Staying Sober: 5 Tips for Coping with Change

by | Jul 27, 2023

Embarking on the journey toward substance abuse recovery is a courageous step towards a healthier and happier life. It takes immense strength, resilience, and determination to acknowledge the need for change and to seek help, whether you’ve been in recovery for a month or ten years. If you’re reading this, you probably already know that the path to sobriety comes with its own unique set of challenges, especially as you deal with life’s constant evolution and change.

Staying sober requires not only addressing the root causes of addiction, but also developing effective strategies to cope with the changes that life presents. From daily life to dealing with job-related stress, relationship changes, or even major life events, cultivating the ability to navigate these changes without resorting to substance abuse is crucial for long-term recovery success and sustaining healthy coping mechanisms.

While maintaining sobriety can be challenging, especially when faced with the inevitable changes that life brings, there are many resources available that can make it feel more accessible. In this article, we will explore five helpful tips for coping with change while staying sober, including the benefits of having a strong support system and utilizing group therapy.

Ways to Cope with Life’s Changes

1. Embrace Outpatient Therapy

Outpatient therapy is a valuable resource for individuals in recovery, offering a layer of ongoing support during the transition from an inpatient setting to “normal” daily life. It allows individuals to maintain their regular routines while attending scheduled therapy sessions, ensuring they receive the necessary support without disrupting their daily commitments. Plus, community living is a vital component at this level of care, as it provides individuals the opportunity to integrate what they’ve learned with peers who can relate to what they’re going through.

Our Intensive Outpatient Program at Zia Recovery Center provides clients apartment style living where staff are present 24-7 for accountability measures. Our program offers 10 hours of group sessions per week in addition to individual psychotherapy and case management, ensuring that each individual pursuing sustained sobriety has ample support at this point in their journey.

By participating in outpatient therapy, individuals can continue working on their recovery goals by addressing underlying issues and learning healthy coping mechanisms. Therapists provide a space to discuss challenges, provide guidance, and offer tools to navigate change effectively. Utilizing outpatient therapy as a consistent support system, even after your recovery program is complete, can significantly enhance the chances of long-term sobriety, especially when it is embraced.

2. Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Building a strong support network is essential for staying sober, especially when facing inevitable changes in life. Being surrounded by people who understand and support your recovery journey can provide the encouragement and accountability needed during turbulent times. In fact, research shows that individuals who have a strong support network are much more likely to remain sober.

Consider attending support group meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), where you can connect with others who have similar experiences. Sharing your challenges, successes, and fears with like-minded individuals can be incredibly empowering. If you have a good relationship with your loved ones, consider involving them in your recovery process, as their support and understanding can make a significant difference in your ability to cope with change in a healthy way. It is also very powerful to have a 12-step sponsor that you can lean on for support.

If you feel you do not have a supportive community, being in an inpatient or outpatient program can be extremely helpful, as you will be surrounded by both professionals and peers who will help you throughout each step of the process.. Plus, many of our staff at Zia Recovery Center have gone through the same or similar programs and know first hand what experiencing substance abuse disorder is like.

3. Practice Self-Care

Maintaining sobriety requires taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Engaging in self-care activities can help alleviate stress and anxiety, making it easier to navigate change while staying sober. Incorporate activities such as exercise, meditation, journaling, hobbies, or spending time in nature into your daily routine.

There are self-care practices for everyone. Like to journal? Writing down thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a journal can be a therapeutic practice for individuals in recovery as it allows for self-reflection, self-expression, and the opportunity to process emotions.

Interested in mindfulness? Practicing meditation can provide a sense of inner peace and prolonged states of clarity and calmness.

Curious about trying out a new hobby? Pursuing a creative outlet, whether it is painting, playing a musical instrument, or cooking, can provide a sense of purpose and satisfaction. These activities can serve as healthy distractions and redirect attention away from negative thoughts or cravings.

4. Set Realistic Goals and Celebrate Milestones

Setting realistic goals and celebrating milestones can provide a sense of accomplishment and motivation to sustain your sobriety. Break down large goals into achievable steps, and reward yourself for each milestone reached. Acknowledging your progress will reinforce your commitment to staying sober and provide a positive outlook during times of change.

Therapy can assist in setting realistic goals and tracking progress. Therapists can help you identify areas of your life that require attention and guide you in establishing attainable objectives. Celebrating milestones, whether it’s 30 days, 90 days, or a year of sobriety, serves as a reminder of your strength, determination, and consistency.

5. Build a Sustainable Routine

Creating a structured and sustainable routine is vital for maintaining long-term sobriety. Establishing healthy habits and sticking to a consistent schedule helps provide stability during times of change. Engage in activities that promote your well-being and reinforce your commitment to living a substance-free life.

In each of our programs at Zia Recovery Center, we focus on the development of sustainable routines that are tailored to each individual’s needs. Therapists work collaboratively with clients to identify healthy habits, such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient sleep, that contribute to overall wellness.

Sobriety is Possible

Coping with change is an inevitable part of life, but it doesn’t have to jeopardize your sobriety. By embracing these different resources, activities, and support, you can effectively navigate life’s transitions while staying committed to your recovery journey. This path isn’t easy, but it is  rewarding beyond measure. If you are curious about Zia Recovery Center’s Intensive Outpatient Program or other programs and services, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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