance, you might have grown into a co-dependent relationship, or a relative, friend, or employer might have been unknowingly supporting your addiction.

According to research, maintaining these toxic relationships increases your risk of relapsing. Forming healthy relationships helps prevent relapse and maintain sobriety.

6. Practice Healthy Living

Your emotional and physical health can suffer greatly from long-term alcohol abuse. So, now that you’re in recovery, it is imperative to prioritize self-care and ensure you have the strength to stay sober. Healthy living principles include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Making time for hobbies and leisure pursuits
  • Eating well-balanced meals
  • Getting plenty of healthy sleep
  • Using relaxation techniques like yoga or mindfulness meditation

7. Get Support

If meeting new sober friends is hard, consider attending a support group. You can also live a healthier lifestyle and avoid circumstances where you might typically use alcohol by spending time with supportive family members and friends.

Additionally, you can experience what’s known as “sobriety fatigue,” a general feeling of exhaustion brought on by the mental and physical strain of maintaining sobriety. Therefore, having a support system at your disposal is quite beneficial.

8. Develop a Structured Schedule

A disorderly or disorganized lifestyle can also impede your recovery. Creating and adhering to an organized daily and weekly schedule is crucial. A structured schedule will help you accomplish both short-term and long-term life goals easily.

While staying sober is a top priority, setting and achieving other goals can help you maintain sobriety in the long run.

9. Celebrate Milestones

The significance of milestones is probably something you already know if you participate in a 12-step program. As you advance through these programs towards the one-year milestone, earning plastic chips is customary. You then receive a bronze coin at the mark of your one-year milestone.

It is beneficial to acknowledge and celebrate the difficult work of recovery because it serves as a reminder of your motivation and the reason you made this courageous step toward sobriety.

However, be careful and ensure that the rewards don’t include the consumption of alcohol. Instead, focus on events, activities, and things that will help you maintain your new, sober, and healthy lifestyle.

Alcohol Addiction Recovery

Long-term sobriety from alcohol

At Crest View Recovery Center, we understand that alcohol addiction can be hard to overcome. That’s why we are committed to providing each of our patients with the support and guidance they need to start a new life free from their addiction. Our highly trained counselors and medical professionals use evidence-based treatments tailored to meet each patient’s individual needs.

We know how difficult it can be to ask for help, but we are here to offer the support you need. Call us at (866) 327-2505 to take the first step towards recovery and reclaiming your life. We look forward to helping you reach your goals!

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