I’m 3 Years Sober – Now What?

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It’s been 1,095 days since you last used drugs or alcohol. You’ve cleaned up the financial messes you made. You’ve developed healthy relationships. You’re holding down a steady job. It seems you’ve won the major battles.

Now, you’re wondering what’s next. Is the war over? If so, what does a soldier do when the fighting is done? You don’t want to become complacent and risk returning to old habits. You also don’t want to get stuck in a holding pattern – either waiting for the other shoe to drop or waiting for something better to happen.

What’s My Next Move?

“What’s next?” is a common question and your best response is to stay committed to your recovery. By developing healthy patterns of behavior, you can maintain your sobriety.

Give the following tips a try; they’ll keep you grounded and heading in the right direction:

  • Healthy Body

Regular exercise is a great tool for putting a stop to unhealthy, compulsive behaviors. And a healthy diet lends a helping hand by increasing your self-esteem and boosting your general outlook on life.

Patterns of addiction usually result in poor personal care and poor physical health. By turning this around and continuing to improve your health, you encourage healthy habits and continue to tread on the recovery path.

  • Healthy Mind

Have you tried anything new in the past year? Did you travel? Take a class? Read a book? Recent studies show that people who invest in personal growth experiences are happier than those who invest in material possessions. Make an effort to get out there and enjoy life. Do things to create new, positive memories. A mind occupied with healthy things is unlikely to return to “stinking thinking.”

Another important activity that is often overlooked is the celebration of milestones. As you reach a “sober anniversary,” do something to acknowledge it. It can be as simple as having dinner at your favorite restaurant or as extravagant as a luxury vacation. The idea is to recognize how far you’ve come by celebrating in a fun, healthy way. This is a good way to keep your mind focused on success.

  • Healthy Community

As you invest in healthy experiences, invest in people, too. This should involve efforts beyond the development of friendships or healing family bonds (although those things are good). Find volunteer opportunities in your community, break from your normal routine and find ways to help others, learn new skills, form new relationships and find new purpose. By being a part of a healthy community, you develop a sense of well-being.

With this “triple play” of healthy living, you’ll constantly set and meet new goals in all areas of your life. Suddenly, the question “What’s next?” takes on a whole new meaning!

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