Sobriety is a concept that is sometimes misunderstood, and once misunderstood, the approach towards sobriety can be wrongly applied. For some recovering addicts, sobriety translates to a phase of misery, rather than as a time to improve oneself physically and mentally. Despite having been to rehab, such persons might still find themselves withdrawing from their emotions. They become ‘resilient’ and barely receptive to people and things around them.
They would engage in social interactions, but their outward appearance is mostly a façade, within, their feelings are mostly bottled up. While such behaviors could be interpreted as a coping mechanism during sobriety, it doesn’t make up for the resilience needed to stay sober in the long run.
Adopting such a problematic approach in your journey to recovery won’t help your cause. Instead, it is more likely to expose you to adversities and stressors that could tear down the fort you have built against addiction.
Sobriety is a time to reconcile with life and the positivity therein. It is a time to truly embrace your affections and make yourself emotionally available, hence, boosting your progress during recovery. More so, it is an opportunity to develop a strong will to achieve your goals.
How does resilience relate to sobriety?
Addiction is a strong disease, and fighting it off requires a lot of will and determination – it requires resilience. In reference to addiction recovery, resilience is an individual’s ability to adapt a healthy lifestyle and stay true to their recovery against all the odds. It is part of the emotional wellness strategies which a recovering addict can learn during Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in all-encompassing drug rehab.
How can I develop resilience in sobriety?
According to psychological studies, there are three applicable characteristics a sober person should possess if they want to be resilient in their recovery.1 To help you in your journey to recovery, we discussed those characteristics (as the first three) alongside others below.
1. Accept reality
Acceptance is the first step to being resilient. You have to understand and accept that change is constant and get accustomed to the current reality. Now, your truth is to break free from addiction and be sober. To achieve this, you have to make sacrifices and drop some old habits as you embrace and practice the terms of a healthy lifestyle. By accepting the reality, you would consciously and subconsciously put in your energy to adapt to every bit of it, thus developing resilience in the process.
2. Believe in the cause
You can’t fight for what you don’t believe in. If you think of sobriety as an insignificant means to healthy living, then it would be hard for you to live by its values. By believing in and upholding the values of sobriety and healthy living, you will be able to make conscious efforts to be true to the cause at all times. Through your belief, you can face whatever stressors and triggers that may come your way squarely.
3. Be able and willing to improvise
One of the quickest ways people fall back into addiction is by letting themselves get stunned by the challenges they come across. If you truly accept the realities of being sober, you should also recognize the uncertainties you might face along the way.
Make a mental note not to let yourself be overwhelmed or give in to emotions or triggers that can push you to indulge. However, you should prepare yourself to maneuver such instances by any means possible, without incurring any detriments on yourself or others.
4. Do not be afraid to take actions
Even while you might have improvised a means to tackle a stressor that poses a threat to your sobriety, there are chances that you won’t implement it. Some triggers will come in scenarios that would make you second-guess your approach to sobriety. For instance, when the friends you usually go binge-drinking with keep calling you to join them for some drinks.
You shouldn’t be afraid to say no to such offers, especially if it puts you at risk of a relapse.
5. Become more tolerant
You have to become more tolerant of pains or discomfort that might come your way if it inches you closer to recovery. These pains and distresses could be in the form of withdrawal symptoms, but yielding to them because they are unbearable can ruin all the efforts you have made to stay sober.
6. Create sobriety milestones
This is one approach that has consistently helped recovering addicts to stay sober. Having a goal in sight will boost your resilience in sobriety, and help you stick to achieving your goals. For every stressor you encounter, you think of the goal ahead and ward it off.
7. Appreciate your progress
As humans, we all tend to protect or fight for what we appreciate. You should learn to recognize and celebrate every progress you make in sobriety, even the minutest ones. By doing so, you create a formidable fort that keeps you from backtracking.
Celebrating your progress at every point will serve as a future reminder not to ruin your efforts to be sober. Consequently, it helps prop your resilience in sobriety.
8. Do not dwell in the past
Regret is not one of the ingredients of resilience. Fixating on your past mistakes will cause a lag on the progress you are trying to make. Such unnecessary fixations are likely to make you feel horrible, thus reducing your belief in yourself and what you are doing presently. Once the confidence and trust are gone, the resilience in sobriety can be likened to the waning light of a candle, a little breeze, and it would go off.
9. Get family and friends involved
Sobriety is not a journey for you alone; the people around you also have a role to play. Despite the likelihood of wanting to handle things by yourself, you should also accept support from people you love. It would accord you a sense of belonging, and the will to not give up on sobriety.
10. Sign up for a sober living program
For the things you can’t learn by yourself, you can opt to learn from specialists. By choosing a sober living program or virtual counseling (considering the pandemic), you will get to learn, understand, and value the tenets of sobriety. Moreover, you can choose from a variety of therapy and counseling options, which are designed to help recovering addicts develop unwavering resilience while sober.
Emily is a health and wellness writer who enjoys the simple things in life. She has written articles for sites like Briarwood Detox and continues to spread education and awareness with her work.
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