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How to Stay Sober

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If you have an alcohol problem and are trying to get and stay sober, you're not alone. Staying sober and preventing relapse can be a difficult path. Fortunately, there are many ways to help you stick to your recovery journey.

10 Tips for Staying Sober

It's essential to take care of yourself, live a healthy lifestyle, and cut out alcohol if you have a problem. People die from excessive alcohol consumption every day. 

Here are 10 tips to stop drinking and stay sober:

1. Get Professional Help

Don't try to overcome alcohol addiction alone. Professional help is available and encouraged.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous, if not deadly. It is safer to abstain from alcohol under professional care, and it's more likely that you will get and stay sober.

Consider inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation facilities, support groups, therapy, holistic health programs, and medication-assisted addiction treatment. 

2. Surround Yourself With Support

Surround yourself with friends, family, and other loved ones who support you. You may even turn to addiction support groups to meet other people who are in similar positions as you.

The more you surround yourself with healthy relationships, the easier it will be to recover and maintain sobriety.

3. Don’t Attend Gatherings That Involve Alcohol

Being around alcohol when trying to abstain from drinking will only make your road to recovery harder. Until you’re at a better place in your recovery, avoid going to events where you know drinking will be a big part of them.

4. Don’t Keep Alcohol in Your House

Don't keep alcohol in your house or anywhere that is easily accessible to you. If you know that alcohol is in your kitchen, you may be more tempted to reach for it. 

If you live with friends or family, kindly ask them to do the same to support your sobriety.

5. Attend Recovery Groups Even After Getting Sober

If you have recovered from your alcohol addiction, you can still attend support groups like AA. Continuing to show up at support groups holds you accountable and reminds you why you got sober in the first place. Doing this can help you to stay sober long-term.

6. Seek Therapy 

Therapy helps you identify and unpack the core reasons causing you to drink. For example, drinking alcohol can be an escape mechanism if you’re struggling in your marriage or dealing with trauma.

7. Engage in Activities You Love

The more you drink, your passions and responsibilities fall by the wayside. So, if you're trying to get and stay sober, consider engaging with the things you love again. The more you spend your time doing this, the less you'll spend drinking.

8. Exercise

Studies show that exercising releases natural endorphins that make you feel happy. Because alcoholism is often linked to depression, consider getting your body moving to help boost your mood.

9. Stick to a Structured Schedule 

Staying busy is one of the best ways to avoid relapsing. Developing a structured schedule can help keep you accountable and work towards important life goals.

10. Focus on Relaxing

Stress can be a trigger for some alcoholics. Therefore, managing your stress levels by making time for activities that lower anxiety can help you stay sober. Yoga, meditation, nature walks, and music can all help you relax and remain calm.

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What Happens if I Relapse?

Relapsing does not automatically indicate failure. If you relapse, you are not alone. Unfortunately, relapsing is common because getting and staying sober can be extremely difficult.

Recovery takes time and effort. This is why it often requires professional addiction treatment. People who get professional help are more likely to remain sober than those who try to recover independently.

Benefits of Relapse Prevention Programs

Relapse prevention and treatment programs have many benefits. These include:

  • Making friends who can support you on your recovery journey
  • Getting the support and care of medical professionals
  • Increased accountability
  • Access to mental health therapy

Attending a relapse prevention program may help stop you from relapsing during your addiction recovery journey.

5 Treatment Options for Alcohol Relapse

A strong support system is key to obtaining a sober life. Here are the most successful types of treatment for alcohol and drug addiction and relapse:

1. Inpatient Programs

Inpatient treatment takes place at a licensed residential treatment center. These programs provide 24/7 comprehensive, structured care.

You'll live in safe, substance-free housing. You’ll also have access to professional medical monitoring.

The first step of an inpatient program is detoxification. Then behavioral therapy and other services are introduced. These programs typically last 30, 60, or 90 days, sometimes longer.

2. Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) are sometimes referred to as intensive outpatient programs (IOP).

Partial hospitalization programs provide similar services as inpatient programs. These include:

  • Medical services
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Support groups
  • Customized therapies

However, in a PHP program, you return home to sleep. Some services provide food and transportation, but benefits vary by program.

PHPs accept new patients and people who have completed an inpatient program and still need intensive treatment.

3. Outpatient Programs

Outpatient treatment is less intensive than inpatient or partial hospitalization programs. These programs organize your treatment session based on your schedule.

The goal of outpatient treatment is to provide therapy, education, and support in a flexible environment. They are best for people motivated to recover and cannot leave their responsibilities at home, work, or school.

Outpatient programs are often part of aftercare programs once you complete an inpatient or PHP program.

4. Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)

Doctors sometimes use medications in alcohol addiction treatment. Some of these medications help reduce the adverse side effects of detoxification and withdrawal, while others help reduce cravings and normalize body functions.

Disulfiram (Antabuse), acamprosate (Campral), and naltrexone are the most common medications to treat AUD. When combined with other evidence-based therapies (such as cognitive behavioral therapy), MAT can help prevent relapse and increase your chance of recovery.

5. Support Groups

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and SMART Recovery are open to anyone with a substance abuse problem. They are peer-led organizations dedicated to helping each other remain sober.

Begin your journey towards lasting recovery
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Updated on November 16, 2022
9 sources cited
  1. Alcohol Poisoning Deaths.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015.
  2. Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2021.
  3. Alcohol Use Disorder.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2018. 
  4. Becker, Howard C. “Alcohol Dependence, Withdrawal, and Relapse.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2008. 
  5. Moos et al. “Rates and Predictors of Relapse after Natural and Treated Remission from Alcohol Use Disorders.” National Library of Medicine, 2006. 
  6. Most People Who Drink Excessively Are Not Alcohol Dependent.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014. 
  7. Alcohol Withdrawal.” Harvard Health, 2019.
  8. Skerrett, Patrick J. “Heavy Drinkers Aren't Necessarily Alcoholics, but May Be ‘Almost Alcoholics.’” Harvard Health, 2014. 
  9. Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020.

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