Life After Rehab: A Peek Inside the Sober Bubble

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Life doesn’t take place inside “a bubble.” In reality, it surrounds us. Friends, family, mass media, philosophies, experiences, new relationships, political discourse, and the steady barrage of stimuli form, well, our lives. However, early recovery is an incredibly delicate time and our ability to maintain sobriety depends greatly on our ability to cope with and soberly manage our lives during this transitional period.

Forming a “sober bubble” helps ensure our sobriety takes precedent over other aspects of our lives and helps to cultivate a healthy mindset conducive to a sober lifestyle. In essence, creating a sober bubble is a practice of forming healthy boundaries while practicing a sense of ever-present mindfulness that proactively filters the people, places, and things that surround and affect us.

Understanding Healthy Boundaries

Many times easier in theory than practice, forming healthy boundaries is an incredibly important part of early recovery. Although we have made an important change to our lives — a mindful, conscientious decision to become and remain sober — our friends, families, and social constructs remain the same.

Everyone varies in his or her recovery, so these people and social agendas may or may not be detrimental to remaining sober. However, it’s important to use a completely honest, objective vantage point to make that determination.

For example, if someone easily stresses you out or does not genuinely support your choice to become sober, it may be vital to form a healthy boundary to keep this person out of your sober bubble, whether it’s for a period of time or indefinitely. Although doing so may be very difficult or emotional, sobriety and a healthy mindset must come first. In short, we must use certain precautions to avoid relapse triggers, especially in early recovery.

Forming Positive Support Networks

Many individuals in early recovery tend to think sobriety means missing out on life. Although transitions sometimes take time, as you form healthy boundaries with your old lifestyle, it’s important to fill your sober bubble with new, healthy experiences and relationships. Forming a sober bubble isn’t supposed to necessarily keep life out; it’s created to filter your life, so that it is healthy and conducive to sobriety.

While your sober bubble is supposed to be protective, it’s also intended to be fulfilling and satisfying. Whether it’s forming new friendships with other sober individuals; deepening relationships with supportive family members; attending peer support groups such as 12-Step; or participating in new recreational activities; a sober bubble filled will positivity, social interaction, support, and fun is much more effective than an empty bubble.

A sober bubble is not a practice of escaping our lives, as bubbles only exist if they are filled. However, as individuals in recovery, we must choose carefully what to fill our bubble with. By practicing discernment and being honest with ourselves, the sober bubbles formed in early recovery can easily evolve into a template for living a healthy, sober, and fulfilling lifestyle moving forward.

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