Woman looking into mirror questioning her sobriety choices

How To Get And Stay Sober

Last updated: November 24, 2017

Already you’re on the right track. Realizing you need help is huge and not simply because it’s that “first step” cliché. No, addressing you need help means you’ve already demonstrated a great deal of mental acuity in overcoming the addiction disease.

If you have a drug addiction or suffer from an alcohol use disorder, then you know one of the first behaviors to be affected by constant drug use and/or drinking is rational thought. This is why you’re constantly able to rationalize bad behavior. This is the same part of the brain that advocates denial; the part that says, “I don’t have a problem” or “I don’t drink that often” and “another beer couldn’t hurt”. In short, if you’re admitting you have a problem and you are seeking to get sober, then this means you’ve pushed past the irrational part of your disease that controls reason; that is a feat, and you should be proud.

That said, getting sober is one thing, but staying sober is another entirely. It’s not easy, you will yearn for and crave your drug of choice every day, but it does get easier. Here is a list of tips for getting sober and staying that way.

Live In The Present

To Get Sober:

You cannot change the past, but you can shape your future by focusing on today. Focus on the scenery around you; focus on the people who are standing by you. Appreciate everything in the present and don’t look back on what you would have done.

To Stay Sober:

Your past can serve as learning experience. As the your addiction lessens its grip on you, you can see how far you’ve come from where you were before and be proud. Moreover, when the urge does take hold, remember what started you on this journey to begin with. This will help you see the value in staying clean and sober today.

Create A Healthy Environment

To Get Sober:

Throw out everything that enabled your addiction. Some alcoholics for instance say, “I won’t throw away the wine, what if I have guests over?” Don’t do this. Throw out the wine, throw out the drugs, if you have phone numbers of people who are your drinking buddies, delete them. Create an environment that helps you be free from all temptation.

To Stay Sober:

Remove yourself from environments that bring the urge back in full force. It’s not simply “old” environments that you need to remove yourself from, but new environments that bear similarities. So much of fighting addiction comes down to “control”. You can control whether you stay or leave a situation, so choose the latter if you feel it necessary.

Ignore The Possibility Of Relapse

To Get Sober:

This may sound dismissive of the addiction disease, as if we’re saying, “You’re addicted? Just stop using drugs.” But what’s meant by “ignore the possibility of relapse” is many addicts use the phrase “relapse is a part of recovery” as a way to rationalize relapsing. It’s possible relapse will happen, and yes, any stretch of time spent sober is an improvement, but “getting sober” isn’t about “getting sober for a week” or “a month” or “a year”, it’s meant to be forever, so always go forward with that mindset.

To Stay Sober:

This has an interesting effect. If you’ve been sober for a year and discussed sobriety with others, it won’t be long before you hear them talk about how they’re sober now, but relapsed a few times in the past. If you haven’t relapsed, then on a bad day, you may notice the disease trying to rationalize that it’s okay for you to relapse because others have. These are the types of days that are exceptionally hard, where you will need to push back and fight the disease.

Reward Yourself

To Get Sober:

Notice the urge to use drugs? Go to the mall and shop. Feel like you need a drink? Go to a movie. Reward yourself with entertainment to ward off that initial urge to cave into your addiction.

To Stay Sober:

This is where a sobriety calculator can come in handy. If you’re having a particularly hard day and feel like you can have one drink and resume sobriety rather than cave into constant use, then take a look at your sober day counter. You can see how long you’ve been sober and how much money you’ve saved. Celebrate your accomplishments and treat yourself.

Remember To Be Grateful

To Get Sober:

Journaling is a big part of getting sober. Every day, you should write down your interactions. Write down what upset you, what made you happy, what you struggled with, and what you’re grateful for. Numerous studies have shown that by journaling you wear down the “instant gratification” part of your brain. This way you’re able to visualize the long-term goals.

To Stay Sober:

Keep journaling and reread your journey. Even on hard days, you have a journal you can return to and see how you survived those hard days. Read, in your own words, what you were struggling with as well as what you were grateful for. On rough days, what you may be grateful for is that it’s still not as bad as the first week of sobriety.

Give Back To The Community

To Get Sober:

There are plenty of opportunities to help fellow addicts. One of the chief benefits is simple, it gives you something to do (actively), so you’re not sitting on your couch alone trying to survive the day. But the secondary benefit is it gets you surrounded by people going through the same trials you are. Not only are you able to preoccupy yourself with busy work, but you’re able to talk to people who are genuinely empathetic to your plight.

To Stay Sober:

In many ways this is similar to the journaling (mentioned above). If you’re continuing to help your community, you’ll meet people who are having an exceptionally difficult time staying sober – or getting sober. You’re able to see where you came from and remind you how you warded off the urge in those early days, and make you grateful for where you are today.

Adopt A Pet

To Get Sober:

Adopt a dog or a cat and take care of it. Buying a pet creates a wealth of responsibilities as you need to provide food, water, take the dog out for walks or sift through the cat’s litter. Animals offer a new routine to your daily life to keep you busy and aide in not feeling so isolated.

To Stay Sober:

A pet’s needs continue to grow as they get older and your attachment grows as well. There’s something to be said about being depended on and that may be all you need to stay sober, i.e. you can’t relapse because your pet needs you.

Download The Sober Day Counter App

To Get Sober:

The I Am Sober App is more than a day counter, it’s a sobriety calculator and social sharing app. You can see how many days you’ve gone without a drink – which is beneficial to you – but you can also share your milestones with friends and family. This can help create a consistent support system and remind you to persevere each day.

To Stay Sober:

You customize the tool how you want, but you can journal and document your progress alongside your milestones. You can see the photo of you 1 week sober as well as 1 year sober. The app makes you recognize your triumph. Celebrate and journey on.

Sobriety, one day at a time.

Download the app today!