When you complete addiction treatment, you have the information and tools you need to stay sober, but the first several months are often when you are at your greatest risk for relapse. Therefore, you might benefit from understanding the following truths about sobriety:
- Sobriety is worth it
- Relapse can happen
- A relapse prevention plan can help you stay clean
With these thoughts in mind, you can not only get clean, but also stay that way.
Sobriety Is Worth the Effort
People who are in sobriety consistently state that sobriety is worth the work it takes to create and maintain it. Indeed, the posts, The Benefits of Being Sober and 10 Reasons Why Sober is the New Cool, speak about the following benefits of recovery:
- The first physical recognition of your sobriety is that you will never have a hangover. You can wake up without headaches, nausea and sensitivity to light and sounds. Also, when sober, you do not have to pamper yourself for several days to recover from a hangover, which means you never have to neglect your responsibilities due to drug abuse.
- In addition to physical benefits, you will also benefit emotionally when you avoid bashing yourself for drunken behavior. During drug-induced times, you probably engaged embarrassing acts that lower your self-esteem; however, recovering addicts need not resurrect their pride, because they no longer engage such humiliating acts.
- When clean, you may notice that your mind seems clearer and that you remember information more easily. You can recall where you were, with whom, what you did, what you talked about, the places you went and all aspects of your recent experiences.
- In addition to the physical, emotional and mental benefits of sobriety, you also receive financial benefits, you will no longer spend your cash on drugs or alcohol
As time goes by, the following additional benefits may arise:
- Since recovering addicts keep toxins from their bodies, they are much healthier both inside and out. In other words, your hair, skin, and body will get stronger and have better tone when you avoid drugs. When toxins no longer hinder your health, you will have more energy, sleep better, work out more often and take better care of yourself.
- As your physical appearance improves, so will your emotional and mental health. You may become more organized and your problem-solving abilities will return. As a result, your confidence and self-esteem will bloom.
- As a result of your physical, emotional and mental growth, you will enjoy life more. When you learn how to relax and create a new life, you may find that you can commit to relationships and responsibilities more easily than ever.
Throughout the recovery process, additional benefits may emerge, such as people admiring you and asking for your advice about how to get sober. You can inspire others who struggle with drugs and heal the relationships you damaged while addicted. In short, recovery will benefit every aspect of life imaginable.
Relapse Can Happen
The pamphlet Tips for Relapse Prevention provides insight into relapse, which commonly occurs in recovering addicts. However, you can anticipate it if you learn its following stages:
- Stage 1 – Sometimes referred to as a “trigger,” first an event must occur that could be as small as a feeling, situation or seeing someone with whom you formerly abused drugs
- Stage 2 – Next, you interpret the trigger in such a way that elicits a core belief you hold about yourself. Unfortunately, this core belief may be negative, which will cause you discomfort.
- Stage 3 – In response to interpreting this trigger, you end up craving drugs to soothe whatever psychological and physical pain you feel
- Stage 4 – As you consider abusing drugs, you must first give yourself permission to do so, because you convince yourself to abandon recovery. For instance, justification contributes both to addiction and relapse, because you may think you deserve a break through drugs.
- Stage 5 – If you believe your justifications, then you will take the necessary steps to engage the old pattern, or you will give yourself an excuse for changing your new one. In other words, you must take action to obtain drugs, gather the necessary materials to relapse and plan out when and where to do so.
- Stage 6 – You finally use the drug you had been abstaining from
By fully understanding these stages, you have real opportunities to prevent relapse at several stages in the process. Up until the moment you use drugs, there is always hope of backing out.
The same pamphlet mentioned above describes relapse prevention planning; an effective plan includes the following steps:
- Identify relapse triggers – Internal or external events that lead to thoughts of resuming drug use
- Identify warning signs of relapse – Patterns of thought, speech or behavior associated with drug use
- Include people who can notice warning signs – This step may include extended family members, foster parents, close family friends, treatment provider and others
- Plan for child safety in case of relapse
Write out your plan to prepare thoroughly, because then you increase your sense of control over your own life. In short, plan for the worst to ensure success.
Learn 3 Important Truths of Sobriety
For professional help, call our toll-free helpline now, as our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and to connect you with useful resources for recovery. With support, you can get and stay clean.