Bad habits are hard to break, and staying sober is no easy feat. We think we’re getting ahead, then something tragic or overwhelming happens in our life and we find ourselves floundering again.
There are all kinds of studies and theories as to why it’s so difficult to break bad habits, but at the end of the day what matters is that we do our best to intentionally overcome the struggle.
Fortunately, there are ways to ensure progress, even if it’s through baby steps. Here are nine ways you can help yourself stay sober, even when you’re going through difficult life circumstances.
1. Make an Effort to Connect with Others for Support
Your friends and family are a crucial support system, which is something that everyone needs at one point or another. It is not a sign of weakness to reach out to them, especially during difficult times.
Staying sober will be most easily accomplished if you have a level of accountability with someone else in your life. You don’t have to do this alone. You’re only human, and that means you’re a social creature at heart.
2. Don’t Fill Your Time with Frivolous Distractions
Sometimes it’s easy for us to replace one bad habit for another, but you should do your best to avoid that. Distractions are not productive, and you will eventually find yourself needing to replace the replacement anyway. It’s best to just avoid anything frivolous.
Some distractions may seem like a better option than giving up on your sobriety, but in the end, they really aren’t actually doing you any good.
Examples of these kinds of frivolous distractions include watching too much T.V., spending too much time on social media, or even playing video games for too long. Staring in front of a screen for hours on end just to escape unhealthy urges is actually unhealthy in itself.
3. Keep Encouraging Reminders Around You
One useful tactic to staying sober is setting up constant reminders that you are on the right track in making these healthy decisions. Forming positive habits will become easier if you are always aware of how beneficial they are.
Put notes of encouragement on your bathroom mirrors and doors throughout your home. The messages could be very simple like “Keep it up!”, “Give up the lesser good for the greater good!”, or “You have all the self-control you need to do the right thing.”
Set alarms on your phone to go off throughout your day to give you the same reminders. There are more intentional means of encouragement like engraved bracelets, rings, or tokens you can find at the Token Shop.
Do whatever you need to do to stay encouraged and positive as you go through a time when sobriety is more difficult than usual.
4. Write/Journal About Staying Sober in These Difficult Times
Writing helps with processing whatever grief or frustrating circumstances you are dealing with. Seeing the issues on paper allows you to have an objective perspective.
Allowing yourself to be creative is a healthy avenue for staying sober. Try other artistic forms that might be more pleasing to you.
5. Be Productive with Your Time
If you need to focus your attention on something other than your sobriety, try finding productive activities. Replacing bad habits with healthy habits will help you to process the challenges that life gives us all.
Even if the tasks are simple, you will feel more accomplished than giving into a bad habit. Look around the house for repair projects to do, get you and your finances organized, or even do some light cleaning whenever you have the temptation to slip up.
6. Spend Time Outside
It’s easy for us to want to lie on the couch for hours binge-watching movies and T.V. shows. Following this habit, though, odds are you will eventually get bored since this distraction isn’t very fulfilling.
Spending time outside might be really good for you at this point if you need help staying sober. Talking walks are good for your health and thoughts.
Make sure you take time to notice the trees and flowers! If you have a dog, this is a perfect time to get into the habit of walking him or her on a regular basis. Rest assured, you will never regret spending time in a natural outdoor environment.
7. Check in with Your Therapist
If you haven’t been meeting with a therapist during your process of sobriety, you might want to look into it. Therapists are trained professionals who are available to help you process and overcome difficult times.
Even if you don’t need specific help with staying sober, visiting a licensed therapist during difficult times might help you better understand your situation and what you can do to get through it.
8. Meditate and Just Breathe
Anxiety plagues us all at some point, so know that you are not alone. There are methods and even natural, healthy substances to reduce anxiety.
Perhaps the most calming methods of relieving anxiety involve basic meditation or breathing exercises. You might think about yoga when it comes to meditation, but there are other forms that simply allow you to center yourself during times of crisis.
Anxiety in difficult times is a significant trigger that might cause you to relapse. Do your best to be preventative.
Eat Healthy and Stay Active
Probably the best advice for anyone going through a difficult time – or anyone who is simply trying to stay sober – if to take care of one’s self. It’s important to remember that you will get through this eventually, and it’s a good idea to make sure that at the end of these difficult times you will be ready to move through life healthily and confidently.
Diet and exercise are crucial to maintaining as much as possible at this point. Even if the actions you take in this regard are basic, they will benefit you in the long run.
No matter what, remember that you are capable and empowered. If you need further encouragement, check out some of our other articles at WorkingHomeGuide.com to keep your life on track, even while you are going through these tough times.