So you’ve made the commitment to stop drinking, worked a program and have some serious sobriety under your belt? Congratulations; you’ve taken the first step toward a new life!
Once you leave rehab and return home, however, that’s where the rubber meets the road. Old habits can be hard to break, so planning ahead is a must.
The following five recovery behaviors will help to support your long-term sobriety goals.
- Behavior #1 Live in Transparency
“You’re only as sick as your secrets” is a commonly known phrase by those in AA. Alcoholics deceive others in order to cover up their addiction; they can even hide the signs and symptoms from themselves, making it easier to justify their behavior and stay firmly rooted in denial. This is why many recovering alcoholics are so painstakingly honest; any return to the habit of deception, they believe, risks backsliding out of sobriety.
- Behavior #2 Know Your Weaknesses
Triggers and cravings are a very real part of recovery. You will no doubt encounter them in different forms, each one taunting you to pick up that drink. If you know walking by a bar after work is a definite trigger for you, take a different route home. When you’re already aware of the triggers you’re working with and you have a predetermined recovery plan, long-term sobriety won’t seem like such an unachievable goal.
- Behavior #3 Employ Good Self-Care
Triggers are easier to side-step when you’re taking care of yourself and have a clear mind. H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) is an acronym often taught to those in recovery, known as the four physical or emotional conditions most responsible for causing relapse. When you’re in control of your emotions, you can identify when you feel any of the four, enabling you to act, rather than react.
- Behavior #4 Reach Out
You are who you surround yourself with. Meaning that, if you continue to hang out with your old buddies who frequent the bar scene, chances are, you’re going to start drinking again. It’s imperative to have a network of like-minded friends in recovery to offer support when you’re feeling low or get hit by an unexpected craving. Having a friend who understands is not only comforting, it’s a crucial element in maintaining long-term sobriety.
- Behavior #5 Look Outward
Alcoholics, by nature, are self-centered; placing their addiction before everything and everyone else. That’s why, in recovery, it’s important to lend your efforts to causes beyond yourself, such as serving others and giving back to the community.
Through selfless acts, the focus is shifted off you and your struggles, thereby reducing the likelihood of wanting to escape and numb your feelings.
Additional Reading: 7 Tips to Boost Liver Health After Quitting Alcohol
Image Source: Unsplash/Jordan McQueen