8 Tips On Avoiding Temptation After Recovery

Avoiding Temptation to Relapse

The act of getting sober is the first step in a long journey. Staying sober long enough to completely get the drugs out of your system and survive any withdrawal symptoms can be difficult without assistance, but many manage. Yet that’s when the trouble really begins. Day after day, the first few weeks of early recovery are mired in cravings and temptations, reminders and nagging thoughts of release and relapse. For some, avoiding temptation feels like sticking your head into a bucket of water, holding your breath, until you realize that to survive, you’ll have to develop gills rather than pulling out.

Gills take time to develop – or more concretely, avoiding temptation and recovery is about learning how to enjoy life while sober and stop thinking about the temptations and cravings. With time, they do fade – but the beginning can be excruciating for many. Some don’t make it through the first few weeks without a relapse, and it may take several until you finally abstain permanently. The key is not to give up, and to eventually make sobriety the norm, rather than avoiding temptation the uncomfortable exception.

Life while sober is not meant to be boring, monotone, or painful. It’s meant to be everything that life while addicted is not: namely, real and beautiful. Life while sober is life, in its full diversity and absurdity. It’s everything that being alive is meant to be, and if you can appreciate that, then recovery will be much easier. Here are a few ways to work on avoiding temptation in early recovery and keep your mind off a potential relapse.


Find New Hobbies

Having new things to do is more than just about filling time, but it’s about engaging in something that requires concentration, focus, and brain power. Teaching yourself a new skill takes time and effort, and not only will that reduce your ability to think inwards and react to your cravings, but it will help you rebuild any brain power lost through drug abuse.

While the brain is not quite a regenerative organ, it does have the capacity to recover from damage through continuous use – and like a muscle, using it regularly keeps it healthy. The best way to do that is by learning something new, all the time. From reading books to playing puzzle games or engaging in deep discussion and philosophizing, doing something new can help you rediscover the beauty of simple sober living and keep your mind off other things.


Create A Busy Schedule

Another way of avoiding temptation is to give yourself less time to think about it. Create a strict schedule, and stick to it.

Build a morning routine, structure your day around work, allocate hours of the day to specific chores, tasks, and hobbies, and build a day that leaves you feeling accomplished and tired each time you hit the hay.


Get Your Endorphin Release

Even if you’re not a particularly sporty person, doing something active on a regular basis can greatly improve your outlook on life, improve your health, and make you happier in general.

You don’t need to hit the gym if you’re intimidated or bored by conventional exercising. Find a dance studio, or go for walks in the park, or go swimming. There are many ways to get physical, and many don’t have to involve sports or traditional workouts.


Know Your Triggers

Another tip for avoiding temptation is avoiding your triggers. Sometimes, the cravings come and go – but they are often triggered by a familiar stimulus, such as a sight, sound, or smell. It could be a stroll through an old neighborhood, a specific song, or a painting.

Anything bringing back the nostalgia of years gone by and your days as an addict can be counterproductive to your early recovery and should be avoided. With time, you can readjust and reintroduce these memories without much risk – but it’s best not to tempt fate early in the healing process and just work on avoiding temptation at that time.


Make New Friends

Aside from finding new things to do, it’s also a great idea to meet new people. Not only might you be surprised at how a few strangers could enrich your life with stories and perspectives you might never have expected, but new friends can stave off the loneliness or introversion that often follows sobriety, especially if your old circle of friends hasn’t completely accepted your decision of avoiding temptation.


Pursue New Experiences

Whether it’s a trip into a different part of the country, a food you’ve never tried before, or an experience you’ve never experienced, make a promise to yourself to be more open this time around and make an effort to taste every bit life has to offer, regardless of what it might be offering.


Have A Support Group

No matter how much time has passed since you left the addiction treatment clinic, the support should never end. Think about your friends and family, and how they have stood by you throughout your recovery. Cherish this support group and nourish your relationships with each person who means something to you. Our connections to others make life better, and more valuable.


Avoiding Temptation & Staying In Therapy

Therapy is more than just your gateway into sober living. Therapy is meant to be a continuous, lifelong process – although it does not always have to be in front of a therapist. It doesn’t hurt to check in with your therapist every now and again and talk about the progress you’ve made, but in the meantime, be sure to approach other forms of therapy, and find what helps you work through your stress and your personal issues with addiction the most.

Some people prefer group therapy, as it presents an opportunity not only to talk about issues with others who have had similar experiences, but it provides you with a place to make new friends and help newcomers to the sober life.

Others prefer creative therapy, like music therapy or art therapy. It’s best to continue staying in whatever form of therapy your treatment entailed for at least a year or so, and then branch out into finding other ways to live life and reflect.

Temptations will never fully go away, but your attitude towards them will change. Avoiding temptation does not have to be dangerous, if your conviction is strong enough, and your motivation to resist is unbreakable. One aspect about sober living is in the idea that you should spend as much time and energy as possible learning new things and building relationships, skills, and experiences. This is because the more you have, the more likely you want to protect it – and that gives you a greater drive to resist any cravings and temptations and continue to reap the rewards of well-lived sober life.

Just being sober itself won’t be enough to change your life, but it will give you the chance to change it. You must take that chance and, with the guidance of others around you, never let go.


The Community Factor in Sober Living

Community In Sober Living | Transcend recovery Community

The community factor might seem unrelated to addiction recovery, but studies have shown that the people you surround yourself with have a big impact on your mental health, and even your chances of relapse. More than a potential risk, there is also a case to make that the right community is preventative when it comes to dangers like relapsing or struggling with depression due to addiction.

Few treatment modalities make use of a healthy community of recovery purposes. Sober living homes are one such modality, being centered on the concept of living within a clean and harmonic sober community. Understanding why this works, and how it works, can give you further insight into addiction as a disease and as a lifelong challenge.


What’s In A Community?

A community is more than a collection of individuals. It’s a network of people. Much like how a whole is more than the sum of its parts, when people come together and form bonds, they are capable of awakening great things in each other.

