7 Simple Tips for Living Sober
The prospect of living sober can feel overwhelming. You’ve been living one way your entire life… how are you suddenly supposed to just change everything overnight?
Well, the good news is, you aren’t.
Change takes time, and contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t happen in one fell swoop. It happens in the small moments, simple actions, and seemingly insignificant decisions you’re making every day.
Read on to discover what it means to create a new way of life in addiction recovery. Learn 7 simple tips you can apply right now to help you create the shifts you need to truly thrive.
What does it mean to create a new way of life for living sober?
In addiction recovery, a new way of life and living must be created to foster a healthy, long-lasting recovery. But what exactly does this mean?
The idea of navigating life can feel terrifying if you're new to recovery. Regardless of how long or how little you were engaging in substance use, living life in recovery can feel equally as overwhelming.
In treatment, you likely learned that the problem wasn't ever really in the drug itself. It was never really in the alcohol itself. It wasn't ever really in the sex, gambling, or any other behaviour you may have found yourself consumed by.
The actual problem was likely that you were trying to numb yourself or escape difficult emotions. You may have also struggled with the opposite - trying to feel something after feeling disconnected for so long. Your addiction, therefore, was a by-product or symptom of this greater underlying problem.
Now that you're in recovery and living sober, you’ll have to learn a new way of living that doesn't require leaning on substances to fill an inner void.
Creating a new way of life in recovery is all about becoming more connected to yourself and learning emotional sobriety. Chances are, you spent most of your life not knowing who you truly are deep down. Maybe you felt a sense of disconnection with yourself and the people around you.
Creating a new way of life in recovery is certainly about figuring out new coping skills, making new friends, and setting new goals, but this all stems from knowing who you are on a deeper level and living in a way that feels authentic to you.
The mental shifts you gradually make over time will help you create a new way of life to ensure a long-lasting and healthy recovery from addiction.
Why is creating a new way of life in recovery so important to living sober?
Creating a new way of life is so important in recovery for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it will help you maintain your sobriety. Because creating a new way of life involves knowing yourself on a deeper level, you'll become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. You'll learn how to navigate these thoughts and feelings without letting them consume you. Having this healthy emotional regulation will allow you to process your emotions in other ways, rather than reverting back to substance use.
Secondly, creating a new way of life in recovery will take you so far beyond just maintaining your sobriety. When you know yourself on a deeper level, that sense of connection will permeate into all areas of your life. You'll develop really strong, healthy relationships with other people. You'll find joy and passion again. Additionally, you'll honour your needs and make decisions that feel good for you. You'll feel confident and brave enough to pursue your true desires.
When you’re living sober and really creating a new way of life in recovery, you are creating a new way of life entirely. This can help you truly thrive in ways you never once deemed possible.
7 simple tips to create a new way of life for living sober in addiction recovery
Living sober and creating a new way of life can sound so overwhelming and feel impossible to actually achieve. However, it doesn't have to be hard. It is completely possible for you to shift your thoughts and behaviours over time, through small, incremental shifts.
Making mindset shifts is an important part of creating a new way of life in recovery. Below are 7 simple tips that you can start working on now to create an entirely new way of living sober.
1. Developing patience
Developing patience is a huge asset when living sober. This will help you not only maintain your sobriety but will help you in many areas of life. Recovery has so many ups and downs, and life challenges will still present themselves to you. You'll still have moments where you experience triggers. You'll still have moments where you experience cravings.
Instead of beating yourself up, it's important to be patient and gracious with yourself. Remind yourself how far are you have come, and that you're only human. Completely shifting the way you respond to triggers or things outside of you doesn't happen overnight. Go into recovery knowing that hard times will still happen, but you have the power to see them through, as long as you remain gracious with yourself.
2. Learning to be honest
When living sober, it's so important to be honest with yourself and with others. Being honest with other people will help you build the type of relationships that make you feel unconditionally loved and supported. That being said, being honest with yourself has the power to truly change your life. Being honest with yourself about how you're really feeling and if you're struggling can help you maintain your sobriety. When you aren't honest with yourself about how you feel, you push down these difficult emotions or thoughts and they just live within you. This can build up over time, and cause you to relapse.
