Substance abuse recovery is never as simple as just deciding you’re going to do it. Success in recovery requires a strategic approach from the beginning. As recovery progresses through a process of gradual change and may present many challenges along the way, it’s tempting to give up. Like anything that’s worthwhile, living clean and sober may not be easy, but the rewards are priceless. When the going gets tough in recovery (and it will), you might need a little help to get you through. Here are some substance recovery strategies that can be effective.
Avoid Stressful Situations
When you are newly clean, it may seem like everything is stressing you out. Stress is one of the primary triggers associated with relapse. If you can’t find effective ways to cope with or avoid your stressors, you may have a difficult time with your recovery. Stressful situations can’t always be avoided, but there are a few that can:
- Avoid people you used to use with, including your dealer
- Don’t go to places or parties where you know you are going to be tempted to use
- Don’t knowingly place yourself in harm’s way
- Be honest and truthful about your feelings instead of burying them so deep that they explode
- Don’t allow yourself to get Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (H.A.L.T.)
Don’t Sit Idle, Don’t Be Bored
As an addict, you develop certain habits, routines, and behaviors around your using. Make a list of all these behaviors and decide what you’re going to do in your life to replace them. One of the main reasons many addicts slip back into using again is out of sheer boredom. So an often used substance abuse recovery strategy is to fill your time with healthier activities to avoid having too much idle time. Consider activities like:
- Yoga. Will give your muscles and mind a workout, and will also reduce stress.
- Strenuous physical exercise. Working out at the gym, playing team sports, cycling, running, boxing—all of these activities will get more blood pumping through your body and brain, reducing stress and ramping up endorphin levels.
- Attend a meeting every day. 90 meetings in 90 days is recommended for the newly clean and sober. You can find a meeting any hour of any day or night by calling your local AA chapter or searching the AA website.
Choose A Sponsor
Having a sponsor in AA or NA is an integral part of effective substance abuse recovery strategies. Finding the right sponsor for you may take some time, but keep at it and you will find somebody who is a good fit. When you meet other addicts in meetings, listen to what they have to say. When you meet somebody who has qualities that you would like to have for yourself, ask them to be your sponsor.
Your sponsor will be someone to talk to when times get tough, someone who you can go to meetings with and discuss topics related to your recovery. Ideally, your sponsor should be somebody who has a good program themselves and who will be a positive example for you in recovery. Never discount the power of friendship and sponsorship. It can get you through the rough spots like nothing else can.
Sober Living In Charleston, SC
If you are struggling to stay clean and sober, a sober living environment may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.