The Typical “Go-To” Strategies for Maintaining Your Sobriety
Many of the recommendations for maintaining your sobriety are familiar.
- Go to your 12-Step (or other recovery) meetings regularly.
- Develop positive relationships with people who will support your sobriety.
- Avoid people, places, and situations that will tempt you to drink or use drugs.
- Address any co-occurring mental health disorders via therapy, medication, or both.
- Maintain or improve your overall physical health.
We could go on, of course. What we want to do instead is suggest three things that can help you maintain your hard-won sobriety, but which might not immediately spring to mind when you are making a list like the one above.
Maintaining Your Sobriety: Trying Something New
These strategies may or may not be your cup of tea. Even so, they each serve as a good example of an activity or idea that might not seem related to sobriety in any way, but which nonetheless can play an important role in your efforts to avoid drugs or alcohol.
Strike a Pose: The Benefits of Yoga
When you think about yoga, what comes to mind?
The odds are pretty good that you are currently imagining a room full of folks twisted and bent into seemingly impossible positions and poses. And you might be wondering what that can possibly have to do with maintaining your sobriety.
It’s a fair question, and the answer might surprise you.
In addition to helping to tone your muscles and improve your flexibility, yoga can support your neuroplasticity. And neuroplasticity—the amazing quality of our brains that allows for the creation of new neural pathways that support healthier behaviors—is absolutely essential for those in recovery.
After all, the development of a substance use disorder involves habitual behavior that can seem impossible to overcome. But neuroplasticity offers a chance to forge new pathways that support sobriety.
Yoga also strengthens the connection between the mind, the body, and the breath. The practice encourages you to be present in the moment (it has this in common with mindfulness practice), which can lessen the likelihood that you will ruminate about the past or worry about the future. Staying present can be an important part of staying sober.
A New Best Friend: The Benefits of Adopting a Pet
Whether you are a cat person or a dog person (or a rabbit person, a fish person, or even a lizard person) having a pet offers a range of benefits that can support your sobriety.
For example, a loyal companion offers unconditional love and helps keep loneliness and boredom at bay. Taking care of an animal can provide a sense of purpose, while simply sitting with a pet can increase feelings of calm and well-being.
And if your pet is the kind that enjoys a long walk or playing in the park, they can help you get some extra exercise—which also supports your recovery journey.
If you can’t have a pet at home for one reason or another, you might consider volunteering at a local animal shelter, which can provide the same sort of benefits.
And speaking of volunteering…
Give Back Generously: The Benefits of Service
Sometimes the best way to support maintaining your sobriety is to shift your attention away from yourself and toward others. Each act of kindness—no matter how small—provides real benefits, not just for the person you are kind to, but to you as well. Those benefits include a boost to your ongoing efforts to stay sober.
Volunteering can be a great way to ensure you have the opportunity to serve others regularly. Finding a cause or organization you believe in and then dedicating your time to help move things forward in positive ways can be truly rewarding. You can make a real difference in your community while providing yourself with ongoing motivation to stay sober.
The First Step to Staying Sober Is Getting Sober
If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol and are ready to reclaim your life, we can help. At The Aviary Recovery Center, we have the expertise and compassion necessary to see you through detox and rehab and then to provide ongoing support as your recovery journey gets underway. We can address co-occurring mental health disorders that may be contributing to (or be worsened by) your substance use disorder.
Sometimes it is all too easy to forget that the time to make a positive change in your life is always right now. Don’t wait to get sober. When you are ready, we are, too.