It might seem like a pretty basic thing – staying away from drugs and alcohol. Especially if drugs and alcohol have played a negative role in your life, and have led to a host of serious personal consequences. Those who haven’t experienced addiction firsthand might think that staying clean and sober is a matter of will power. The truth is, addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease, and those that struggle with addiction don’t have the mental capacity to just quit whenever things get unmanageable. The only way to successfully quit is to undergo detox, inpatient treatment, and aftercare while committing to a life of long-term recovery. However, while the process might seem straightforward, the process itself can be quite difficult.
Why is staying away from drugs and alcohol so hard? Below is a list of ten things that might make staying sober difficult, and how to combat these things in order to live the fulfilled, drug and alcohol-free life you deserve.
Staying Sober in Addiction Recovery
- “Poor me.” It will be very difficult to stay sober if you stay wrapped-up in self-pity. Feeling sorry for yourself will only drag you down, and keep you trapped in a negative mindset. Rather than feeling sorry for yourself, consider all the things that you have to be grateful for. Try making a gratitude list every morning, jotting down five things that you have to be thankful for in the day ahead.
- Fear of missing out on social events. Being afraid of missing out on all of the “fun” can make staying sober difficult. This is especially true when you used to attend parties and nights out where drinking and drug use were prevalent. Be honest with yourself – were you really having fun when active in your addiction? Also – who said sobriety can’t be fun? In sobriety, you’ll finally be able to have authentic fun. Put yourself out there!
- Failure to hit rock bottom. For some, hitting a personal rock bottom is important to finding the motivation to get and stay sober. Rock bottoms can look completely different. For example, one person may decide to get clean after getting in trouble with the law one time, while someone might take someone else homelessness, poverty, and complete isolation in order to get clean. Remember that you have the ability to enter into recovery as soon as you begin to feel like enough is enough.
- Thinking about “never again.” The thought “I can never drink again” can be very overwhelming – this is why it’s so important to take things one day at a time.
- You think you’ll be able to moderate eventually. One of the symptoms of addiction is an inability to control or moderate drinking or drug use, no matter how hard you try. Some recovering addicts cling to the belief that someday they will be able to safely use again. This is never the case. Coming to terms with the reality of the situation will help immensely.
- Setting unrealistic goals for yourself. Try not to set unrealistic goals, or succumb to perfectionism. No one “does recovery” perfectly, every once in a while you’ll show up late to a meeting, or forget to call your sponsor, or forget to pray. The important thing is that you get right back on track as soon as you stumble, and continue working on self-forgiveness.
- A lack of adequate resources. Some might struggle to stay sober because they aren’t getting the comprehensive help they need. Take into account all of the resources you might need to utilize for successful recovery – a therapist, a psychologist, a sponsor… don’t be afraid to ask for the help that you need!
Staying sober is hard…initially. Once you find your groove, things will become a lot easier for you. If you have any additional questions or concerns about getting and staying sober, please feel free to reach out to us today! We look forward to speaking with you soon.
Why is staying Sober so difficult?
Staying sober can be challenging for several reasons, and the difficulty can vary depending on individual circumstances. Here are some common factors that contribute to the difficulty of maintaining sobriety:
- Physical Dependence and Withdrawal: Many addictive substances can lead to physical dependence, where the body becomes accustomed to the presence of the substance and experiences withdrawal symptoms when it is removed. Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, sometimes even dangerous, and can create strong cravings for the substance, making it challenging to stay sober.
- Psychological Cravings: Substance use often becomes deeply ingrained in a person’s life and routines. Psychological cravings can be triggered by various cues and reminders associated with substance use, such as people, places, emotions, or activities, making it difficult to resist the urge to use.
- Emotional and Mental Health Challenges: Substance use disorders are often linked to underlying emotional or mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or stress. These co-occurring conditions can complicate the recovery process and make it more challenging to stay sober.
- Social and Environmental Influences: The social and environmental factors surrounding an individual can significantly impact their ability to stay sober. If they are surrounded by a social network that supports substance use or if they are exposed to environments where substances are readily available, it can increase the temptation to use and make sobriety more difficult to maintain.
- Lifestyle Changes and Coping Mechanisms: Recovery often requires significant lifestyle changes, including avoiding triggers, adopting healthier habits, building a support system, and finding alternative coping mechanisms for stress and emotional challenges. These changes can be difficult to navigate and sustain, particularly when faced with ongoing life stressors.
- Relapse and Setbacks: Recovery is a journey with ups and downs. Relapses and setbacks are common and can be discouraging. However, it’s important to view them as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as failures. Overcoming setbacks and maintaining motivation in the face of challenges can be difficult but is crucial for long-term sobriety.
Recovering from substance use requires ongoing commitment, support, and self-care. It often benefits from professional help, such as counseling, therapy, support groups, or treatment programs. Each person’s journey is unique, and it’s important to approach recovery with patience, self-compassion, and a willingness to seek and accept help when needed.