What is sobriety?
In order to define sobriety, it is important to discuss the events that precede sobriety. Substance addiction can be devastating and detrimental to living a long, happy and healthy life, and it often takes reaching “rock bottom” before seeking recovery and sobriety. Sobriety, in this context, refers to living a life completely free of abusing drugs and/or alcohol.
Recognizing potential signs of sobriety
You may doubt yourself during your recovery, especially if you have experienced relapses. Take stock of all of the progress you have made, and recognize some of the signs of achieving sobriety:
- You have reached out to family and friends to repair relationships that were harmed during your addiction. Making amends is an important step in recovery. Even if you haven’t maintained or fully repaired some relationships, the initiative demonstrates that you recognize the mistakes you have made in your past.
- You have celebrated at a wedding without going to the open bar. Drinking is often at the forefront of celebratory events, so count it as a win if you made it through one without feeling the urge to drink.
- You have made it through challenges, including your recovery, without using substances. It is easy to turn to drugs or alcohol during times of crisis to help numb the pain and escape from reality. Whether you are grieving a loss or experiencing another kind of distress, getting through it without using substances is a sign that you have achieved sobriety.
- You have found healthy ways of coping with stress. Previously, you may have had a few drinks to unwind after a long day. Now, as a sober person, you might practice yoga, go for a run or take a long bath.
- You aren’t afraid to ask for help. Think of how scary it was to admit, out loud, that you had a problem with substance abuse and needed help. Now, days and months and years into your recovery and feeling confident in your sobriety, asking for help doesn’t seem so daunting.
- You have found hobbies that fulfill you. Your idea of fun has likely changed. Instead of spending weekends going out, you may now spend your time with things like trying new restaurants, playing sports with friends or having movie marathons.
- You have “slipped up” and learned from the experience. Slipping up during recovery is likely more common than you might think, and it can sometimes end in using even more substances because of a perceived invalidation of previous sobriety. If you have briefly relapsed and later recognized how you can avoid it in the future, you can rest assured that you are dedicated to your sobriety.
- You feel healthier on a day-to-day basis. With each day sober, you will notice you have more energy and feel more alive.
- You don’t miss using substances, and you realize how much better off you are without them. Gone are the days of waking up with a hangover.
Maintaining sustainable sobriety
The first challenge in recovery is learning how to get sober; the continuous challenge every day thereafter is knowing how to stay sober.
- Continue to ask yourself: “Am I sober?” This will help you stay mindful of your actions and keep yourself accountable to your recovery.
- Find healthy diversions. For example, every time you feel like using drugs or alcohol, brew a cup of tea instead. Not only will you get to enjoy a nice cup of tea, but you will also realize how often you have cravings and can work to address that.
- Remember why you sought sobriety to begin with. Substance addiction can lead to an unhealthy and harmful lifestyle, and at some point during your addiction you choose a healthier path forward.
- Take it one day at a time. Although sobriety is the ultimate goal of recovery, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect every single day. Do daily check-ins with yourself, lean into your support network, and speak with your healthcare provider about how your sobriety is going and how you can improve over time.
Pyramid Healthcare provides holistic treatment for teens and adults struggling with addiction and substance abuse. Our recovery programs can empower you and provide you with the tools you need to live a happy, healthy and sober life. Reach out today at 888-694-9996 to learn more.
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