By Kyle Swanson
Staying sober can be difficult especially for people in early recovery. The cravings and chance to relapse are higher within the first ninety days. Our mind and bodies are trying to adjust to life without addiction to drugs and alcohol. There are several things you can do to make a sober lifestyle easier. Here are some things I recommend based on my personal experience:
1. Physical exercise – Physical activity is great to occupy time and boredom. I believe it is important to keep yourself busy in early recovery. It is also beneficial for mental and emotional health. Staying active can help curb cravings in early recovery. I suggest finding a physical activity that suits you. A normal gym routine, working out at home, jogging/running, yoga and martial arts are a few great options.
2. Meditation – Practicing meditation is great to calm the mind and body when feeling stressed out, anxious or depressed. Meditating teaches you how to relax, breathe and live in the present moment which is very helpful in early recovery.
3. Seek a therapist – There is nothing wrong with turning to a professional for further help, advice and guidance if you need to. A therapist may be able to see things from a different perspective and offer a unique approach to situations. A therapist is also great to speak to about certain things you may not feel comfortable talking to others about.
4. Medication – If you struggle with addiction and have trouble quitting, I highly recommend medically assisted treatment. Medically assisted treatment can aid in both withdrawals and help you quit for good. This type of treatment is becoming more popular due to a higher success rate compared to other treatments for addiction.
5. Attend AA/NA meetings – Attending ninety meetings in ninety days is a common recommendation for people in early recovery. The first ninety days in early recovery are seen as the most critical as the cravings are stronger and chances of relapse are higher. Attending meetings is great for inspiration, knowledge and wisdom. It is also a great way to meet people who want to change their lives for the better. Meetings are a great way to build a strong support network.
6. Find a home group for AA/NA – A home group is a meeting that you attend on a regular basis. I suggest attending various meetings in your area and find the one that suits you best. The sooner you find a home group in early recovery, the better. I suggest finding a meeting you thoroughly enjoy. I also recommend a meeting that you feel socially comfortable in. Find a group where you feel like you belong and fit into. You want a home group that can help you build a strong support network and friendships.
7. Get a good sponsor – Finding a good sponsor is crucial in early recovery. A sponsor is basically someone who has been there, done that. Find a sponsor that you can relate to. I suggest finding someone who shares a similar story and path to sobriety as your own. I also recommend a sponsor with ten years or more of sobriety. You need a sponsor you can trust and learn from. A good sponsor should always make themselves open and available to you especially in times of need. A sponsor will also work you through the twelve steps. This is one more reason I suggest finding an excellent sponsor you connect with on every level.
8. Work a 12 -step program – Working a twelve steps program can be a grueling but rewarding process. The sponsor of your choice will be responsible for guiding you through these steps. I suggest starting the steps as soon as possible in recovery. The twelve steps are great for easing and removing the burdens we bear from active addiction. The steps give us an opportunity to re-establish connections with family, friends and loved ones. It allows us the possibility of forgiving ourselves and others as well.
9. Read the Big Book – Reading the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly recommended. The Big Book is a great spiritual guide. It is not only a guide to getting and staying sober, it is a guide to life. You will find inspiration and motivation. You will also find personal accounts of people that you can relate to. Reading the Big Book in your down time of early recovery can be beneficial.
10. Build a strong support system with people who are sober – Build friendships and connections with people who support and share the same goal of getting clean and sober. AA or NA meetings and finding a home group is a great place to start. Build from the inside out in early recovery. Eventually you will feel more comfortable with who you are. You will begin to open yourself up to people and branch outside of the recovery community.
Kyle Swanson is a freelance writer recovering from drug addiction. He has found purpose in writing for websites such as Medically Assisted and sharing about his experiences. In his free time, he works with his local recovery community in hopes of guiding others to a life of sobriety.