Having a sober life plan can save your recovery.

A common misconception about drug treatment is that after 30 days of inpatient therapy, the hard work is done. The addict is sober and that’s that. We like to believe that after a short stint in rehab an addict will emerge equipped with everything that he or she will need to remain sober and continue with life in recovery. However, this initial month in treatment is only the beginning. Getting sober and staying healthy in recovery requires more work.

Maintaining sobriety is a process, it’s a process of learning a new way to live. An absolute must after completing drug treatment is to create a sober life plan using your newfound life skills and tools. This is a plan of action, a proactive plan allowing you understand how to handle your triggers and utilize the resources available in order to continue the recovery process. A life-long process.

  • Build Your Support System:

Staying sober is not something you have to do alone. Surround yourself with people that you can turn to during difficult times and that will encourage your sobriety. This can include attending AA groups, finding a sponsor, and even something as simple as forming healthy relationships with other sober individuals.

  • Provide Structure:

Implement a daily routine and allow yourself stability. With this structure include a time to dedicate to your recovery each day, a schedule for your ongoing counseling, chores, etc.  It can also be important to address any mental health or emotional disorders with a quality outpatient treatment center or masters level therapist

  • Identify and Assess Your Triggers:

Understand the things that could put you at risk of relapse. Whether they be people, places, times, activities, mental health disorders, or even exposure certain items, it’s important to know what these would be ahead of time as to be able to manage them appropriately and be prepared when a trigger hits.

  • Create an “If – Then” Plan:

If-then plans are extremely effective in developing new habits and modifying behaviors. Also known as implementation intention this will equip you with the tools you need to have a firm strategy in place when confronted with the triggers that have been identified.

  • Establish Boundaries:

Set in place strict limitations that keep your sobriety the priority. The American Journal on Addictions has recognized avoidance behavior is actually one of the most successful addiction-relapse prevention tools. Although avoidance is not healthy when it comes to emotional issues, relationships, or even finances, this behavior is effective as a tool to prevent relapse. These boundaries will help you be able to effectively avoid some of your stronger triggers.

  • Be Flexible:

Be willing to change your plan as your needs change. Let’s be honest, life happens and many times it doesn’t go according to plan. You may need to take a detour but equipping yourself with these tools will make it that much easier to create a pivot strategy with whatever life sends your way.

It may not always be easier to live a sober life, but in the end it will always be worth it. I guess that is why they say to take it one day at a time. Use your plan to help guide you, stay positive and remember that life in recovery is beautiful and fulfilling.