Fatal overdoses claimed 101,623 lives within a single 12-month period. If you’ve received treatment for drug abuse or alcohol abuse, it’s important to have a long-term recovery plan.
About 22.3 million Americans (over 9% of adults) live in recovery after some form of substance-use disorder. About three in four people who struggle with addiction eventually recover.
Here are seven tips that can help you on your own recovery from addiction. With these tips, you can seek the help you need to maintain sobriety. Read on to learn more!
1. Establish Goals
About 3% of Harvard Business School graduates who wrote down their goals and made a plan made 10 times as much as the remaining 97%. Outlining your goals and building a game plan can help you remain on track.
It can also help you determine the best way to accomplish your goals.
When establishing your goals, make sure they’re SMART:
Give each goal you outline a deadline. Then, break your larger goals (like remaining sober for a year) into smaller goals (going month-by-month). Breaking your goals into small, easy-to-achieve goals can help you remain motivated.
For example, you might set goals to make amends with people who were affected by your drug abuse. Perhaps you want to attend two NA meetings each week (or AA meetings if you also struggled with alcohol abuse).
Have a game plan for each goal you set. If you’re aiming to attend weekly Al-Anon meetings, consider going with someone who can hold you accountable. They can help you make sure you get the Al-Anon support you need.
2. Identify Triggers and Warnings
In order to remain on track to accomplish your goals, you need to identify potential roadblocks. First, identify your personal triggers.
External triggers are people, things, places, and situations that can elicit cravings or thoughts associated with drug abuse. Internal triggers include emotions, thoughts, or feelings you connect with your substance abuse.
For example, your triggers might include:
- Financial problems
- Relationship problems
- Environmental cues
- People who are still using drugs or drinking
- Emotional distress
Outlining your triggers can help you determine how to best navigate or avoid them.
It’s also important to identify the warning signs that a relapse is sneaking up on you. A relapse usually occurs in three phases: emotional, mental, and physical relapsing.
Potential warning signs that indicate a potential relapse can include:
- Returning to addictive thinking patterns
- Thinking less rationally
- Behaving less responsibly
- Engaging in compulsive behaviors
- Seeking out situations involving drug or alcohol use
If you begin experiencing these warning signs, reach out. Seek Al-Anon support to learn how to navigate the situation. Finding help could keep you from relapsing.
3. Get Support
Compared to individuals who requested help, those who didn’t were less likely to achieve 3-year remission. They were also subsequently more likely to relapse.
You don’t have to remain on your road to recovery alone. Instead, consider participating in NA meetings or Al-Anon meetings.
Joining an Al-Anon support group or attending NA meetings can help you find sober friends. These people understand what you’re going through now. They could help you navigate the new terrain of your sober lifestyle.
They can help guide you by teaching you how to avoid the mistakes they made in the past.
Spend time with supportive loved ones, too. Try to plan activities together that don’t involve drinking or drug use.
Otherwise, work on building healthy relationships this year. You might have realized that your previous relationships were unhealthy (or even toxic). Spending time with the wrong people could lead you to relapse.
Instead, look for people who can help you maintain your sobriety. Let them know when you’re struggling, too.
4. Establish a New Routine
Avoid following old habits or routines you followed when you were using drugs. Hanging around the same people at the same places could trigger you to start using.
Instead, develop a new routine this year.
Try picking up a new hobby or developing a new skill. New hobbies can keep your mind focused on unfamiliar tasks. Find healthy, fun ways to keep your brain active and engaged.
For example, you can learn to play a new instrument, try yoga, or learn how to paint.
5. Improve Your Health
Chronic drug or alcohol use can take a toll on your physical and mental health. As part of the recovery process, start practicing self-care.
For example, you can exercise, eat balanced meals, and get more sleep.
Try relaxation strategies like yoga and mindful meditation, too.
6. Manage Anger and Stress
As you learn how to navigate your triggers, it’s also helpful to learn how to manage your anger and stress. While anger is a natural emotion, how you respond to frustrations can help benefit your recovery.
Consider talking to a therapist, sponsor, or someone at your Al-Anon meetings for help.
Otherwise, your anger could cause you to harm yourself or others in the future.
7. Celebrate Your Milestones
As you begin using these tips, consider finding new, fun ways to celebrate your milestones.
Celebrating your milestones can help you remain motivated while you’re on your road to recovery. It can also help you recognize how far you’ve come. Recognizing you’re accomplishing your goals can help you set even bigger goals in the future.
Participating in a 12-step program can help you find healthy ways to celebrate your wins.
Recovering From Drug Abuse: Learn How to Maintain Long-Term Sobriety
If you’re recovering from drug abuse, remember: you’re not alone. Attend your NA or Al-Anon meetings to get the support you need. With help, you can maintain your sobriety for years to come.
Having a support system could make all the difference.
Need help finding NA meetings in New York? We’re here for you.
Explore our directory today to find local meetings!