It’s not easy getting out of an addiction, and what’s even harder is trying to stay clean. I know it. You know it. I was a hard core abuser of alcohol and several other drugs. It all started at the age of 15 when I started to save up on lunch money just so I could get wasted later on with my friends. You can imagine how that turned out to be. It escalated pretty soon. Waiting for some time just so I could get blasted wasn’t enough. I needed the hit now and fast. I started doing some pretty icky shit just so I could get my hands on alcohol. I’m not quite proud of it. Fast forward a bunch of years later and now I’ve been clean and sober for 2 years and counting. I had to learn some relapse prevention skills when feeling stressed out.
Mind you, it hasn’t been an easy path. There are definitely some trying days which put your will power and strength to the ultimate test. Sometimes you just say to yourself ‘I’m gonna go all out today and start being clean from tomorrow’. I know you’ve been there. The problem with that is, tomorrow never seems to come does it? But I’m going to let you in on some things that I remind myself of whenever I have the urge to pick up a bottle. I don’t want to call them ‘tricks’ though.
In my AA group, I learnt something. An analogy being used to define relapse would be to imagine a snowball rolling down a snow laden mountain. It isn’t imminent. It doesn’t happen in a single second. Instead the tiny snowball builds both momentum and size as it rolls down the hill. Similarly, relapse too begins days, weeks or months before you finally decide to give in to temptation. And that’s a good thing, because it gives you plenty of time to do the right things so that dreaded day never comes. Stress and loneliness is always a bad thing when you’re trying to stay sober. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started on your path towards sobriety or if you’ve been sober for a long time now, these tips should help you get that extra edge.
1. Ask yourself for help :
Make a decision and stick with it. Tell yourself that you’re going to attend meetings, get a sponsor, keep helpful individuals on the speed dial and anything else that might aid you in your journey. Someone once said ‘Doing it isn’t really hard. Making the decision to do it, now that’s the hardest part’. And that’s quite true to be honest. Once you make the decision to lead a healthy and sober life, you’re on your way towards achieving it.
2. Ask others for help :
Be sure to get a sponsor. Get the contacts of some of the people from your meetings so you can talk to them on a daily basis. Loneliness is almost always the reason why addicts relapse. Having someone who knows what you’re going through and being able to talk with them will help you immensely. Make sure to keep a track record of their available times so you know who to call when you’re feeling the need to talk with someone in the middle of the night. A couple of night owls should be relatively easy to find.
3. Get busy with hobbies :
Nothing helps to beat an addiction or the need to relapse like a good hobby. Fill your schedule up with interesting things. It doesn’t matter if its art class, pottery class, hitting the gym, basketball, yoga or even a cooking class. As long as it keeps you occupied, you’re not going to be having second thoughts about staying clean. Having a fun, engaging lifestyle will also help to cut down the stresses in your life. Besides, relapse prevention group activities will help you meet new people and that’s always a plus.
Remember that sobriety is a journey and not a goal. Keep at it every single day. Never let yourself get too emotional or even hungry for that matter. Stress can be completely toxic for your sobriety. Find any way to reduce stress. Getting a hobby and keeping yourself engaged as mentioned above should help. I found out the hard way once. And never forget that you’re in control of who you are and who you want to become. The power is in your hands. Once you make the decision, you’ve made the way. Stay happy and stay clean.