Recovery is one of the most rewarding and liberating gifts imaginable, but maintaining it means staying proactive throughout the lifelong recovery journey. While the process of healing from addiction and mental health disorders can include difficult emotional obstacles, it is also an empowering process that allows an individual to reconnect with their community, move forward with their life goals, and begin a healthier future.
Research shows that 40–60% of people with substance use disorders relapse. Statistics like these show that setbacks are common in recovery, but sticking to an effective recovery plan can help you avoid these problems and stay sober over the long term. Here is a set of proven recovery strategies and tips to help you stay sober.
Continue your recovery plan, no matter what
Before you leave treatment, chances are you will be creating an attainable recovery plan with your case manager, therapist, or sober companion. This will usually include a relapse prevention plan to help overcome any challenges or triggers that may derail your recovery. As you practice ways to get and stay sober or manage a mental health disorder, the plan can be revisited and re-adjusted. The most important criteria is that you have a plan to maintain sobriety and stay accountable for the achievable goals and structure that you created.
Utilize a sober companion
A Sober Companion (Personal Recovery Assistant) is someone who guides, mentors, supports, and advocates for you so you can apply what you’ve learned in treatment to your daily life. The benefits of a personal recovery assistant, or sober companion, are numerous, especially when it comes to identifying triggers and creating healthy boundaries once you return home from treatment. A sober companion can be a valuable extension of a recovery plan, along with alcohol and drug monitoring if needed.
Sober companions can also be incredibly helpful for those who aren’t struggling with substances. At Hired Power, our sober companions can help individuals take charge of their mental health or gain valuable life skills that support them in all aspects of day-to-day living.
Build a strong and healthy support network
By the time you leave treatment or decide to get sober, you will likely be looking for supportive individuals who can help you continue on the path to recovery. Personal recovery assistants provide a direct connection to support, allowing you to reach out when you’re struggling and overcome obstacles with the help of an experienced recovery professional. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous can also be helpful.
Getting sober from drugs or alcohol or learning to cope with a mental health disorder can be difficult to do without help. Abstinence and willingness alone usually result in some sort of relapse. Lack of connection is a common relapse trigger, so find friends, peers, and professionals who can support you in your journey. Turn to your sober companion for wisdom and guidance in recovery. Make new friends in group meetings you attend. Keep healthy friends, and consider shedding the not-so-healthy friends — especially those that still use drugs, drink heavily, or trigger you in other ways. You are who you spend time with.
Recognize triggers and warning signs
Focusing on yourself is not selfish. When you’re learning how to stay sober from alcohol and drugs or learning to cope with a mental health disorder, you’re highly encouraged to put yourself first by avoiding friends who use substances, drink heavily, or trigger you in any other way. That does not mean you no longer love or care for them. It means you need to distance yourself from temptations, triggers, and a lifestyle that will damage what you are trying to protect: your sobriety, your serenity, and all the work you have put into it.
As rewarding as recovery or sobriety can be, a lot is also at stake, so it’s important to remain vigilant. Identify the triggers, the enablers, and co-dependencies and discuss them with your sponsor, your therapist, or your sober companion.
Schedule your time
Many of those in recovery are used to a life in chaos. Chaos is still an unhealthy distraction during and after recovery. Treatment is often designed to provide you with a better sense of structure, and this structure will be important to maintain throughout your lifelong recovery journey. Be sure you take the time to attend meetings, write in your journal, meditate, make to-do lists, and create short-term and long-term goals to work toward. You have worked extremely hard to get sober or take control of your mental health, so also be sure you reward yourself with some time to appreciate it.
Practice self-care and self-love
Self-care means more than just maintaining personal hygiene — something that is often neglected before taking control of your mental health or getting sober. Self-care is all about getting in tune with both your mind and body, working on your self-esteem, and practicing self-love. This is a great time to journal, focus on your health, and exercise, exercise, exercise. If you aren’t a gym rat, that’s OK. Hikes, bike riding, stretching, yoga — it all counts. This is the time to change things up for the better.
Explore new hobbies
Traveling the path of recovery, navigating mental health disorders, and staying sober can be a lot of fun, so this is also a great time to replace some old, bad habits with new, healthy ones. What better time than now to try something new? Get out of your comfort zone. Take cooking lessons, pick up pickleball, go golfing, start surfing, or crank out some karaoke; the sky’s the limit. One of the hallmarks of recovery is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Find aftercare support with Hired Power
Hiring a Sober Companion or Recovery Coach can be life-changing for people in recovery, especially those who struggle to live a sober life or have ongoing mental health conditions once they return home from treatment. Hired Power is recognized for its professionally trained team of board-registered Personal Recovery Assistants. As a pioneer in the field and the leading Personal Recovery service provider for addiction and mental health recovery, Hired Power continues to be the standard of excellence to which other providers are held.
Our success with clients and their Sober Companions depends on ensuring a good professional and personal match. We take the time to establish each client’s needs, situation, and recovery goals, utilizing comprehensive assessments to find the best professional for each individual. Recovery starts by contacting us or calling 800.585.5816.