Of course, communities can also cause harm, and they can be dangerous. Group mentality is a powerful thing, and it can help you grow as an individual, or twist your values and bring you to do regrettable things. Often, the people you surrounded yourself with played a role in your addiction, introducing or pushing you to using.

In a similar way, immersing yourself in a completely different kind of community can change your outlook on life, on yourself, and your future. It can turn the boat around, help you switch lanes, and overcome previously impossible tasks – including defeating your addiction. There is a reason teams function well together.

A community that lives together is an altogether different and even more influential thing. Spending day in and day out around the same people can have a tremendous effect on you, for better or for worse.


Why Your Surroundings Matter

Fundamentally, humans are social creatures. Much of our self-worth is based on many of our earliest memories and experiences with others, and of our perception and personality towards others. To put it in an abstract sense, we’re inherently shapeless and given form through the mirrors of other people.

In a more concrete sense, it means that we rely on each other to form bonds, share values, resolve conflicts, and co-exist. Without other people, we can’t function properly, and become lonely.

This matters in the context of addiction because how others imprint on us – especially in our formative years as young adults – can leave a lasting impact. One reason why addiction most commonly starts in the teens is because teens are most susceptible to peer pressure, risk-taking, and ill-informed decision-making. Peer pressure works on teens the most because they are the most eager to fit in and belong.


How Sober Living Improves Recovery

It goes beyond people and communities. Your surroundings matter – the conflicts, circumstances, and events around you can shape your mood and behavior. People born into health issues and poverty need strong coping mechanisms to stay sane, and addiction is a very powerful and harmful coping mechanism.

In the same way, your surroundings must play a role in your recovery. Rehab centers and sober living communities are built to be places of peace, reflection, and growth. They focus easing you into a way of thinking that allows you to overcome your addiction and keep away from the things that might cause it to resurface. They strive to promote positivity among patients and tenants, and help people create beneficial and long-lasting bonds with one another. These places are not meant to keep you in isolation, because isolation is not conducive to recovery.

But it only works if you let it. While we’re very adaptable, we do ultimately choose to let things get to us. Your surroundings will have a profound effect on you, but the effect depends on the person and their perspective. For addiction treatments to work, patients need to be fully cooperative and they must strive to stay sober. In the same way, once treatment is over, much of recovery is spent learning to look past the things that once drove your addiction, and instead learning to focus on reasons to stay sober and away from drugs.

The scenery you surround yourself with. The lifestyle you live. The people you interact with. All these things affect your sobriety and play a role in recovery. But you can’t forget that, once the dust settles and you’re on your own, your greatest power is the ability to choose and rely on your own choices.


It’s Still Your Road

Community is a factor in recovery as much as it is a factor in addiction itself. But you’re still your own person, and you still have the power to choose what to do with your life – and how to let things affect you.

One of the issues often outlined by critics of other community-focused treatment plans like AA is that they remove the aspect of responsibility and the power of choice from your arsenal as a person in recovery. Addiction treatment is not meant to make you feel small, but to empower you to take a new hold of your life and adamantly refuse to return to the old one.

Surrounding yourself with empowering, inspiring, and nurturing individuals can help keep you sane and sober during the bad days, and the tough days. But you’re ultimately the captain of your own ship, and recovery is a journey where you have to make each and every choice and own up to it. Sometimes, this can feel debilitating and difficult. At other days, it shines a light on your newfound strength as a sober person, unchained from addiction, and capable of defying old cravings and painful memories.

Until you find a way to be proud of how far you’ve come, and legitimately believe in your ability to progress further and put this chapter of your life to rest, you’re going to find yourself struggling with recovery and addiction. A good community is not meant to make you feel indebted or out-of-control, but rather, it should open your eyes to the things you have accomplished, and the good you have done.

What Makes Sobriety Great?

What Makes Sobriety Great? | Transcend Recovery Community

Perspective is important in life. Perspective gives us a better reason to appreciate the things we have and let go of the things we don’t have. If anything gives us perspective, then it is hardship. And one of the greatest hardships is fighting against your own will to achieve a healthier, normal life. Addiction is a terrible disease, but it can give you some much needed perspective that you won’t find anywhere else – especially on matters of sobriety.

Many people take their sobriety for granted. But if you’ve ever been addicted, then you know how bad it can get – the blackouts, the pain, the lack of memory, the financial and emotional loss, the relationships you break along the way, the people you hurt without meaning to. For a while, you might pretend to believe that it’s something you’re only doing to yourself, but when someone gets addicted, a whole group of individuals are heavily affected.

But an important part of staying clean is realizing that it’s about so much more than preventing bad things from happening. This isn’t a punishment, and you don’t have to impose a penance on yourself. If you approach sobriety with this sort of attitude, then you will not get very far. Guilt and shame will only bring the addiction back harder than ever – and that will only make those feelings even worse.

The first step to realizing what lies beyond sobriety, is forgiveness. You’ll have to turn the other cheek to your own wrongdoings and apologize to everyone you’ve hurt – including yourself. When you’re confident that you’re ready to start being okay with who you are in your own skin, you’ll begin to realize that sobriety is a second chance at really living life – and living it in a way you can enjoy it.


Sobriety Means More Than Abstinence

Buzzkills. Boring. Lame. There are a dozen terms used to describe people who live life on the straight edge – and they’re all wrong. Not using drugs or drinking does not make life uninteresting, and if you need to supplement your life with drugs to experience anything exciting or out of the ordinary, then exactly what does that say about how you’re living your life?

Life itself is dangerous. It’s exciting. It’s risky. Every second we spend on this planet; an immeasurable number of things is going on. People are born and pass away, and change is constant. It never sleeps. Once you open your eyes to the possibilities right in front of you and realize that life is as exciting as you make it, you’ll never need another drop to feel entertained or excited.

Of course, getting there takes a while to get used to. Sobriety in and of itself is something to get used to right after addiction, but there’s so much more out there to see, experience, and remember.


