The last time our country conducted a survey on drug and alcohol use disorders was in 2017, and researchers found that nearly 20 million people over the age of 12 qualified. We suspect this number has grown higher in recent years, fueled by the global pandemic.
However you came to a substance use disorder, you’ve taken the necessary steps to get clean and sober, and you want to stay that way.
The team here at Northshore Health shares that same goal. While we offer critical tools, such as medication-assisted treatments and recovery support, there are also some steps you can take on your own. Here, we review five of those.
1. Know your triggers
When you have a substance use disorder, it’s likely that you have certain triggers that drive you to use. It could be certain people, feeling anxious, or that Sunday night dread of the coming work week.
It’s important to spend some time identifying your triggers and finding other ways to handle them. For example, you should avoid people and places that you associate with drinking or using. Or, you can choose a fun activity for Sunday night so you’re not sitting at home getting worked up about the Monday morning blues.
By understanding your triggers, whatever they may be, you can accept them and find alternatives for dealing with them.
2. Stay connected
One of reasons why support groups are so successful is that you’re connected to people who are going through the same experiences and struggles as you. Through sharing these experiences and finding out that you’re not alone, you gain much-needed strength to continue forward knowing the path is well-worn.
Whether you have friends in recovery or you join a 12-step group, connection surrounding this issue is important.
3. Get help
It’s often said in recovery groups that one of the most difficult things is picking up the phone and asking for help. We want you to know that we’re here every step of the way, and if you’re struggling more than usual and you’re afraid of relapsing, pick up that phone and call us.
We can provide you with the direction and tools you need to weather the tough times.
4. Take it one day at a time
It might seem cliche, but the concept behind, “One day at a time,” is incredibly powerful when applied to your recovery. Instead of looking ahead to a lifetime without drugs or alcohol, take it day by day. Today, you’ll do what you can to not drink or use. Anything beyond that is a future concern and doesn’t serve you for today.
5. Try new things
One of the best ways to stay clean and sober is to make some changes and try new things. Think about something you’ve always wanted to do — go mountain biking, take piano lessons, learn how to cook — and make this the time you try.
Engaging yourself in new activities helps to reset your brain more quickly and changes old habits and behaviors that you might associate with drinking and using.
There are plenty more tips for staying sober, and we’re happy to sit down with you to come up with a good plan. To get started, please contact our office in Bothell, Washington, to set up a consultation.