Once you’ve done the work of getting sober, you’re now tasked with maintaining your sobriety. It’s a long process that you’ll need to take one day at a time. While it’s a difficult task, there are several steps you can take to make maintaining your sobriety easier.
One of the key components to avoiding relapse is to find sober support. Sober support can include individuals, organizations, support groups, therapists, etc. These people will be instrumental in providing encouragement, emotional support, and motivation, helping you avoid relapse.
But how can you find sober support after leaving rehab? Try using the tips below.
Leave Negative Influences Behind
After rehab, you may find it challenging and intimidating to form friendships that aren’t based on obtaining or sharing substances. Regardless, it’s crucial to leave negative influences in the past.
Spending time with friends you previously used with is a sure way to wreck your hard-earned sobriety. In fact, it’s one of the major relapse triggers for individuals in recovery. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can handle being around these friends. In reality, it’s possible that you had little in common aside from your shared interest in alcohol or drugs.
Lean on Family
In many cases, family forms the most powerful support for recovering addicts. Talk to your family about your journey, and let them know how much their support and encouragement would mean to you.
It’s helpful if your family can attend therapy or open 12-step meetings with you. As they begin to understand addiction as a disease, they’ll become better equipped to support you throughout the recovery process.
If your substance abuse disorder has strained your family relationships, be patient. Do what you can to show your family members that you can be honest and reliable. Let them know that you’re working hard to beat your addiction and become a better you. These relationships are important, and you’ll likely manage to rebuild them in time.
Attend 12-Step Meetings
One of the best ways to find sober support after rehab is to attend 12-step meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). At these meetings, you’ll meet other recovering addicts who are committed to sobriety. These individuals will listen to your experiences without judgment, understand your struggles, and provide valuable encouragement along your journey.
Try to stick to one location and time. This way, you can build friendships with the people who regularly attend these meetings. These friends can become a positive support system who will keep you accountable.
Find a Sponsor
By attending 12-step meetings, you can also find a sponsor. Generally, a sponsor should be someone who has been in recovery for over a year and has developed a strong relationship with their own sponsor.
The sponsor’s role is to help guide you through the 12 steps. When you feel threatened by a relapse or need emotional support, you can call your sponsor for help. They’ll share their own experiences with you and encourage you to keep working at your recovery. In addition, a good sponsor is trustworthy and will listen without criticism or judgement.
Participate in Sober Living Activities
In early recovery, it’s vital to keep busy. You want to participate in positive activities with positive people. Not only will this distract you from negative thoughts or potential cravings, but it’ll also benefit your overall emotional health.
Search the Internet or your local newspaper for sober living activities. You can also check with local libraries or churches. You may be able to find meetups in your area that focus on fun, sober outings for people in recovery. These activities might include dinner, coffee, movies, concerts, sports, and other outdoor activities.
You’ll learn that it’s possible to have a great time without using substances, and you’ll build your sober support system in the process.
Of course, building a sober support system won’t be any help to you if you don’t actually use it. Once you have sober support in place—friends, family, a sponsor, or others in recovery—don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.
Asking for help can be difficult for some people, but it’s crucial to maintaining your sobriety. Build a network of trustworthy, encouraging sober friends who make you feel comfortable enough to ask for help.
Recovery is a tough journey, and you don’t have to go it alone!