Seeing Life In A Whole New Way

The first thing you’ll notice when going sober is that your head is a lot clearer. Alcohol and drugs affect your brain, and not just through addiction. Excessive drug use can and will lead to brain damage, effectively reducing your cognitive abilities – slowing down your thinking, your problem solving, and your ability to make decisions and observations, not to mention your memory.

In time, all that can come back to you – it’ll take longer for some than for others based on how bad the damage is, how healthy you are, and what your lifestyle is like, but skipping out on booze and drugs is a great start. With that newfound clarity comes the ability to think and be yourself again – and stay consistent in your decision-making, not orienting yourself after the next high, but towards any other motivations and priorities that you might have, such as your passions, your family, and your goals.


Skipping The Hangover

Another thing that makes sobriety great is the distinct lack of hangovers. No more waking up at completely nonsensical hours in the day, feeling like roadkill, with an insane headache and no recollection of the last six hours you spent conscious.

Every time you black out, you take a chance of not waking up again. By staying sober, you can give your body and your brain time to actively heal, and not feel the abuse of your drug use.


Making New Relationships

Relationships are practically impossible while addicted. Addiction is inherently self-serving, and if you’re struggling with it, you can’t give anyone else the time and attention they need to feel loved and cared for.

Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of giving – both partners give each other fully, dedicating time and putting effort into making the relationship work. Healthy relationships focus on common interests and iron out differences, settling disputes through compromise.

It’s not easy to make a relationship work while sober and in full possession of your faculties. It’s impossible while addicted.


Living In A Healthier, Happier Body

Drug use eats away at you, literally. Addiction will diminish your health, either through malnutrition or through the physical effects of the drugs you’re taking. We all know that alcohol causes liver damage, and that excessive smoking leads to lung cancer – but there’s more. Stimulants like cocaine cause a heavy strain on the heart, while opiates can lead to brain damage and even paralysis through accidental overdose. Alcohol also kills brain cells and is a general carcinogen.

A healthy lifestyle is integral to a solid recovery. You can’t just give up drugs, you’ll have to completely rethink the way you eat and move. At first, the transition will be jarring. But as your taste buds adjust and your digestive tract heals, you’ll come to fall in love with healthy eating. Old junk foods will begin to taste too sweet and too salty, and you’ll catch the nuances in foods you might have hated in the past or found too bland.

You might even find some love for exercise, depending on how you go about it. You don’t have to run your behind off on a treadmill if you prefer boxing, or dancing. And there are more ways than one to go about eating a healthy diet. After a rocky start, taking care of yourself a little will turn into countless benefits – you’ll feel younger, look better, sleep better, breathe better, and even think happier thoughts.


No More Lies

But perhaps the greatest part about sobriety is that you can vow to put the lies behind you – and turn over a new leaf of total honesty. Lying becomes a necessity early on in addiction, especially as you begin to lie to yourself about where you’re going with your habits and tendencies.

But the second you decide to do something about it, you set yourself on a path towards clearing up those lies, coming clean, and working hard to re-establish a bond of trust with those you care about the most – and with yourself. And that feeling is priceless.

The Consequences Of Skipping Sober Living After Recovery

Sober Living After Recovery | Transcend Recovery Community

Sober living treatment differs from other treatment methods in that it tries to mimic the challenges and responsibilities of normal living, without the temptation of drug use. Sober living environments are heavily tested and probed for drugs, while making it mandatory to work/study, join a form of therapy, obey curfews, and pay rent. While it is not strictly a treatment method, it has been growing in popularity, and the merits of sober living after recovery grow as research continues.


Why Sober Living After Recovery Matters

Sober living facilities are often ideal as post-rehab treatment, to help patients better transition into life after recovery. Yet they are more than just an optional extra form of treatment for individuals who struggle to stay sober. Recovery in rehab, while difficult, is not comparable to the challenges in real life including the memories of old habits, the stressors of finding work and coping with a drug-free life, and the constant temptation of knowing where and how to find drugs for a relapse.

Going back into real life can be wondrous for some, and nightmarish for many. To make the transition less painful, sober living after recovery can help train you to live life normally, despite the cravings and urges.


The Importance Of Support And Community In Recovery

The reason sober living after recovery does not simply focus on treating people one-on-one is because the aspect of community is central to sober living and recovery in general. Addiction recovery is an individual journey, but we all need to rely on each other to make it through life’s biggest challenges and hardships. To suffer alone is to subject yourself to your own negative thoughts, without the interjection of a fresh and healthy perspective. By supporting one another when the going gets tough, we make life – and in turn, recovery – easier.

It can be difficult to adjust to this, especially early in recovery. But the merits of group therapy are undeniable, and when amplified by living together in a sober living after recovery, you can develop the communication skills and the bonds necessary to survive life’s wildest curveballs without relapsing out of despair or out of a need for comfort.


Learning How To Manage Sobriety Through Sober Living

Sober living communities teach you to live life without drugs. They make you prioritize having a stable schedule and things to do. From work to hobbies to group therapy, sober living after recovery can teach you that fighting to stay clean is worth it because:

  • You forge real meaningful connections with people.
  • You fulfill a purpose and provide for others and become an accountable individual.
  • You work as part of a community, helping others and accepting their help.
  • You can pursue your personal dreams and aspirations.
  • You have the time and money to live life and see the world through a much clearer lens.

People struggling with addiction cannot reach out to others and help them. Addiction forces the brain to turn inward, satisfying only that inner need for the next high. Addiction means your decision-making becomes deeply flawed. Sober living communities can help people remember and understand what it means to be there for others, to derive pleasure from being an important and respected person.

When your stay at a sober living after recovery ends, and you decide to go back to reality, little will have changed. Sure, the world is open to you, and you are free to go back to your old habits. But you are also free to live life in sobriety and continue to manage that sobriety by living a much more meaningful life.