If you're honest with yourself, you can observe how you're feeling and then find a healthy way to manage these feelings. This can include talking them through with someone or doing something that makes you feel good, for example.
When you're honest with yourself, you can live your most authentic and aligned life. This is a life filled with fulfilment, joy, and peace, but that all starts with you simply being truthful.
Meditating is a powerful way to learn more about who you are. It will help you create mindset shifts that will support you in recovery for the rest of your life. The practice of meditating will allow you to get more in tune with your own thoughts and feelings. It will allow you to observe them instead of being consumed by them. When you learn how to observe your own thoughts and feelings, you also learn how to change them.
Meditating will also teach you how to sit with discomfort. As you move through life and challenging situations arise, it'll be easier for you to deal with them after having built a practice of meditating. Meditation has countless benefits for your emotional, mental, spiritual, and even physical well-being while living sober.
If the idea of meditating feels intimidating to you, there are many videos within our Wellness hub and online that can help guide you through meditation. Even meditating for 5 minutes a day can create changes in your life.
4. Be intentional
An important concept to keep in mind when living sober is that recovery is also a verb. It is something that you do. It isn't something that just happens. Recovery takes daily conscious awareness and effort.
This means being intentional about the choices you're making. It means being intentional about who you're spending time with. Additionally, it means being intentional about observing your thoughts and feelings.
This may sound difficult if you've been moving through life on autopilot, but know that it gets easier over time. Living life intentionally is like building a muscle. The more you practise it, the better you’ll be at it, and the easier it gets.
5. Pay attention to your feelings
Paying attention to your feelings is going to be incredibly important when it comes to creating a new life in recovery. This can feel like a brand new concept if you've never even allowed yourself to have feelings, let alone pay attention to them. However, your feelings are an indicator of the thoughts you've been thinking. And the thoughts you've been thinking are dictating where your life is going to go. You have the power to change your thoughts, and being aware of your feelings can help you become more aware of yourself.
Developing an awareness of how you're feeling can be as simple as asking yourself, “Do I feel good right now? Do I feel bad right now? Why?” Most people walk through life without paying attention to their feelings and instead allow their feelings to consume them and dictate their days.
When you pay attention to your feelings, you can work on changing them. Creating more supportive thoughts that will not only help you feel better, but will also help you create the life you want.
6. Set goals for yourself
Setting goals for yourself is a great way to help you create a new way of life in recovery. These goals can be recovery-related or not. Setting goals that feel good to you helps provide you with a sense of purpose and gives you something to work towards.
Additionally, you may find you have more downtime in recovery than you’re used to. When you were using, so much time was spent thinking about using, acquiring drugs or alcohol, and then actually using. Now that that time is freed up, you may find yourself bored quite often, or even struggling with feelings of emptiness. Setting goals and then taking the actions towards achieving those goals can provide you with a sense of productivity, accomplishment, pride, and fulfilment.
7. Make time for yourself
It is so important to make time for yourself and to practise self-care when creating a new life in recovery. This means carving out time to have fun and doing things that feel good to you. That can mean reading a fantasy novel or going for a bike ride. It can also mean spending time with people you love. Prioritising feeling good in this way can help you de-stress, can help you feel grounded, and can help you connect with the most authentic version of yourself.
The importance of recovery communities
In addition to the mindset shifts you'll be making over time, it's also so important to develop a support system when living sober. This can be a more formal support system such as a peer support group or self-help group, or it can be a support system in the form of really great friends and family.
Regardless, having a group of people to turn to when you're struggling can help you realise that your pain won't last forever and that things will get better. Being in a recovery community with others who are also living sober, in particular, can help you feel less isolated and alone in your struggles. You'll be able to truly see that creating a new way of life in recovery is possible for others, reinforcing your belief that it is possible for you.
A final word on creating a new way of life in recovery
When living sober, you have the power to create the life you truly want.
You are not defined by your past, unless you allow yourself to be.
Your thoughts are the only thoughts that matter, and you have the incredible ability to shift your own thoughts to create the future you want.
By following the tips above, and being patient with yourself, you're well on your way to thriving in recovery from addiction.
Author - Thurga