Finding Independence in Sobriety
Once you’ve completed detox and addiction treatment and are ready to move on with your life, there are issues relating to recovery and independence that may come up, as you head towards managing a meaningful and sober life. Knowing some sobriety tips may help you in your path to recovery as an independent person.
In an addiction recovery community, you can begin to discover that living sober means facing challenges without the aid of substances. Although you no longer have these to fall back upon, a whole new world opens up when you enter treatment for addiction.
How a Support Group can Help
The benefits of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) have been proven through studies throughout the years. Along with the group, the programs emphasize building strong bonds with friends, family, spirituality or religion, and work.
Although the support of friends and family are necessary, AA and NA meetings provide a circle of peers who have gone through the same journey that you have taken. Abstinence is emphasized as is communication. These highly non-judgemental groups are welcoming as you discover laughter and a safe place for sharing.
While you were going through addiction, you probably relied on friends and family for help to get you out of trouble or even to get you home safely. Being taken care of becomes a habit as well and can be a difficult one to break. Treatment, however, offers new tools, in addition to meetings, that can lead to independence.
Building a support system without alcohol or drugs may be part of your mission as you recover. Finding supportive people and having fun is essential. You may need a supportive shoulder every once in a while. However, finding a way to rely on yourself can be part of becoming more independent.
Sobriety Tips for Independence
Some steps to do while you are living sober can include:
- Learning to love yourself
- Letting go of the past
- Correcting mistakes from the past if possible
- Getting fit mentally, physically, and financially
You might begin to find your purpose in life; helping others might be that purpose. Creativity and expression might also become a part of your recovery. Putting your thoughts and pictures on paper (or computer) might be part of your independence. Have you ever dreamed of writing poems, making music, or painting pictures? This might be the time to do it, as you begin to love yourself and discover who you are.
Meditation, yoga, and spirituality might be ways in which you can expand your mind as well as calm it down. Reading books that you may never have thought of when you were addicted can now become a pleasurable goal. Walks in nature as well as physical challenges may be a new area of enjoyment that was never explored.
Getting fit physically can work wonders on your mind. Time spent in a gym with others, who have the same goal, helps you learn how to be independent, as you become stronger physically. It does not have to be monumental at first; you can gradually gain physical strength as you also gain emotional strength.
Financial independence may mean going back to work. It may be in another field and one that is less stressful than the one you pursued while addicted. A new job might mean less temptations to abuse drugs or alcohol, as you gain insight into the reasons for addiction. Bringing in an income will help you become more independent as you will no longer have to rely on family or friends. You will be paying your own bills; paying the bills is not quite entertaining, although self-esteem benefits from it.
Part of recovery is building accountability as well as developing a character that speaks the truth. Once you have entered the real world and long-term recovery, accountability will be a great ally, in addition to camaraderie.
Some More Sobriety Tips
Here are some tips for becoming independent while maintaining sobriety.
- Change negative thinking
- Avoid high-risk people, places and things
- Become honest, with yourself and your group
- Add mind and body relaxation
- Add time for self-care
Asking for Help
Learning how to be independent does not mean that you are isolated or alone. You should be working on yourself but don’t be afraid to ask for help when struggling. How often do you reach out to your sponsor? Going to a recovery group at least twice a week will be helpful in disarming situations that come up.
Parents who are seeking help for their loved ones should listen carefully and ask how they can be of help. Young addicts need to communicate with their families as well as a community of peers.
If you experience a setback or are feeling lost, it is best to reach out and communicate in order to gain the support and reinforcement of your recovery. The goal of long-term sobriety can be reached through unity and accountability. You have learned new coping skills and are moving forward, gaining perspective as you gain self-confidence and the feeling of self-worth.
Practicing the principles learned throughout treatment on a daily basis puts you well on the road to learning how to be independent in your sobriety.
Ethos Recovery can Help
Ethos Recovery can provide you, in addition to life and coping skills, with referrals to therapists, wilderness programs, holistic professionals, psychiatric services, and educational counseling. A parent of a child struggling with addiction can also get help through referrals.
If you have any queries regarding becoming independent in recovery, our counselors can answer your questions, as you pursue a meaningful path to a life of sobriety. We can help you or a loved one meet the challenges of the real world with new behaviors and accountability, camaraderie, and character development that are part of addiction treatment.
Author – Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the Founder and Director of Ethos Recovery. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and has served as a community advocate/mentor for men and women in recovery since 2010.