Looking At The Long-Term

Addiction recovery is, in a way, a training program. Recovery facilities specialize in many different therapies, treatment types and methods to help you understand your thought processes, regulate your emotions and impulses, and control any urges and cravings. Some thoughts will stick with you much longer than others, but the key to proper recovery is not completely silencing all memory and thought of addiction, but rather, learning to live with it, ignore it, and cherish your sobriety far more than any possible escape back into old habits.

As such, it is important to see the long-term roadmap. Yes, in a way, relapse is always there. The dangers of using again are always there. You are one step away from tragedy, at every second of the day.

But you must make that step. You must make the conscious decision to use again, especially after recovery when you are equipped with the tools and the reasoning to stop yourself. While it is a valid fear, life is full of such risks. Every day, we make the decision to continue living, doing the things we do, even if we do not enjoy them, to provide for ourselves and our loved ones, to experience moments of bliss and make everlasting memories of happiness.

That is why sober living after recovery is such an important treatment option. It is the bridge between overcoming the challenges of withdrawal and early recovery in rehab, and learning to cope with all of life’s problems, struggles and temptations without falling back into a worsening spiral of addiction and depression. Sober living after recovery teaches you that life is routine, discipline, work – and self-fulfillment. Life has stress and struggles, but it is also filled with fun and wonder, adventure, and mystery. Your way of thinking and your mindset dictates how you will perceive life going forward and be adopting a positive outlook and sticking together with others in need of support, you can forge your way ahead through even the toughest challenges and come out the other end, still sober and feeling accomplished.

You have the power and the control to maintain your sobriety indefinitely, and never use again. That power is in you. There are days when it weakens, and those days are why we keep company. Friends, family and loved ones to help support you and keep you on the right path when the temptation is at its strongest.

You do not have to relapse, even if you always can. And addiction treatment – specifically treatment programs that specialize in coping and managing urges and stress – will train you to catch yourself in certain thoughts and turn them around before it is too late.

How Can Mentorship Help After Sober Living?

Sober Mentorship | Transcend Recovery Community

The point of mentorship is to define a path for someone, and to give them a light to shine through the darkness. They exist to cut through the fog, bring clarity to uncertainty, and provide the kind of guidance that lets a person grow without robbing them of the pain and challenge needed for growth.

In addiction treatment, sober mentoring provides that same function, in a professional setting. For millennia, humans have existed and co-existed, passing knowledge on through tutelage, training, and mentorship. Overcoming addiction is as much a matter of willpower as it is a matter of knowledge – and who better to train someone to overcome their own addiction than someone who has done it before.

But to understand the good a sober mentor can do for someone in the early and middle stages of recovery, it’s important to understand what sober living is, and why it plays a role in a crucial part of the recovery timeline.


Explaining Sober Living

Sober living is a treatment philosophy that emphasizes recreating an honest and realistic setting for tenants to live out the every day responsibilities of life without the temptation of drugs. Tenants are asked to pay rent, have a steady job/go to school, and engage in community activities and events, while having individual and group therapy and regular drug testing. Drugs and other illicit substances are strictly forbidden in sober living facilities, and tenants can stay if they like.

The point of a sober living community is to replicate the challenges and difficulties of real life, letting tenants explore the stressors and confront their responsibilities without the temptation of falling back into old habits. For many, this is invaluable – it teaches them self-sustainability and gives them the tools they need to fight their cravings and focus on the task at hand.

Sober living facilities are traditionally a perfect fit for people looking for an intensive treatment program after their initial treatment from addiction. Many have trouble transitioning back into the real world after residential treatment. Adjusting to the world after rehab can be difficult, and sober living is meant to ease people into that world without the risk of relapse.

It’s not perfect, of course. A sober living community is still an addiction treatment center, and the outside world brings with it many old memories and more powerful triggers for cravings and the like. The solution is to continue your treatment, but in a way that remains minimally invasive and allows you to face the struggles of sobriety in the real world head-on – by having a sober mentor.


Professional Mentorship vs. Sponsorship

Support in recovery can come in many forms, and one of the more classic forms is the sponsor from a group meeting. Twelve-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous have been around for decades, espousing the importance of keeping away loneliness by facing addiction in pairs and groups.

Yet there is a marked difference between having an assigned sponsor and a sober mentor. Sober mentors are professional therapists with a background in addiction and sobriety, a passion for treatment, and a long repertoire of treatment methods. They act as your mentors to living life in sobriety, equipped with a greater understanding of addiction than most people, and an emphasis on how every individual can experience recovery in their own way.


The Mentor-Mentee Relationship

The mentor-mentee relationship is a professional one, but that does not mean that it cannot result in friendship. It’s critical to be in therapy with someone you like and can trust – and this is even more crucial when picking a sober mentor. Sober mentors are not just people you call when you have a problem, or therapists you check in on once a week to get some peace of mind. Their job is to help you on every step of the way throughout early and middle recovery, giving you advice, watching your progress, and telling you off when you’re about to do something regrettable.

Life can become drastically difficult out of nowhere. No one in the world has perfect control, and anything could happen to plunge us into misery and make our old habits look extremely attractive. Fighting against temptation when motivation is extremely sparse is just one of the many things sober mentors tackle with fervor. At the end of the day, they’re not just a potential friend. A sober mentor is a coach, someone with the energy and the insight you need to look yourself in the mirror and understand where you want to go, even when life is at its dimmest and grimmest.


Becoming A Mentor

Research shows that giving is better than receiving, not only from moral viewpoint, but from a psychological one. Giving to others can have a profound impact on you, especially when what you give is a meaningful service. This is an important lesson for people in recovery, because it helps support the idea that if you’ve gone through addiction and survived recovery, then the personal insight you have, as well as the general knowledge you have accumulated, can be invaluable for people struggling with addiction and looking for help in early recovery.

Treatment is hard for everyone, and everyone struggles in their own way – but one person’s struggles can be inspiring, insightful, or helpful to another person, if only to provide a fresh perspective and to motivate.

