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How to Stay Sober After Rehab

Last updated: January 12, 2019

The most challenging work confronting alcohol addicted patients is finding the best help that will sustain his or her sober behavior. We have heard of many patients who have undergone treatment from a number of rehabilitation facilities yet, you will find later that the patient is back again intoxicated and having to enjoy at least a few bottles even after alcohol rehab.

A lot of people who decide to stop drinking have a tough and bumpy time after undergoing treatment. While others view these times to reflect and ponder more about themselves, some patients and their family members get discouraged by the sober-non-sober cycle. Regardless of the tough times, it is always a better option to view these times in addiction treatment as times for growth. It is vital to always choose to believe and choose the high ground for a greater chance to win the many battles and, consequently, end the war victorious.

To win this battle of staying sober after rehab, it is important to remember that teamwork is essential. According to the book/manual guide written by McGrady and Epstein, overcoming alcoholism requires responsibility of both the patient and his partner- husband or wife, or a family member or trusted individual.

For the patient, it is important to do the following:

  1. Be observant of your drinking habits; what are your triggers to drink (i.e., eating out in restaurants, keeping liquor at home, TV or social media ads of liquors)?
  2. Change habits and things around you that can trigger drinking.
  3. Learn to do other positive things to fill your time.

For the partner, you can help by doing the following:

  1. Accompany the patient whenever there are therapy sessions, as the treatment involves both of you.
  2. Work on any homework assignments the therapist has given you.
  3. Remember that addiction is a pattern of a long time habit. It is important for you to be patient.
  4. Have faith that you and your partner can overcome an alcoholism problem.
  5. Be honest with your therapist about other problems you may have in your relationship.

The Patient’s Responsibility

The part that is essential in winning this battle of alcoholism even after rehab is, of course, the responsibility of the patient or recently sober. One thing that is a must is to practice self-monitoring. Since the struggle starts in the mind, it is important to know facts about yourself and your surroundings.

To do this, it is important to write these down as you notice them. It is crucial not to procrastinate on jotting down the things when they unfold because our memory is unreliable in recalling things.

By recording your drinking triggers and urges, your family and therapist will be able to have more understanding about what goes on in your day to day activities. Thereby, creating patterns in your life that can be helpful in keeping you sober as behavior chains that lead to drinking could be addressed.

Observing yourself helps you realize any causes of urges or cravings to drink. Self-monitoring is powerful if done diligently and on a daily basis.

Another benefit of monitoring, according to the experts, is that it also helps in assessing your family relationships and how satisfied you are with them. It is a fact that our relationships with family and those we love might not be consistently good or bad. Self-monitoring would help us take stock in how we progress in our everyday lives with them. Bear in mind that your family or loved ones are an essential source of support towards the fullness of recovery.

In self- monitoring the essential information that needs to be recorded are the following:

  1. See to it that you write the date(s) of the day(s) of monitoring
  2. Your urges to drink
  3. What type of drinks that you may have had that triggered you to drink more?
  4. What time of the day did the urges occur?
  5. How intense are the urges (i.e., 1-5 1 to be the weakest and 5 the strongest)?
  6. Amount of drinks craved
  7. Relationship satisfaction for that day.

Your family and therapist can be more effective in helping and supporting you as the days progress. It is critical to keep your cards easily seen in your home like on the bedside table, or near the room door, or you may also make for yourself a bulletin.

It is also vital to surround yourself with sober people who will also support you in your recovery. Avoid contacting friends or going to places who or which could trigger memories of drinking binges. Always have a positive outlook in life by being grateful always. Create new healthy habits such as reading books, gardening, biking, working out, etc.

The Partner’s Responsibility

Habits of heavy drinking are surely a challenge to the individual who is undergoing a change. However, the support of the people around him or her can help ease the burden. Your help is a must! The good news is that small gestures of kindness can do have big impacts such as saying pleasant things, and complimentary remarks can be potent and effective. Words of encouragement can go a long way. For example, saying “You are looking good”, “I Love You”, “Thank you” among other nice remarks of encouragement and appreciation can lift someone up when they are faced with a difficult day.

It is also important to talk about the good memories you have as a family or a good memory of him as a husband or as a wife. It is important to list down things which would uplift his or her spirit such as recognizing their efforts.

Your acts of goodness or appreciation must also be seen for him to continue well. One of which is giving or leaving notes stating your appreciation or making a phone call just to say your regards or I love you or bringing something that he or she likes. It is also very important to know his or her love language. Some people feel loved when they are appreciated. While some feel the love when they are given with gifts, others feel the love when the considerable time is spent with them. Others feel love when they are physically touched, kissed, or hugged.

Incidence of Slips

The road to recovery is surely hard; there are many times that one may stumble or slip.

In this situation, you could think of it as a mistake or a slip, a mistake from which something is learned or prolapse, or maybe a hopeless blunder- a relapse. It should be noted that relapse should not be magnified in any situation. Instead, you should stand firm and move on and treat this as another lesson to learn and an obstacle to overcome. It should be important to remind yourself:

  1. Do not panic. A drink does not define you.
  2. Ponder on what is going on. Actively assess the situation where does the event (dinner, party, etc.) is heading to.
  3. Be aware self-condemning feelings once the commitment is violated. Self-defeating thoughts such as “I failed”, I’ll never be able to overcome” etc. would come with feelings of hopelessness and guilt. It is important to refute these thoughts and feelings at once.
  4. Renew commitment. Think about your reasons (family, respect, honor, etc.) why you wanted to quit drinking and think of the long-term benefits of having a sober life.
  5. Decide to move on towards achieving the better you.
  6. Respond objectively and intelligently to mistakes.
  7. Ask for help.

About the author

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

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