Staying strong after alcohol recovery is no easy task. Family parties, work events, weddings and casual gatherings are all bound to have drinks available. You’d practically have to become a hermit to avoid situations with alcohol completely.
It’s unreasonable to expect yourself to avoid every social event in order to guard your sobriety. Although some events will need to be avoided if the triggers are too hard to overcome, having a healthy and well-rounded social life is actually a great protective factor against relapse.
What do you do then, when socializing is important, but could bring on the temptation to drink? Here are our top four tips to staying strong after alcohol recovery and avoid relapse.
One of the best parts about socializing is that the solution is built right into the event – the presence of other people. Having a close friend or family member who is on board with your recovery can be a great way to have extra accountability in your recovery.
Make sure you have a chat before the event and check-in throughout. Talking out loud about your goals for recovery can make you feel more responsible for them. Just don’t put all the pressure on your friend to keep you sober. Use the other tips to keep it from getting to that point and your friend will be more likely to help you next time, too.
Take care of your body
Keeping your body healthy is one of the most important steps in avoiding alcohol relapse. People often seek substances when they are feeling low, and because of the integral mind-body connection, an unpleasant mood might be caused by bad physical health or remedied by a well-cared-for body.
Here are the boxes you’ll want to check to help you avoid alcohol relapse.
- Regular sleep, around 8 hours every night
- A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and plenty of water
- Avoid heavily processed foods
- Spend time outside
- Spend time with loved ones
Refocusing on health can also be a good distraction from urges to drink. Not only that, but it’s one of the best long-term investments you can make. After all, you only get one body and you get it for life.
Put in the work
Staying sober and avoiding alcohol addiction is hard work. There’s no quick fix, no miracle cure. The good news is that there is work you can do to make recovery easier and live your normal life. When you have tools in place to avoid alcohol relapse, you’ll be able to attend social events without unnecessary worry.
Here are a few ways to get a head start.
- Start an addiction recovery journal
- Learn about some common reasons for relapse
- Schedule activities to replace the time you used to spend drinking
- Get passionate about a new hobby
- Spend 30 minutes on self-care every day
- Learn at least 5 coping skills you can use in different settings
Long-term recovery requires commitment and will surely involve lots of challenging social situations, but with the right preparation and enough determination, you’ll be set up for success.
Take advantage of therapy or counseling
Whether you’re doing individual, family or group counseling it’s important to find a space where you can process your experiences and get support during the hard times. Counselors and therapists that specialize in addiction can also give you tools to avoid triggers and cope in high-pressure situations.
Therapy should use evidence-based practices to give you the best shot at success in recovery. The right therapy is effective according to the journal Alcohol Research and Health- about a third of those who seek treatment for problem drinking are successful in sobriety a year later, and others significantly cut back on drinking.
In addition to therapy, there may be other treatment modalities that could be constructive for your recovery. Medication-assisted therapy, a 12 step program or a more intense form of treatment (like an inpatient program) are all options you can talk over with your counselor to see if they are right for you.
A note on relapse
Sadly, relapse does happen. In fact, it’s estimated that over half of those attempting recovery relapse within the first four years. However, studies prove that those who participate in treatment and receive continued support are shown to have lower rates of relapse.
Getting involved- and staying involved- with treatment is the best thing you can do for your recovery. Finding a team that supports you and is in for the long haul is crucial to successful sobriety.
At Rehab After Work, you’re not only guaranteed to find the help you need, but you’ll be able to incorporate treatment into your regular life with convenient and flexible scheduling. Rehab After Work offers holistic treatment so you don’t have to sacrifice the time you need for work, school or family. Call 610-644-6464 to get help now.