Here are nine tips an individual should use to stay sober.
1) Daily Structure
It’s crucial that any individual working on staying sober must have structure and consistency which usually requires lifestyle management changes. This means changing where you live, who you hang out with and how you lead your life.
2) Stress Reduction
Feeling empowered with stress management is also very important in staying sober. The ability to reduce one’s own stress through techniques and activities like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, martial arts, dance, creative arts and/or seeing a therapist is powerful and well needed.
Trying to stay sober is almost impossible without having a purpose – even if that purpose initially is just to stay sober. A purpose driven life gives you meaning; something to live for; builds self worth and helps you focus.
So many people suffering from an addiction identify as an addict instead of identifying as an individual with strengths and vulnerabilities including having a substance abuse or behavioral addiction problem. A shift in identity is necessary.
5) Spiritual Growth
Spiritual growth is also key in healing from an addiction. When one spends time on spiritual growth, the focus is on meaning, purpose and connection internally and then with others.
6) Learning to Face Discomfort
Many people suffering from an addiction will relapse when faced with a stressful circumstance – either something new or a repeat of something old. The inability to face uncomfortable feelings, have difficult conversations and sometimes sit in that discomfort leads many people to bad behaviors and bad choices.
7) Medication Management
Although medications, alone, aren’t the answer, they can assist in symptom reduction and medical and psychological stabilization.
8) Support Network
Addiction is so powerful, literally possessing people such that they need their pills/drugs/alcohol/behavior as much as they need air; this requires not only insight, courage, clarity, focus and professional help but also an internal support network.
As dopamine depletion and novelty seeking seem to be associated with addiction, finding healthy sources of novelty can be quite important; novelty traveling, learning to dance, working out, martial arts, sports, cooking, etc. Doing new things will enhance your neurochemistry and can act as a buffer when cravings occur.
Good luck with your treatment journey!
Dr. Reef Karim
Dr. Reef Karim is a board certified psychiatrist, addiction medicine specialist, and relationship therapist. The founder of Lumion Center, Dr. Karim is a senior attending physician and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience. He is a published research scientist in the field of behavioral & chemical addictions with articles in the International Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Addiction Medicine, and other prestigious journals. Visit Lumion Center at www.LumionCenter.com or call them at (855) 701-4040.
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