The first step to becoming a sober mentor for others is to be confident and happy with your own sobriety. The second step is to develop a passion for helping others in the community achieve their sobriety and maintain it. And finally, there are programs and certifications for achieving professional mentorship status that help you further your knowledge on treatment applications, family dynamics, crisis prevention and intervention, motivational techniques, psychology, and addiction science.


Recovery Is An Ongoing Process

Sober mentorship proves that the recovery process is an ongoing one. Even after treatment, there are many obstacles that make staying sober incredibly difficult, from triggers to unexpected circumstances and unforeseen challenges. Life is full of curveballs, and regardless of whether you catch them or dodge them, dealing with them straight out of treatment can be difficult.

Sober mentors and other professionals work to help guide you through the first few months and years after treatment, setting you and your friends and family on a path to keep the addiction in check forever.


You Have A Responsibility To Yourself To Stay Sober

Responsibility To Stay Sober | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction is a long fight – for many, it takes years of trying to stay sober to find the point in life where you feel like you can put it all behind you. Staying motivated throughout that fight can sometimes feel like an impossible task. However, thousands of Americans do it every year, tackling their addiction, and living day after day as a sober person.

While there is nothing wrong with sourcing your motivation externally, there comes a point in life when you must be the source of your own motivation – because if you do not truly want to stay sober, then no amount of support will help carry you through the time it takes to grow beyond an addiction.

Motivation is a central part of addiction. It helps to understand that the disease itself attacks your brain’s reward center, corrupting your sense of what is motivating – in a way, at its peak, nothing is more rewarding and motivating than the high, and getting past that to stay sober takes incredible willpower and lots of help.

That is why addiction treatment centers work hard to keep you sober and remove any temptation for the duration of the program. That does not make staying sober much easier – especially with a painful withdrawal – but it makes is much more doable.

Beyond the initial recovery and treatment, staying sober is something you must work at – and with the right tools, you have a solid fighting chance. But learning how to stay motivated after addiction means relearning what it means to be motivated.


What Drives You To Stay Sober?

Is there anything you are passionate about? Addiction is as much a physical disease of the brain as it is an emotional battle – severing the tie between yourself and the emotions you feel when you are high can take a long time, and a powerful substitute. While no one should go exchanging one addiction for another, it is a good idea to find an alternate coping mechanism – something you can focus on when times get tough, to relieve stress without resorting to addiction.

Because of its sheer variability and efficacy as a tool for self-improvement and better focus, exercise can be a powerful passion. The hard part is figuring out what form of exercise suits you best. Running, cycling, swimming, climbing, lifting, fighting – the only way to find out is to try.

Of course, physical activity is not the only thing you can be passionate about after addiction. Just like getting active, exploring your own creativity, and expressing yourself on paper, on canvas or on a recorder can go a long way towards making you feel better, reducing stress, and improving at something.

There are greater nuances to feeling motivated. Some people enjoy exercise, but only with the additional motivator of competition. Being passionate about being the best is a great way to hone your focus and develop a drive entirely separate from your addiction. Others prefer to collaborate, seeking to work with others on creative endeavors, in order to make something truly unique for everyone to be proud of.

If you want to stay motivated, then sobriety alone cannot be your sole motivator. You need something else – a passion that pulls you towards it, something that you cannot risk giving up for addiction, no matter how strong the temptation becomes. It needs to be something you can turn towards when times are tough, but also something you enjoy on a regular basis even when your day is going perfectly.

Once you have found your passion, you are one big step closer to stay sober and build a life that is not easily given up.


The Importance Of Support

The people who support you throughout your addiction treatment are more than just your support – they are people, with lives and dreams and goals and wishes. Often, they may be close friend and family, or they could the people you have bonded with while getting sober.

Seeing them as friends to care about can create an interdependent relationship where one supports the other – focus on giving, and you may find that you will receive more in the long run. Doing good for others also naturally elicits a positive response in us – we want to do good things for others, and feel good about doing good things, even if we do not receive anything in return.

Building strong bonds with the people who care for you, and for whom you care, can create a greater sense of responsibility towards not just yourself, but others. This accountability to stay sober for their sake will build upon you and give you another sense of purpose beyond your interests, passions, and dreams.

Your responsibility to yourself deepens – to stay true to the person you are becoming, and the tomorrow you envisage for yourself, you must keep on resisting any urge to go back to the addiction.


Staying Motivated During Sobriety

Beyond passion and support, another important aspect of staying sober is finding a way to support yourself financially, without taking on too much stress to bear. If you are in a line of work that is financially stable, but find yourself stressed beyond belief, then leave. Find support, ask for help, and do your best to get into a line of work you truly care about – it can save your life.

There is more to finding a job than really wanting it, and there is more to finding the right job than simply wanting to work in that industry. However, an important goal for anyone on the road to sobriety is living a healthy life. That includes finding work to sustain yourself and help support your family as you stay sober, while enjoying the work you do.


This Is Your Fight

Every step in the right direction can be incredibly fulfilling – but you have to make each step yourself. While others can help support you, you must progress on your own and reach the conclusions you need to reach to find an emotionally stable place away from addiction, in a sober life built around your responsibilities to yourself, your passions, your dreams, your hopes, and the people you care about.

This is your fight – and waking up day after day, it’s your decision to stay sober and live in defiance of your past and the mistakes you once made.


The Importance Of A Sober Living Community After Recovery

Sober Living After Recovery | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction treatment comes in many shapes and sizes. Different forms of treatment address different issues and are most effective to individuals given certain circumstances and limitations. Finding the best treatment to address the issues most prevalent in your own addiction is an important part of getting better – that is why simple twelve step programs or cut-and-dry treatments do not work for everybody. It takes a facility trained on personalized care to develop a unique treatment plan after recovery for a patient.

