HealthA Beginner's Guide to Staying Sober

A Beginner’s Guide to Staying Sober


In 2021, 61.2 million people in the US used illicit drugs.

Overcoming addiction is never easy. For some people, it may even seem impossible. With the right mindset and strategy, however, anyone can achieve sobriety.

It’s important to understand the various things you can do to help with your addiction recovery. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the key elements of staying sober. Keep reading for more.

Recognize the Problem

This is the first (and perhaps the most important) step towards recovery. You need to recognize and acknowledge that you have a problem.

Many people remain in denial for a long time, and this gets in the way of recovery. If you can get through the denial and admit to yourself that there’s something wrong, you’ll be able to start making steps toward beating your addiction.


Various drugs can stay in your system for a long time after using them. To begin your addiction recovery, you should go on a full detox. It can be very challenging, and potentially even dangerous, so medically assisted detox is often a good idea.

It’s important to remember that getting the drugs out of your system isn’t enough. You’ll still need to deal with the underlying issues that cause your addiction, otherwise, you’ll most likely relapse.

Identify Your Personal Triggers

Substance addiction is different for everyone, and as such, everyone has different triggers. You need to figure out what yours are so that you know what to look out for and work to avoid. Some triggers are fairly common, such as:

  • Stress
  • Emotional distress
  • Relationship troubles
  • Environmental cues
  • Job or financial problems
  • Associating with people who still use drugs or alcohol

By identifying your triggers, you can develop a plan that will help you deal with them.

Recognize Relapse Warning Signs

Some people think that a relapse will be obvious, but it can actually happen very unexpectedly. Relapses begin long before you even consider taking any substances again. There are often warning signs, but if you don’t know what these are, you won’t notice them.

There are three stages to a relapse: emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse. Some of the more common warning signs include:

  • Addictive thinking patterns
  • Self-defeating behaviors
  • Returning to situations involving people who use drugs and alcohol
  • Irrational thinking and irresponsible behavior
  • Situations in which drugs or alcohol may seem like a good escape

The sooner you can recognize signs like these, the better chance you’ll have of being able to avoid a full relapse.

Avoid Old Routines and Habits

Many people manage to stop taking drugs, but will still continue with the same routine. This involves hanging around the same people, visiting the same places, and doing the same things. Doing this can make it much easier to fall back into old behaviors, so it can be detrimental to your recovery.

There are some things that you should try to change immediately. If any of the people you associate with or places you go are connected to drugs in any way, you should try to avoid them. If you’re struggling to quit drinking, for example, spending time in a bar with other drinkers definitely won’t help.

There may be much less noticeable triggers in your regular routine. Even your route to work might go past your favorite bar, for example. Think about the changes you’ll need to make so that you can make your recovery journey as manageable as possible.

Build Healthy Relationships

The people around you will make a huge impact on every aspect of your life. Some of your past friends may have been enabling your addiction, and if so, you may want to change who you spend time with.

It’s best to be around people who will support you when needed. Toxic relationships can play a huge part in causing relapses, so removing yourself from them will greatly increase your chances of a successful recovery.

Get Support

Finding new friends is often easier said than done. Getting support from your family is often the easiest, but you’ll need more than that. One of the best ways to get support from others is to join a support group.

Places like this recovery center are specifically geared toward helping people with substance abuse problems. You’ll get plenty of support from trained professionals, and you’ll also meet others who are in a similar situation to you.

Professional help can go a long way to helping you recover, and being around people who are on the same journey will make it much easier. You may even make some good friends during the process.

Develop a Structured Schedule

Some people naturally live a fairly disorganized life. While this may be what you’re used to, it can impede your recovery. You should try to implement some structure that will help you keep things less chaotic.

Try to build a daily and weekly routine that you can stick to. Not only will this help with your addiction recovery, but it can also help you achieve other goals in your life.

Effectively Staying Sober

Staying sober may not be easy, but if you can break through the barrier of addiction, you’ll be much happier for it. Try to determine what drives you to drugs and alcohol, and you’ll be able to start making things better. Most importantly, never be afraid to seek help, as it can be one of the biggest factors of all.

For more health-related articles, check out some of our other blog posts.


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