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bare feet on pavement marked with arrows going all directions - sobrietyIn recovery, it’s often said that you risk losing anything you put in front of your sobriety. If you place your job, family, or friends ahead of staying sober, you risk losing all of these things and more by sliding back into your addiction.

Guiding Principles

Putting sobriety first will look a little different for everyone, but there are some general principles you can use to make sure you’re on the right path.

Take It One Day at a Time

If you’re worried about what will happen in the weeks, months, or years to come, it’s impossible to stay focused on your recovery. Take a deep breath and direct your attention back to the present. Mindfulness has been shown to have significant benefits for people in recovery.

Note that taking it one day at a time also means not dwelling on the past. You may have done things you’re not proud of due to your addiction, but you can’t change the past–no matter how hard you try. All you can do is continue to work towards self-improvement.

Use Positive Affirmations

It’s common for people in recovery to struggle with low self-esteem. Deep down, they may feel as though they don’t deserve to be sober, happy, and healthy. Positive affirmations help stop this mindset by reminding you of your inherent self-worth.

Examples of affirmations that can help you put your sobriety first include:

  • I am worthy of love and respect.
  • I am worth fighting for.
  • Today is the beginning of the rest of my life
  • My past has no power over me.
  • I keep going because I am on the right path.

Devote as Much Time to Recovery as You Did to Your Addiction

When you were actively using, drugs or alcohol were the most important thing in your life. You spent all of your time either under the influence or recovering from a drug- and alcohol-fueled binge. To stay in recovery, you need to put just as much effort into your sobriety.

Counseling appointments, doctor visits, and 12-Step meetings may leave you feeling as though there’s little time for anything else, but they’re a vital part of the recovery process. Build your schedule around these obligations, even if it means cutting back on other commitments. When people ask what you’re doing with your time, be honest about your dedication to staying sober.

Know that Self-Care Is Not Selfish

Making time for good nutrition, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and activities that support your mental health isn’t always easy, but don’t fall into the trap of believing your actions are selfish. You can’t be a good parent, spouse, or friend if you’re not taking care of your own well-being.

If self-care feels like it’s taking time away from your loved ones, invite them to participate in some of these activities with you. Cooking healthy meals and exercising together can be a great way to strengthen your relationship. Everyone, even if they’re not in recovery, can benefit from taking steps to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Stay Away from Risky Situations

In recovery, it’s important to know your own limits. For example, if you know that going to places where alcohol is served will make you want to drink, putting sobriety first means limiting yourself to sober social events. Don’t agree to go to a party where you’ll be tempted just because you don’t want to disappoint a friend. True friends will understand how hard you’re working to make meaningful changes in your life.

Staying away from risky situations also means avoiding people, places, and activities you associate with drinking or getting high. Not all high-risk situations can be anticipated, but it’s foolish to knowingly put yourself in danger of relapse.

End Toxic Relationships

A toxic relationship is one that makes you fundamentally unhappy because it’s filled with jealousy, guilt, shame, criticism, a lack of trust, or other unhealthy relationship behaviors. Toxic relationships are often associated with romantic partners, but relationships with friends and family can be toxic as well.

Ending a relationship that has become toxic frees you to focus on building the best possible version of yourself. If it’s not possible to end the relationship completely, look for ways to minimize contact so you can keep your focus on maintaining your sobriety.

Know When to Ask for Help

Addiction is a chronic illness. It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll be able to manage your recovery on your own, no matter how committed you are to staying sober. You need access to evidence-based care and a strong sober support network.

If you’re struggling, Mountain Laurel Recovery Center can help. Our Pennsylvania drug and alcohol addiction treatment program provides detoxification, residential treatment, extended care, and family support services grounded in trust, honesty, and responsibility. Contact us today to learn how we can help you face the challenges of recovery with confidence.

Looking for an addiction specialist in PA? If you or a loved one are in need of help from addiction, please contact us today.
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