5 Tips On Staying Sober, Even When It Feels Like Punishment
The ebb and flow of the recovery process can cause an individual to feel every emotion under the sun, and every day brings a new challenge. However, even with these hurdles, many people are grateful to be sober and feel positive about their future. However, for some, the reality of sobriety can feel like a form of punishment. And even though this emotion is normal during recovery, if it isn’t dealt with properly – relapse may be around the corner. To help you throughout this process, here are some tips to help sobriety feel less like a punishment and more like a promise of hope.
Remember the Reasons You Started Addiction Treatment
This tip can help during times when you feel like giving up. Maybe you came to rehab because you almost overdosed, perhaps you lost your job, or maybe you entered because you couldn’t spend another day without your children, family, or spouse.
Whatever, the reason – take a look at your life now and see how lucky you are to be alive, present, and in the moment. Maybe you won your job back, maybe you finally have an apartment and can see your children again, or perhaps you are alive and that in and of itself is a gift.
However, be careful, as this time of reflection is not about feeling guilt or shame. Those emotions have no place in your life anymore. Instead, remembering the positive reasons why you started rehab, such as finding peace with your loved ones or getting your health and life back, and seeing how far you have come can bring you to a more hopeful and proud place in your recovery journey.
Read Through Old Journals
If you kept a journal during rehab, take it out and start reading. When you feel like sobriety is a form of punishment, reading through old journals puts things into perspective. Reviewing the milestones you achieved, especially during the earlier parts of recovery, can help you remember how hard you worked to recover from the physical, mental, and emotional pain of detox and withdrawal symptoms. Reading through these entries will remind you of your incredible strength and courage.
If you didn’t keep a journal, start. Writing your experiences can help you in the future if things start feeling overwhelming, and you to get in touch with your emotions and see how far you’ve come. If journaling isn’t your thing, just write down notes to yourself on your cell phone, iPad, or good old-fashioned sticky notes. Having these small mementos of encouragement around the home can help boost your self-esteem and keep you on track.
Celebrate Your Sobriety
When you are in a funk and feel like you can’t see the positives of sobriety – try remembering that it is a reward and should be celebrated. Apps like I Am Sober can help you celebrate the day-to-day moments of sobriety. Other apps like Sober Tool, even has a calculator to help you realize how much time and money you have saved by being sober. Even if it’s not your official sober birthday – treat yourself to something that reminds you that recovery is not a punishment, but a reward. Get a massage, plan a trip to visit a friend, or buy a book that you always wanted to read. Whatever the reward, no matter how big or small, take time to celebrate your sobriety – it can really help shift your perspective about the recovery process.
Find Support and Motivation in Others
In one of the longest studies of adult life conducted by Harvard, researchers found, “those who kept warm relationships got to live longer and happier, and the loners often died earlier. Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.” The lesson here is – don’t go it alone. Whether it’s online or in-person, a sense of community is important when it comes to sobriety, and finding comfort in others can make a world of difference and even save your life.
Sharing your feelings as well as hearing other people’s stories will help you realize how fortunate you are to have found sobriety, even during the toughest times. During rehab, you may have joined a SMART or 12-Step program, but stopped going once you left. It’s time to get back into these groups or ones similar to them, and if you don’t always have the time to go to a meeting, find an online support group.
Posting in sober-friendly discussion forums, such as Reddit, can help reinforce your commitment to recovery. Even closed groups on Facebook like Affected By Addiction Support Group can be beneficial. The sober app communities mentioned earlier can also serve to be an invaluable tool during recovery. Just remember, keep sharing your story, address your frustrations, and don’t be afraid to join a community.
Check into Rehab, Again
If you feel yourself struggling each day consistently and the tools in your sobriety toolbox are just not working, then check yourself back into a drug or alcohol treatment center. Remember, you don’t need to have had a relapse to return for additional help.
At Silver Lining Recovery, we provide a safe and nurturing environment for our clients to work together with highly trained therapists to target and resolve the issues contributing to their substance abuse. These approaches support the individuals as they learn to accept and move beyond their own negative beliefs and make way for a healthier, more positive life in sobriety. Everything you could ever want in this life is on the other side of recovery, so if you or someone you love is ready to break free of the bondage of addiction, contact Silver Lining Recovery today at 1-833-8GROWTH.