Why Living a Sober Lifestyle Isn’t Just About Abstaining from Substance Abuse
Many addicts have heard that living a sober lifestyle means abstinence from alcohol and drugs. While this is true, living a sober lifestyle isn’t simply about abstaining from substance abuse. It’s about living a healthier, happier, and more productive life.
Abstinence vs. Sobriety: Two Very Different Things
When you think of sobriety, your mind is likely to go straight to the word abstinence.
Yes, living a sober life does require that you abstain from using drugs and/or alcohol. However, sobriety and abstinence aren’t mutually exclusive. That’s because so much more goes into sobriety than just staining from a particular substance.
That’s why it’s vital to understand the difference between the two terms:
What does abstinence mean? It means you don’t consume a substance or partake in a behavior. It can be anything from not making an unhealthy choice, to being able to control your impulses and avoid giving in to temptations and urges.
Sobriety, on the other hand, is a complete lifestyle change. It’s a life-long commitment to living a healthier, more productive life. It’s about finding a balance between the things you enjoy and what you have to give up. It’s about making an active choice not to do certain things and living a lifestyle that will help you get out of a cycle of self-destructive behaviors that no longer serve you.
5 Methods to Help You Achieve and Maintain Your Sobriety
Remember, achieving and maintaining sobriety does involve some abstinence to keep you on the road to success. However, you can incorporate several other techniques into your life that will help you stay sober and avoid relapses, including:
1. Knowing Your Triggers
The first step to living a sober lifestyle is to understand your triggers. Knowing what triggers you and what makes you behave in a way that you would otherwise avoid can be a valuable tool in your sobriety. Once you find these triggers, you can begin to create a plan of action to help you avoid the situations or behaviors that cause you to relapse.
For example, if you know that you are more likely to succumb to drinking when you are stressed, you can plan ahead to avoid these situations. You can also find healthy alternatives to drinking for stress relief, such as going for a run or enjoying a warm cup of tea.
2. Recognizing Relapse Warning Signs
After finding your triggers, you can identify the possible warning signs or situations that lead to a relapse. When you recognize these signs, you can plan to avoid them or take action immediately.
Some common warning signs include:
- Returning to your addictive mindset/thinking patterns
- Engaging in compulsive behaviors
- Seeking out potentially compromising situations
- Romanticizing past use
3. Developing Healthier Alternatives to Old Habits
Many people have a difficult time when they have to give up their old habits. If they don’t have any healthier alternatives to make up for the loss, they may find themselves in a vicious cycle of self-destructive behavior.
Creating healthier alternatives is a key to maintaining sobriety, and it can be a powerful tool in your recovery. Prioritizing self-care and self-awareness are essential to your self-growth, and these new healthier habits can help you along the way.
4. Focusing on Building Healthy Relationships
A vital component of a successful sobriety lifestyle is developing healthy relationships with people in your life. Many people struggle with maintaining healthy relationships, and this can be a key reason for relapse.
When you can develop healthy relationships with, and get support from, your friends, family, and lovers, you will be able to keep yourself from engaging in self-destructive behavior.
5. Getting the Support You Need
Finally, when you are ready to start your own journey to recovery, it can be challenging to find support and resources. Whether it is from friends, family, or a recovery community, it is essential to find a way to get the support you need to continue on your path to sobriety. There are many ways you can find support, including:
- Group therapy
- Sober living communities
- Online support groups and forums, etc.
Let Ethos Recovery for Men Help You on The Road to Recovery
At Ethos, we understand that there are many ways to achieve and maintain sobriety. We want to help you find the best path for you.
If you are seeking advice on how to better your sobriety, we can help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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.