Five Helpful Tips To Maintain Sobriety

16th Jun 2022 • by Amaha

Overcoming alcohol addiction is a long and arduous journey. Studies indicate that around 2 in every 3 people with alcohol addiction manage to maintain their sobriety. These are promising numbers - the majority of the people that managed to quit their alcohol addiction tend to stay sober. With the right approach, you can also make the decision to stay sober and stick with it.

The journey of maintaining sobriety includes not just abstaining from the substance of addiction, but it also includes building a vast repertoire of coping mechanisms and health promoting habits. It includes change not just of the substance use, but also of the very core of your lifestyle. 

What will help me stay sober?

1. Self-care 

The journey of sobriety is a challenging one and takes a lot of personal efforts and strength. Thus, as you progress on this journey, you need to be mindful of taking care of yourself so that you don’t run out of personal resources. Self-care can include eating healthy, engaging in exercise, and giving yourself enough rest and sleep as you work towards your goals. 

2. Emotional Regulation

The path to recovery can be emotionally taxing and difficult. Moreover, emotional dysregulation can significantly impact addictive behaviour. 

What does emotional dysregulation mean? It could range from severe feelings of anxiety, sadness, or other intense feelings that are difficult to control. 

One of the most effective techniques to promote emotional regulation and gain more control over how you feel while you stay on course through the recovery process is the ‘5D technique’.

What is the 5D technique’ in addiction recovery?

Delay. It involves delaying the behaviour to quench the urge of a craving. The delay can be done by counting backwards from 100-1 or reciting the alphabets in a backward order. 

Distract. This involves engaging in redirecting the thoughts from the addictive substance and engaging in some other activity like cleaning, completing a work task or engaging with a friend. 

Drinking water. It acts as a substitute to the object craved and can also be used to ground oneself back to the present.

Deep breathing. Deep belly breathing induces a very calm state that helps one to regain control over themselves and their thoughts. 

De-catastrophise. This involves reflecting on one’s thoughts, identifying the catastrophic thoughts and testing their validity by seeking evidence for the thought to be true. 

3. Substituting substance use patterns 

While  substance use might feel out of control or reflexive at times, usually, there are some external cues and personal patterns that trigger the need to engage with the object of addiction. 

Acknowledging these triggers and patterns is one of the key steps in the journey towards sobriety. As you acknowledge your personal patterns and triggers, begin to substitute them with patterns that prevent addictive behaviour. These may include learning relaxation strategies to cope with emotional difficulties, preventing H.A.L.T (hunger, angry, loneliness and being tired) and building support with others in their recovery path and exchanging support with them. 

4. Developing a healthy lifestyle 

Sobriety is not just about abstaining from a substance. It also involves modifying and building daily habits that promote health and help to prevent relapse. Building a structured routine is one of the most effective ways to prevent relapse. 

The routine can include exercising, maintaining sleep hygiene, eating a healthy diet and socialising with people without alcohol or other substances. 

5. Vulnerability and honesty 

The journey of addiction requires considerable support and motivation from people around you. It also requires adequate checks and balances by your support system to ensure that you don’t slip from your path to recovery. 

While the deviations from sobriety are expected and a part of the journey, being honest and vulnerable with yourself and those around you will help to grow in the journey and work through any downfall that you experience. 

Being honest might be difficult, but it will also help you ensure that you are encouraged to come back from any deviations. 

Achieving sobriety is a journey, and this journey is absolutely personal and unique. We all have to find the right balance and right set of skills and tools that fit our personal needs and lives the most. 

As you move in the journey, the most essential skill is being compassionate and gentle with yourself. You are human, and being human involves making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. We are here with you as you grow, recover and stay sober!

References:

The 5 Ds That Help With Smoking Cessation. (2021, June 7). Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/memorize-the-5-ds-to-beat-smoking-urges-2825310 

5 Ways to Deal With Urges and Cravings – SMART Recovery. (2017, January 31). www.smartrecovery.org. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.smartrecovery.org/5-ways-to-deal-with-urges-and-cravings/ 

Stein, B. (2020, January 10). Recovery Skills and Tools of Recovery - Coping Skills: South Suburban Council. https://sscouncil.org/2020/01/recovery-skills-and-tools-of-recovery-coping-skills/ 

Watson, S. (2020, January 8). Relapse Prevention Plan: Techniques to Help You Stay on Track. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/opioid-withdrawal/relapse-prevention-plan#stages

Read Next

Alcohol Use Disorder - What Is It, and How to Get Better?
Five Ways To Manage Your Expectations in Addiction Recovery
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health during this pandemic, reach out for support to an Amaha therapist, or download the Amaha self-care app.
SelfCare
If you didn't find what you were looking for, please reach out to us at support@amahahealth.com  or +912071171501. We're here for you - for anything you might need.