In the case of sober living, personalized care plays a big role in success. A sober living community combines individualized care with community and long-term support, encouraging patients to join meetings and group activities while providing an environment that allows individuals to explore how they would react to the responsibilities of sober living after recovery.


What Is A Sober Living Community?

In greater detail, a sober living community is a drug-and-alcohol free living environment designed for people who struggle with making a transition from early recovery and addiction treatment, to a sober life. While sober living communities differ in their exact tenets from community to community, they generally exist as private facilities designed to be both a living space and a treatment center to people fighting substance abuse.

Sober living communities take in individuals of all creeds and colors, ages, and genders, and give them a space to coexist, alongside a structure that improves their ability to cope with responsibilities while continuing their addiction treatment and re-integrating into a drug free lifestyle after recovery.

The rulebook differs, but there are a few rules that are generally universal among sober living communities. These often include:

  • A strict curfew.
  • Limitations on visitors.
  • Random drug tests.
  • Every member must contribute to the community.
  • Each tenant pays rent.
  • Every member must work/be in school or look for work/education.
  • Tenants are encouraged to engage in activities.

There are specific rules for different sober living facilities. Some have an extensive list of forbidden food items that are known for certain addictive properties. Others forbid certain brands of mouthwash or other items known to contain alcohol. Some sober living communities have a system for distributing mandatory chores, while others simply require that tenants look after their own space.


How A Sober Living Community Affects People

A sober living community is not meant to be punishing, or painful in any way. Instead, it is meant to be a wholesome community experience. Tenants enter of their own volition, specifically seeking a structured life that allows them to work on developing certain habits to more easily transition into sober life after recovery from addiction.

Recovery, in this sense, includes getting clean, going through withdrawal, and surviving the emotional turmoil of early sobriety. While these are arguably the hardest times in addiction treatment, getting clean and sober does not mean staying sober becomes easy. It takes time for a person to mature out of addiction, as the research shows – and there is no definite period that guarantees when that might happen.

Sober living communities give patients an environment that continues to discourage substance abuse and provide a setting without temptation, but they are more intensive in their emphasis on personal responsibility and accountability. They reteach people how to live and look after themselves, granting them the skills they need to be self-sufficient as functioning sober adults in the real world, ready for the challenges of everyday living after recovery.


Building Long-Term Relationships

Beyond helping tenants build a certain skillset, sober living communities have an emphasis on, as the name implies, community. Community plays an important role both in sober living and in leading a normal life outside addiction treatment as the people we surround ourselves with in our daily lives.

Our community should not be strangers – by getting familiar with the people around us, we can be more comfortable within our homes and neighborhoods and build long-lasting relationships with others that extend past mere hospitality and formality, but into friendship.

This helps someone struggling with addiction on multiple levels. For one, it helps give them an outlet to talk about their feelings and listen to those of others. This mutual support can help you feel better about yourself and lessen the burden of certain emotional struggles. It also helps someone fresh out of addiction relearn how to trust people and develop a sense of trust not only in others, but in themselves after recovery.

Trusting oneself, and eventually developing a feeling of self-acceptance is important for addiction treatment. It’s integral to moving past addiction on an emotional level, as you cannot effectively stop feeling tempted by a relapse if you cannot forgive yourself for past mistakes and feel confident that you have learned from them.

By engaging with others in a sober living community, you can learn to help people, learn more about addiction in general and the many perspectives that exist on the topic, and learn more about yourself and your own fight through reflection.


Preparing For Sober Life After Recovery

Sober living communities combine responsibility with treatment to create an environment where tenants are encouraged to develop skills needed in sober life, including managing finances, keeping a regular schedule, managing work and hobbies, and making time for social activities. They help people empower themselves through their actions and embrace new responsibilities.

While a sober living community typically has a very clear-cut schedule, it obviously is not necessary to follow that schedule into your sober life. However, developing a schedule can help especially in early recovery as it limits a person’s boredom and free time, instead allowing them to allot every hour of the day to work, hobbies, and responsibilities. When a relapse draws near, some people find comfort in reverting to old schedules, as a way to fight the urge after recovery.


Changing For A Sober Life

Sober living communities and addiction treatment in general can help prepare you for a fundamental change. There is no going back to how things were before the addiction – but you do have the opportunity to create a new you, and develop a life completely separate from addiction after recovery.

Addiction will take a lot from you – but sober living communities, treatment, and a long-term sober life can help reorient your life after recovery.

What Makes Staying Sober After Recovery So Difficult?

Staying Sober \ Transcend Recovery Community

Many people who have gone through the years and therapy needed to overcome an addiction will tell you that it can be horrendously difficult to admit your addiction, and then take the necessary steps to seek help, find support, forgive yourself and beat withdrawal. Many more will also tell you that, as hard as all that is, it’s just the beginning – and the biggest challenge will ultimately be staying sober long after the treatments are over.

In many people’s eyes, recovery is the period after addiction when someone decides to seek treatment, and undergoes at least an entire program getting their life together and going “back to normal”. But the thing is that this is a misconception. There is no such thing as normal, and there will never be a template life to go back to. When you go through an addiction, you can overcome it and change your life for the better by staying sober – but you won’t go back to living how you did in the past.

When treatment ends, life will be very different from how it used to be before the addiction. And no matter how much time passes, you still have to live with the memories of the feeling of addiction, and the things you did.

Coming to terms with that while staying sober and finding a way to live with and live past the temptation is the real key to beating an addiction in the long-term – and understanding why is important to explaining why staying sober is so difficult to maintain, even after treatment.


Staying Sober: Defining Sober

Sobriety is not abstinence – rather, it is having a clear state of mind. That means not just skipping out on your drugs of choice, but it also means skipping out on alcohol and every other drug, and for many people, it means skipping out on any medication that affects your mind unless medically necessary. To be sober, you have to not be using.

Maintaining your sobriety can be torture at first, which is why treatments and programs exist to make the journey a little easier, and help work you through the challenges as they arise.

