If you’re worried about the challenges involved with living a sober life, you may be interested to learn there are a few things you can do to prepare. The more you understand about the process of the recovery journey, the more likely you will succeed.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at why living a sober life isn’t as scary as you think.
Living a Sober Life Isn’t As Scary As It Seems
The thought of change is uncomfortable for most people. When that change involves giving up the crutch of drugs or alcohol, that uncomfortable feeling can escalate into fear, dread, and avoidance. You may fear the physical symptoms of withdrawal. You may be afraid that you will lose your current friends, or not be able to cope with the emotions that surface while sober.
While addiction can end up feeling like there is a lack of choice to be made, sobriety always involves a conscious choice. Taking steps to bring the compulsion to drink under control of your rational mind can provide you with the strength necessary to stop avoiding the problem, and to make the changes necessary to heal your life. The following are some of the rational steps to take toward the beginning, and maintaining, a decision toward being sober.
Here are a few things you can do to make living a sober life easier.
Name Your Fears About Sobriety
One of the most powerful tools we have against fear is to name it. Fear thrives on a lack of confrontation. It lingers in the back of our mind, whispering lies and prompting us to be worried about things that have not actually happened. Once we clearly identify our fears and give them a label, some of that influence is immediately diminished.
One of the major fears when considering a life of sobriety is that we won’t be able to cope with our daily life. Another is that we won’t have anything to look forward to on a daily basis, or that we will lose the drive to be social. We may even fear that not drinking will take away our excuse for not making more progress in life. Whatever you find your fears to be, be bold, and call them out. They are already there, so they might as well get to know them.
Make a Pros and Cons List
Something that is often overlooked by those who want a person to stop drinking is that there are actually benefits that a person is receiving from continuing to drink. These benefits are usually short-term, and often come with severe risks, but they are desirable, nonetheless. If there were only undesirable effects, you wouldn’t keep drinking.
Rather than trying to pretend that those pleasurable aspects don’t exist, give them some space for acknowledgment. Perhaps you enjoy the way that alcohol helps you cope with the stress of your job. Maybe you enjoy the way that it helps you to be more social or more creative. Alcohol could be the tool that you use to forget, temporarily, about the mistakes that you have made in life or the bridges that you have burned.
Now, make another list. This time, list the ways that continuing to abuse alcohol is harming your life. It may be putting your job in jeopardy, or it might be a factor in impending divorce. It may be estranging you from your children or isolating you from important people in your life. There may be physical consequences of drinking which are already surfacing. There may be times where intoxication causes you to do embarrassing things, or to make poor choices.
Creating such a list is another step toward bringing your fears out into the light, and examining them for what they are. After listing your reasons for drinking, and your reasons for not drinking, it will be up to you to assign a weighted value to each factor. If you find that the cons about continuing to drink outweigh the benefits, you know you are ready to take your next steps toward sobriety.
Do Your Research
Fear also thrives on a lack of knowledge. Humans tend to fear the unknown. The best way for managing this fear is to arm ourselves with information. When it comes to sobriety, it helps to know what the process of obtaining it entails. The internet is an excellent tool for obtaining such information.
Your process of getting to the goal of living a sober life will depend on how far into the pit of alcohol you find yourself. If your drinking has progressed to the point of experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when you abstain, you will want to research the detoxification medications and methods that are available. If your alcohol abuse has resulted in loss of income, insurance, or housing, you will want to research your public funding options for treatment. And if you lose heart along the way, do research into recovery stories of others. This can help to boost your resolve and remind you that a life of sobriety is both achievable, and desirable.
Choose Your Treatment Options
Another fear that we tend to have is that we will be robbed of our autonomy once beginning treatment. You know yourself, best, and so are in the best position to determine what will help. Unless your alcohol problem has resulted in being mandated to treatment by the courts, you are in complete control of your treatment. If your first treatment selection doesn’t produce the best results for you, choose another one.
After arming yourself with some emboldening information about what the journey of sobriety entails, you will be ready to make some smart choices about how to go about eliminating your dependency on alcohol.
You may discover that you will be able to recover with minimal input from a weekly support meeting. You may decide that you are better off entering a medical treatment facility or signing up for a stay at a sober living home. Or, you might decide to benefit from entering therapy at your local mental health office.
Develop Your Sober Social Network
Most people are afraid of being alone. Humans are social creatures, and we thrive in environments of loving support and acceptance. A lifestyle change as drastic as becoming sober can mean that our social needs change. We may need to rekindle lost relationships or may need to make a new set of friends.
Being a part of a treatment program can provide a jump start in this direction, as you encounter people with recovery values and engage in therapies to provide you with the tools for forming healthy relationships.
Now that you know a few things you can do to make living a sober life easier to approach, you can start your recovery journey with confidence. It