Sobriety Guide to Feeling Great One Day at a Time
So you’ve achieved the hard part, you’re now in recovery, sober, clean, on the wagon, taking the high road, fantastic! First, the good news, getting sober IS the hard part. You’ve been there. Now for some bad news, maintaining long term sobriety requires good mental health. Don’t sweat it! Follow simple, proven directions for continuous sobriety.
Complete a Program of Recovery (12-Steps)
There are many different 12-Step programs available. Here is a short list:
NA (Narcotics Anonymous)
- CA (Cocaine Anonymous)
- OA (Overeaters Anonymous)
- GA (Gamblers Anonymous)
- SA (Sexaholics Anonymous)
- AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)
AA recovery statistics show 36% of all ‘newcomers stay sober 10-years or more. 12-Step programs achieve measurable results. International Conventions for AA hosted 10,000 attendees in the 1970s and ’80s to 50,000 attendees in 2005.
Take part in a 12-Step Fellowship
It’s essential to consider the benefits of a 12-Step fellowship. Attending meetings and connecting with others promotes healing. Finding a support group and sharing addiction experiences sustains mental health and stability. Working with others uncovers bumps in the road ahead to continuous sobriety. Take part in group service as a secretary, officer, or activities planner. Achievement and leadership build confidence. Fellowship participation is a positive boost to one’s mental health.
Follow a Physicians Advice and Outpatient Treatment Recommendations
For those with a dual diagnosis, taking medications as prescribed is essential. Post-treatment care with a physician is a must-do for good mental health.
Many sober people take part in outpatient treatment. Outpatient therapy groups have proven success rates. Outpatient/after-care groups, offer immediate solutions for complex, emotional challenges.
Eliminate Negativity, inside and out.
Negativity can be a detriment to good mental health and a positive outlook. Negative self-talk is tricky and subtitle. There are many helpful tools available to manage the “inner voice.” Therapy can help, but active listening to the “inner voice” can reveal a lot. Therapists, support groups and literature can help with reducing negative self-talk. One simple technique employs replacing “how” and “why” with “what if?” Instead of thoughts like, “Why would they ever give me that job?” One might say to themselves, “What if this job ends up being a great fit!”
Anonymity can solve some basic negativity issues. Consider that many recovering people remain anonymous. Stigma from family, friends, and co-workers can be unpleasant. Maintaining anonymity with carefully considered exceptions is the best policy. Measure the negative impact of family and pre-sobriety friendships. Limiting involvement with some may depend on perceived positivity. Full and open public disclosure of addiction rarely results in positive feedback. It is not recommended.
Secure an Income that Works
Income is a factor in a successful recovery. Having insufficient income can lead to stress, anxiety, and feelings of insecurity. Securing income and finding employment may be overlapping solutions over time. Employment may not be an option early on, but opportunities may arise in the future. Finding employment may be easy for some and difficult for others. Similarly, finding a job while recovering, and resuming a career may not be possible at the same time. The essential goal is for an individual in recovery to secure enough income to meet basic needs.
Resuming a career may require some damage control. Receiving funds by borrowing or cashing in on personal assets are common in early recovery. Bottom line, find income that allows one to pay for basic needs and safely pursue recovery. Securing income during recovery helps to build a foundation – providing valuable planning and confidence for a return to previous job or career. Securing income in early sobriety is primary to stability, self-sufficiency and good mental health.
Plan a Healthy Diet
Regular preparation of healthy meals can give you a mental health boost. Make healthy snacks to consume throughout the day to avoid getting hungry. Learning how to prepare healthy meals is a delightful skill. Visit Amazon or a local Barnes and Noble for information on how to make healthy and nutritious foods. Acquire tips on how to prepare dishes with fresh ingredients. Buying fresh ingredients from a local grocery store or outdoor market results in lower costs. Conduct some basic research on a quality multivitamin.
Schedule Physical Activity
A gym membership, Tai Chi classes, Yoga, Palettes, or some bike riding around the block should do the trick. Good fitness is great for mental health. It’s like “green tea” for the brain. Twenty to forty minutes of aerobic activity is proven to reduce depression and normalize mood. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/)
Maintaining proper mental health is an essential component of sobriety. Follow the directions listed in this article. Acknowledge what you’ve achieved in recovery. You are on the way to new freedom and a new happiness.