But people make the mistake of thinking that once the treatment is over, the temptation and the cravings magically disappear. They don’t. Instead, you’re meant to use the time and resources given to you during treatment and recovery to amass a set of tools to work with in times of stress and need, to fend off temptation, fight off cravings, and work on staying sober.


The Temptation Of Addiction

The reason addiction has such a radical and long-term hold over the human mind has to do with both a set of psychological reasons, and a set of physiological reasons. These reasons are intertwined.

On the psychological side, an important part of recovery is seeing it not as a treatment for addiction to be excised out of your life, but more as a training for how to deal with addiction, and beat it into obscurity within your life. This takes several steps, the most noteworthy of which is self-love.

This has nothing to do with spirituality, self-motivation, or surrounding yourself with people who love and adore you. It’s not about amassing massive wealth, success, and fame. It’s not about becoming the perfect human.

It has to do with staring into yourself in front of a mirror, and making conscious decisions to turn into someone who is true to themselves, and likes it. Sometimes, you may have to make changes. Other times, you may have to learn to live with, and even love certain aspects of yourself.

Only then, when you’re independently okay with who you are as a person and don’t need to seek validation from others or from outside objects and titles, will you be able to completely embrace sobriety without a shade of doubt. This is because addiction feeds on doubt. It feeds on insecurity and fear. It feeds on worry and stress. If you can’t be happy with yourself, then you won’t be able to live a happier sober life – and the temptations will stay.

The physical reason why addiction is so difficult to overcome is that it warps the pleasure center of the brain, completely changing the way we perceive joy and euphoria. Things that used to bring people happiness – like their hobbies – fall out of favor, while the need for the drug takes over.

Rewriting that takes time, because the stimuli of drug use cannot be beaten. Overstimulation of the brain’s pleasure center is essentially why it gets warped, and recovering from the effects of drug use and staying sober can take years.


Losing The Routine

Every drug recovery treatment plan has a routine. Routines are helpful when fighting an emotional or mental battle – they help make life simple, give us something to do, and take away time that might otherwise be spent thinking about or doing something harmful.

The structure that a routine can provide also gives people a daily pattern to adhere to, and return to when things go wrong. A big part of struggling with sobriety outside of the confines of a treatment center or sober living environment is the fact that the routine often eventually falls away, and with it, the sobriety can suffer.

You don’t have to have the same routine all the time, but be sure to bring structure to your life. When the stress begins to knock down your routine, don’t let it all fall into disarray. Adapt, accommodate, and stay strong.


Why People Struggle With Relapses

Relapses occur astonishingly often, at least in the eyes of some. Others might recognize that a relapse is nothing to fear, and may even be considered part of the early recovery process for most people.

Having a relapse can be damaging to your overall progress, especially as it resets your sobriety counter – but that does not make it the end of your chance at staying sober, or worse, spell out your doom. A relapse is not a failure. It is just another experience with addiction, and an opportunity to learn and do better.

Through relapses, you can mark periods and triggers in your life that bring you closer to addiction and the cravings, and find ways to be more vigilant of these factors and avoid them or work around them. No matter how large your setbacks are, the most important thing is to keep moving forward and continue on the path to lasting sobriety.


Kicking Off the New Year Sober

Starting Sober In The New Year | Transcend Recovery Comunity

It’s a new year, and for many people, that thought brings a lot of hope to the table. With the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, the perfect time has come to close the chapter on the past and start fresh with a positive outlook. Even if you are not big on New Year’s resolutions, there’s a reason to be excited for 2018. If you have been struggling with sobriety or have only recently decided to act against your addiction, then this month is the perfect time to get ready to combat your addiction and make it through the next year entirely sober.

Sobriety is challenging not just because you’re abstaining from drugs, but because to be sober, a person usually must change. There’s this false idea that changing on any fundamental level is impossible, but that’s not true.

We can all learn to change our habits, pick up new hobbies, dispel old connotations, or even grow as people long after we’ve become adults. In fact, if people weren’t capable of change, we wouldn’t have to worry about addiction.

2018 is the perfect time for you to take up the task of changing your life for the better.


Why the New Year?

We’re in the month of January, so if you’re currently struggling with sobriety or just recently decided to get serious about treatment, then starting on the New Year is more a matter of circumstance than deliberate timing. The sooner you get started on recovery, the sooner you’ll get through the bumps of early recovery and the struggles of being sober right after months or years of addiction and destructive behavior.

Otherwise, if you’ve simply been looking for the right opportunity to make a change in your life, then there is no better time than now. The New Year’s spirit is simple: the old year is dead, long live the new year. In a day and age where reinventing yourself has become an industry, January is the perfect month for motivation and enthusiasm. Everybody wants to change something in the new year, and although many people struggle to fulfill their own expectations, all you need is the kickstart to get onto a journey that will last much longer than a single year.

It’s not just a modern tradition. With the new year eventually comes the end of winter, and the beginning of spring, a time for rejuvenation and reinvention. And just like how the early months of 2018 will be spent slowly defrosting our lives, it can also be used to make it past the harsh and frigid first months of addiction treatment.


How Sobriety Can Change Your Life

Sobriety will have a massive impact on your overall health and wellbeing – but it will also give you a new lease on life. Many people make the wrong assumption about sobriety, assuming a sober life to be boring, ascetic, and more of a punishment than a freeing experience. Others make sobriety out to be the end-all solution to all your problems – that once you quit drinking, smoking or using, everything will sort itself out.

Neither is true. Sobriety gives you an opportunity to live life with a clear head, so you can enjoy living again by reforming old relationships, creating new bonds, making brand new memories and experiences, and feeling love the way it’s meant to be felt.

But the road to learning to enjoy being sober, and figuring out just how to live life without drugs, is a long and bumpy road. There’s a reason many people jump into a life of sobriety only to become dry drunks – living is never easy, but with the right attitude and the right people, it’ll always be worth it.


3 Steps to Sobriety in 2018

There is no definitive guide to sobriety – everyone has their own way. But just because the answer is something you must define for yourself does not mean you can’t seek inspiration elsewhere.

