Making a decision to stop drinking is the beginning of your journey. After that comes the process of actually getting sober.
If you make it that far, congratulations! That’s a huge accomplishment.
Unfortunately, if you stop there, you’re asking for trouble with relapses. Getting sober is one thing… staying sober is another.
Here are some additional steps you can follow to help keep you on track to live a sober life far, far into the future.
Take Care of Yourself
All the general tips that apply to living an overall healthy lifestyle apply here too. If you eat right, get plenty of sleep and exercise on a regular basis, it will be much easier for you to fight off cravings. Exercise has the added bonus of reducing stress, releasing endorphins and helping your overall well-being too.
Find New Interests
If you don’t find another way to spend your free time other than drinking, you’re doomed. Look for ways to volunteer in your community, find new hobbies or join an exercise club or a team.
It’s even better if these activities can give you a sense of meaning and purpose. Not only will you have something to occupy your time that you enjoy, you will also end up being more fulfilled.
Create or Find a Support System
At some point, you are going to need a support system. The best time to develop this system is BEFORE you need it. This should include people who are positive and can help you stay on your new sober path.
You may be able to develop this from the new activities you found to participate in. You may be able to find a support system within your existing friends and family. You may also find a support system at AA meetings. The best case is to find people in each of these groups who can help you along the way.
Not only can a solid support system help you if you feel yourself struggling, but they can also help you get more invested in your community. Some people find that if they have more to lose, it helps them stay on track.
You will be more likely to stay on track if you continue “treatment” of some kind. This doesn’t have to be formal treatment if you don’t need it. This can include therapy or an outpatient treatment program, but it could also be as easy as continuing with AA meetings or just regular meetings with your sponsor.
Find Better Ways to Deal With Stress
Many people with alcohol problems actually have a bigger problem with dealing with stress. If you can find new, healthier ways to deal with stress, your cravings and need for alcohol will be reduced.