Addiction is a chronic disease. There is no cure for it; however, a supportive sober network, commitment to adjusting thought and behavioral patterns, and an overarching desire to be sober will help you relapse and stay on recovery. For many recovered addicts, an aftercare or alumni program can help keep them living sober and also aid in healing others’ addictions. After their initial addiction treatment program, many recovered addicts join alumni programs because it helps them to be with other healing and sober-minded people. If you or someone you care about is interested in learning about alumni programs, call 7 Summit Pathways at (813)212-7149 or contact our team online. In the meantime, check out the tips for living sober below to get a better idea of how to create and manage an aftercare program of your own.

5 Tips for Living Sober

1. Identify Personal Triggers

When you know and understand your triggers – which can be certain people, places, things, or situations that elicit cravings or feelings or thoughts associated with substance abuse – it’s much easier to prevent yourself from relapsing. You can plan to prepare for encountering them or avoiding them. Common personal triggers may include emotional distress, environmental cues, financial difficulties, people still using drugs or drinking, problems at work or school, relationship troubles, and stress.

2. Recognize Signs of Impending Relapse

A relapse can sneak up on you – but if you recognize the warning signs early enough, you’ll be ready when it comes. For most people, a relapse begins long before they pick up a drink or use an addictive drug. It involves three phases: emotional, mental, and physical. Before you go through these three phases of relapse, you might:
  • Engage in self-defeating and compulsive behaviors
  • Find a situation in which substance use seems like a logical escape from pain
  • Return to addictive thoughts and thinking patterns
  • Seek out situations involving people who use alcohol and drugs
  • Think less rationally and behave less responsibly

3. Prepare for Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can last anywhere from six months to up to two years after the last dose of the substance to which you’re addicted. PAWS can include a variety of symptoms – such as extreme irritability, intermittent anxiety, prolonged depression, and trouble sleeping. PAWS can make it hard for you to recover and stay sober. In addition to recognizing its symptoms, you must seek help if you find that you’re having trouble getting over them on your own.

4. Avoid Old Habits and Routines

If you quit your substance of choice but continue with your same routine – hanging out with the same people in the same places or not making changes in your lifestyle and circumstances – it will be much easier for you to slip back into addiction. Some changes you need to make will be pronounced, such as not hanging around drug dealers or other people with addictions. However, you might also need to change things like your route to work or your favorite hangout. The point is to avoid any triggers or temptations.

5. Celebrate Your Milestones

If you’re following a 12-step program, you already know the importance of milestones. In programs like these, it’s customary to award chips and coins as you progress. Even if you’re not part of a 12-step program, it’s still important to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work you do to keep yourself motivated and sober. You should always remind yourself why you chose to go down the path to recovery. You can reward yourself to celebrate. Focus on giving yourself activities, experiences, and things that will support your new, sober, and healthy lifestyle.

Learn About 7 Summit Pathways Programs and Services

If you’re interested in learning more about alumni programs or want more tips for living sober, call 7 Summit Pathways or contact our team online today. At 7 Summit Pathways, maintaining the sobriety of our patients is of utmost importance.