Recovering from co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders is a long-term undertaking that requires commitment and dedication. Even after rehab, the journey to sobriety is far from over. One of the biggest challenges for those in recovery is staying sober once they leave treatment. Understanding why sobriety can be a challenge and some of the most common triggers for relapse can make a difference, as can learning strategies for how to stay sober.
Understanding Common Causes of Relapse
Relapse occurs when an individual returns to old drug or alcohol habits after a period of abstinence. Relapse is often caused by triggers, which are situations or feelings that can cause cravings for drugs or alcohol. These can include:
- Social pressure
Other factors can also contribute to relapse, such as not having enough support and not feeling connected to a community in recovery. Those with co-occurring disorders are more likely to experience relapse due to the complex nature of their conditions and the difficulty in managing both simultaneously.
Strategies to Stay Sober After Rehab
Staying sober takes effort, but there are several strategies that those who have completed rehabilitation can use to stay on track and maintain their sobriety.
1. Develop Effective Coping Skills
Those in recovery can prevent relapse by learning how to deal with difficult emotions without turning towards drugs or alcohol. This could involve developing healthier coping skills such as deep breathing exercises, journaling, listening to music, taking part in physical activity, or talking with friends or family members about how you feel.
2. Build Strong Support Networks
Peer support plays an important role in maintaining sobriety; having people who understand what you’re going through and remind you why it’s important to stay sober goes a long way toward helping you stay on track with your recovery goals. Joining peer support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or another 12-step program can provide invaluable guidance and camaraderie during times of difficulty.
3. Establish Positive Routines
Replacing old habits with new ones is key to staying sober after rehab. This could include:
- Eating nutritious meals regularly throughout the day
- Going for walks outside every morning
- Taking time out each day for reflection
These healthy habits can help keep individuals grounded and focused on their recovery journey while providing structure and purpose throughout the day.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness practices such as meditation have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress while helping individuals become more aware of their own thought patterns. This added level of self-awareness helps people recognize when they’re beginning to slip into negative thinking patterns so they can take action before engaging in self-destructive behaviors.
5. Practice Self-Care
Taking care of oneself is essential for maintaining sobriety. This includes:
- Getting enough sleep each night – Seven to nine hours are recommended
- Eating nutritious foods daily – Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals
- Exercising regularly – Aim for 30 minutes per day
- Setting aside time each week specifically devoted to activities that make you happy – This could include spending time with friends, family, and pets
Find New Ways to Stay Sober at Peer Mental Wellness
Following these five strategies—developing an effective coping mechanism, building strong support networks, establishing positive routines, becoming mindful, and practicing self-care—can help you maintain your sobriety even when faced with challenging situations. Peer Mental Wellness is here to support you every step of the way as you find freedom from co-occurring disorders.