From the popular twelve steps of the AA, to self-therapy guides and sober travel books, countless people have told of their best methods towards sobriety. Here are a few general steps towards staying sober for 2018 and beyond.


Commit to Treatment

The first step is always admitting there is a problem, and agreeing to seek help. Treatment facilities exist across the country, with different specializations to help you deal with your addiction in many ways. Some facilities are classic rehab facilities, others focus on a specific type of therapy, or use outdoor activities and other planned initiatives to help local addicts get better.

Find your ideal treatment solution, from sober living homes to residential treatment, and commit to it for the beginning of 2018.


Plan for Relapse

Early on during the process of addiction recovery, it is not uncommon to falter and relapse. However, instead of getting back up on the horse, many people fall prey to an emotional cycle that puts them through the wringer, and leaves them without the motivation to keep going.

Planning for a relapse can not only help you prevent one, but also prepare you for continuing treatment after a relapse. Depending on where you decide to seek treatment, they may provide you with additional resources to help get you ready.


Consider the Long-Term

Addiction treatment is meant to be temporary – after a certain amount of time, your group support meetings and regular therapy sessions will simply turn into lifelong friendships, or irregular calls between two friendly acquaintances.

While addiction may be something you’ll have to tackle with for the rest of your life, it’s not something you must treat professionally forever. Knowing that you’ll eventually be able to transition into a “normal” life can be comforting, but it’s still something you should prepare for.

While 2018 can be the beginning of something amazing in your life, it’s always going to be bigger than just a single year. Sobriety means knowing you’ll have to commit yourself to staying clean for the rest of your life.

During early recovery, this seems like more of an admonition than a blessing, but the further you’ll distance yourself from your addiction days, the more you’ll realize how much better life is when sober.

You won’t get the old you back – but you’ll get the opportunity to come up with a brand new you, and a completely different life. It all starts with a single decision, and a commitment towards a life of better living.


How Can Routine Help You Maintain Sobriety?

Maintain sobriety | Transcend Recovery Community

It’s hard to maintain sobriety – relapse rates will tell you as much. Addiction is more than a simple switch, to flipped on and off. Instead, it’s a gradual process that takes years or even decades to reverse. With time, it will become easier to deny your cravings. That, and people tend to become better at finding ways to live without drugs, no matter how tempting they may be.

However, getting to that point where you can maintain sobriety typically takes a long time. And in that time, the chances of giving up are very high.

Having a routine can help make it easier to overcome your cravings during early recovery, and help arm you with the tools you need to maintain sobriety in the long-term. We’ll explore why a simple routine can have a major impact on your ability to maintain sobriety in both the early recovery period, and over the course of your lifetime.


Consistency in Early Recovery

Early recovery is, if anything, inconsistent. First: the length of time spent in “early recovery” is different from person to person. Second: your mood may improve drastically one day, and crash down the other. Third: staying away from drugs will be harder than ever. Yet your motivation to maintain sobriety will be strong and fresh as well. This creates a massive inner conflict spanning days, weeks, and even months.

Creating and following a routine during this period of your recovery can massively improve your chances of not just avoiding relapse, but also help you get back on track as quickly as possible and maintain sobriety.

This is because routines offer consistency, which is sorely lacking during early recovery. Through a consistent routine, you’ll have something you can hang onto in times of chaos. No matter how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking, you know that on Monday you’re scheduled you hit up the gym at this time, clean up around the house at this time, and make that for dinner at such and such an hour in the evening.

Routines give you a sense of normalcy with which you can more easily adjust to living at home after rehab as you maintain sobriety.


Taking Your Mind Off Things To Help Maintain Sobriety

It’s important to create a routine that constructively helps you. Don’t just bore yourself to death, or try and be as “efficient as possible”. Give yourself room to explore creative endeavors, go to new events and meetups, spend some time reading a new book, and squeeze in a short workout. Doing these things will help you take your mind off the cravings, and introduce new sources of fun and pleasure in your life. Meeting new people, exercising and exploring new interests or your inner creativity can boost your self-esteem as well, which makes an enormous difference in addiction recovery.

Eventually, drug cravings do diminish. Whether they can go away or not may depend on the severity of an addiction, but given enough time and dedication, any addiction can be overcome.

Some people rely on their family and friends to keep them on the straight and narrow, especially early on when the temptation to swerve off the path of sobriety is very powerful. Others take it upon themselves, taking up every class and activity they can to find that one thing to obsess over to beat out the urge to use, smoke or drink. A sober living home can also help if you feel like the extra support will work well. Whatever works for you, remember that consistency is key.


The Power of Coping

The difference between a healthy habit and an obsession is the way you approach the activity in your life. Many of the things we do for fun or entertainment are activities we use for coping with life’s challenges. A negative coping mechanism is one that makes your overall life worse. It detrimentally affects your mood and thinking, cuts into your ability to work or concentrate, and consumes your thoughts far too much.

A positive coping mechanism helps you deal with life’s challenges effectively. Instead of distracting you from your problems, it gives you the clarity, focus, and confidence needed to effectively address them.

Take exercise. An unhealthy obsession with exercise can quickly destroy your body, alienate you from your friends and family, and consume your entire life. It can cause you to spend far more money than you need to. You begin to mask your problems in life by addressing perceived imperfections in your diet, or training protocol.

A healthy coping mechanism is when you use exercise to work off stress, set realistic goals that avoid injury, and use your daily or regular training session to help you build your ability to focus. You set the time aside to train – but you don’t let it rule your life, or consume more of your day than the rest of your schedule.

This difference is crucial when determining whether a habit helps, or simply hinders your ability to live life – and maintain sobriety. You’re not trying to create a distraction, you’re trying to improve your ability to enjoy the day-to-day, and be happy with the important things in life – the work you do, the talents you hone, the family you love, the friends you hang out with, and whatever else may give you purpose and meaning.