Clearly, staying clean and sober in a lifelong process. At the same time, cravings can be an obstacle for those clients both in and outside of treatment. The key to staying-lean and sober is to learn how to identify cravings that can lead to triggers and learn how to break addiction habits. In doing so, it becomes easier to break habits and identify cravings and subsequently, learn to identify and avoid the urge to relapse. We also need to remember that the act of experiencing cravings is a natural part of recovery — not a sign of weakness. This is one of the most difficult aspects for a recovering addict to grasp. It is an aspect that is deeply rooted in a person’s psychological association with alcohol and drugs.
One of the most important aspects of remaining clean and sober is attaining a sense of inner balance. Recovery addicts and alcoholics must break addictions habits by examining old behaviors while at the same time, make necessary adjustments. It is important to keep oneself busy with enriching activities, such as exercise. One can release stress by the release of natural endorphins while at the same time, make one feel well. Bottom line, breaking old habits and creating new healthy routines are the keep to remaining clean and sober.
Healthy Eating During Recovery: It is important to eat well; not only what you eat but how much. It is not uncommon for cravings to occur when you are cranky or have imbalanced nutrients. Keeping to a routine of eating healthy snacks and regular meals all play a role in remaining clean and sober. The key is to stay away from foods that increase cravings and/or weigh you down (i.e. fast food, etc.) but rather eat foods that keep you healthy (i.e. salads, healthy protein, etc.).
Serving Others: It is easy to get wrapped in our own obstacles facing us that we tend to forget the needs of others around us. Part of staying clean and sober is to be of service to others. This is not only a means to take your mind off your struggles, but also a way to see the benefits of your serve as you begin living a successful life in recovery. Tak a commitment at a 12-step meeting; volunteer at a local homeless shelter–there are a myriad of volunteer opportunities that allow one to give back. And once you have a significant amount of sobriety and have worked all 12-steps, you can sponsor others in recovery, helping them as they are going through the same struggles you did. The goal here to help you empower yourself, see the bigger picture in life while at the same time, get out of your head.
Participate in Support Groups: Support groups are not only a vital part of long-term sobriety, they are the best places to be because you are around people who have and/or are experiencing the struggles you may face. These support groups will provide the means to help you overcome them utilizing a variety of methods. Not only will you learn applicable coping skills from other recovering addicts and/or alcoholics, you will have social support so desperately needed to remain clean and sober. Continued counseling can also be a great source of support because your counselor will not only help you deal with your triggers and develop a relapse prevention, they will listen without judgment as do support groups. In addition to 12-step support groups, church attendance can also offer support for ongoing sobriety by creating a positive outlet to meet other people.
Dealing With: Relapse is an unfortunate side of recovery and at times, unavoidable without strong coping skills. It is imperative that you can recognize the signs that lead back into addiction. If you find yourself withdrawing from the recovery community, sober friends and even family. Even those who follow these suggestions still face the risk of relapse. It is an unfortunate side effect of recovery for many. The first thing to do is recognize the signs of slipping back into addiction. Withdrawing from the recovery community and family and friends, denial, cravings, and disinterest in support groups can all be signs you are close to relapse. During these times, it is important to tell someone how you are feeling and get yourself back into a support group and counseling sessions in order to prevent relapse. Should relapse occur, do not beat yourself up over it as it is just a temporary setback — a SLIP (sobriety loses its priority). Pick yourself up and start over. There will be no judgment whether you decide to enter treatment again or just return to 12-step programming. In the end, it is possible to achieve sobriety again as long as you do the work. Not only that, you can be a beacon of light and provide insight to those who are suffering the same circumstances.