While you’re in a rehab treatment center, you’ll be learning the coping tools that make sobriety possible. However, this doesn’t mean it will be easy to avoid using alcohol again. You’ll have to use the healthy coping mechanisms you’re taught in rehab to combat those cravings and the triggers that cause them. For some, this is a more challenging learning curve than it is for others. Your experience in living a sober lifestyle will largely depend on the severity of your addiction and on how long you struggled with alcoholism. While that may sound dour, it’s important to have a realistic expectation of your recovery process.
Even after you leave a rehab center, you’ll still be struggling with cravings to pick up a drink. In the beginning, those cravings will be strong and difficult to ignore. When you use your coping skills to resist your triggers, the moment of the craving will pass and you can congratulate yourself for not relapsing. Over time, those cravings will occur less frequently and will become less severe until you barely notice them at all. One day, you may notice that you haven’t had a craving in a very long time, and you’ll find that living sober is just your new state of being.
Turn to Help When You Need It
You don’t have to deal with your cravings alone, so don’t feel like a failure when you have to ask for help. Your loved ones know about the struggle you’ve been through to get this far, and they’re eager to help you continue your recovery. If you feel a strong craving and you’re not sure you can cope on your own, don’t be afraid to turn to a loved one, a mentor, or a sponsor. They want to help you, and they would rather spend time helping you get past the craving than see you relapse. You may need a little more help than your loved ones can offer. In these rare instances, you should seek the professional help that a counselor offers. Your addiction counselor will offer the more substantive help you need over a longer period of time, so you can reaffirm your sobriety. They have a deeper understanding of addiction recovery, so they can offer insight that will be especially beneficial. They may also know of community resources that can help you resolve specific problems.
Maintain a Full Life
The life you live will have a bearing on how well you cope with sobriety. In particular, if you don’t do much outside of going to work every day, you’ll have too much free time on your hands. Idle time creates a situation in which you have nothing to do other than to dwell on your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. You may end up relapsing out of sheer boredom or because an uneventful life has left you feeling depressed or anxious. The solution is to fill your days with worthwhile activities. You can even create the same type of rigid schedule you experienced in rehab by separating your day into blocks of time. Each block of time should be assigned a specific task, such as spending an hour reading, exercising, or going to see a movie. You can also take college courses or online seminars to help yourself engage in more productive activities.
Keep a Positive Outlook
Sobriety is difficult to maintain if you’re just going back to your old life. As you look to the future, you should envision a life that’s worth living. A healthier life isn’t just about staying sober and keeping physically fit. It should also be about enjoying your day to day existence by developing healthy relationships, taking vacations, and realizing your dreams. You should also be creating a brighter future for yourself on a professional level. If your current job isn’t rewarding, this may be the ideal time to get the training you need to begin a new and more worthwhile career. Some career fields only require a short training certification, while others require more intensive and longer educations.
No matter what path you choose to pursue, taking the time to start a new career path can provide you with lifelong rewards. When you are ready to begin living a sober lifestyle, the first step is to get the professional help you need. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and help you choose the rehab program that’s right for you. Call us at 866-963-7200 to begin your path to a clean and sober life.