Establishing Your Life In Recovery

Rehab helped you safely detox, gave you a peaceful environment while you spent time reflecting, and got you started with the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.).

But the real work of staying sober begins not in rehab, but in active recovery — which starts the moment you receive your discharge papers.

Once you’re out of the structure of an inpatient drug or alcohol treatment program, you need to make a fully devoted effort to maintain the sobriety you have worked so hard to achieve.

This will take resolve and discipline, so start with a game plan that reinforces your commitment to addiction recovery.

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Make A Relapse Prevention Plan

It’s easier to stay sober if you have a well-established plan in place. Some of the things you can do to avoid temptation and prevent relapse include:

  • Know your triggers and avoid or manage them.
  • Establish a strong support network of family, counselors and close friends.
  • Stay active, physically and socially.
  • Establish healthy eating habits.
  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Learn how to control your stress level.
  • Prepare to avoid the people in your life who won’t support your sobriety.

Having a humble recognition of the power of addiction and cravings will help you stay on your toes.

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Redefine Your Social Group

The social circles that you were in while using drugs and alcohol will no longer serve your best interests. Not only will these former peers likely be unsupportive of your sobriety, they may even attempt to sabotage your efforts. Being sober may make it easier to disengage from this group because your head is clear, allowing you to recognize dysfunctional and destructive influences.

Sometimes, though, these friends may have been the only people you were close to, causing some emotional pain and feelings of isolation once you go your separate ways. For this reason, it is imperative to be proactive and put in place a positive support network right away.

Don’t associate with old using friends and go to as many meetings as possible. Get a sponsor and work the steps and be honest with your recovery. Don’t put yourself in a triggering or bad situation — get a support system and reach out when you need help. Remember you don’t ever have to use again.

- Kimberly S., in recovery

Change your phone number, and give it only to the people you trust to support your sobriety. Develop closer ties with your family and rekindle long neglected friendships with quality people who will be supportive in your journey.

Where To Meet Sober Friends

Because isolation and loneliness are triggers that can lead to relapse, it is crucial to begin forming new relationships with like-minded individuals.

Some fun and easy places to meet sober friends are:

  • 12-Step meetings. These provide many opportunities to meet new friends, especially if you go to the same group on a regular basis.
  • Sober or dry bars. These bars are not only frequented by people “in the program,” but also by people who just don’t like to drink or to be around people who do.
  • Sober concert, sports or art venues. For example, the Phoenix Multisport Sober Active Community has chapters in various parts of the county, and offers countless outdoor sober activities such as fishing, skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, marathons, hiking and much more.
  • Host your own sober party. Center the party around something special, like a band, a comedian or a game so no one will feel awkward or bored. Keep the atmosphere casual and have lots of great food available.

In reality, you only need a few solid sober relationships; people you can trust, hang out with, go for a jog or a workout with or grab a coffee. This is a mutually supportive friendship with a commitment to lifelong sobriety.

Start Your Life In Sobriety

The world is full of good people, many of whom you will be meeting and sharing life with after substance abuse treatment. You may find yourself desiring a new start, which includes cutting certain people loose who have negatively influenced your life. You will treasure your newfound sobriety, and new friends are a part of that. Call a treatment provider to discuss addiction treatment options.