Maintaining lifelong sobriety away from drugs and alcohol is a challenge for many past addicts. This journey of sobriety is a unique experience for every individual that requires patience, dedication and passion. Here are some tips, thoughts and philosophies from a range of staff and clinicians from Truvida Recovery.
Don V – “ The act of maintaining sobriety is one that requires a re-discovery of meaning in one’s life. Now what that meaning entails for each person is solely for them to decide. And it is just that, a decision. We get to decide the meaning we will assign to various aspects of our lives. So to put it simply, the person in recovery has to decide what is important to them. Then, once they have identified that which is important to them, they must grow and nurture those areas of their lives until they are so big and full that the thought of using substances again is by comparison too small to compete with all the meaning that has sprouted up in the individual’s life. For me, I decided that my family, sushi, the gym, being kind to people and murder-mystery TV shows were important to me. I have since talked to my family everyday, eaten sushi 5 times a week, gone to the gym every weekday, been kind to everyone(generally 🙂 ), and watched a ridiculous amount of murder-mystery TV shows. As a result of the meaning that I decided to create in my life, I have been clean and sober for a long time.”
Tiffany A – “Usually I get triggered when when I’m out to eat and I’m around other people drinking. Because some of my friends and family still drink, I know to expect this. Whenever I eat out normally, I will always order water unless one of them is drinking. Then I will ‘treat myself’ to a soda or an iced tea. It tricks my brain into thinking, ‘We got a fun drink too,’ but it’s non-alcoholic. The reward center in the brain is triggered, I feel good from the boost in dopamine, the sugar in the soda/tea is a nice feeling too, and I stay safe and sober another day.“
Daniel B – “Identify your passions! Find what motivates and inspires you and pursue it relentlessly, because discovering a sense of purpose and meaning in your life will give you a reason to wake up every morning. Find some way to connect with the world around you, whether it be through people, nature, music, fitness, or whatever it is that gives you that sense of connection to the life you’re living. Make a conscious effort to fill your life with things that create a sense of well being for you, because your happiness and passion for life will ripple out into the universe and affect people more than you think.”
John B – “While running one of my first groups some years ago, I witnessed a far-away look on the faces of the participants. Even though I had the curriculum of the group firmly set with ‘evidence-based’ information, I knew I was losing my grasp on the group. ‘How many of you have heard this before?’ I asked. All of the hands went up. I had been working with groups most of my life and was perplexed by the reaction. ‘Evidence-based’: I assumed that this also meant ‘effective.’ Boy, was I wrong! All of the clients in the group had been in recovery before. Here we were, in the midst of ‘crazy’: doing the same things and expecting different results. The curriculum was set up to avoid feelings (except on an abstract, intellectual level). So what I have experienced is that learning to embrace and experience our hidden or suppressed emotions and feelings, and also developing the skills to direct and guide those emotions and feelings in a positive way is crucial to maintaining life long sobriety.
“For men, learn to deal with feelings. They are normal aspects of life. Our very feelings define us as human; embrace them and don’t run from them. Be open to re-examining our definition of ‘masculinity’.
“Surround yourself with healthy relationships. Re-define your life to involve those who
support your sobriety.”