The path to recovery from alcohol addiction is not always easy. Recovering alcoholics face challenges not only from within, but from society as a whole. Being sober may bring about many changes in a person’s life, which can bring difficulties. Additionally, the roller coaster of recovery can be a whirlwind. Temptation and old habits lurk around every corner, but there are ways the recovering alcoholic can solidify their success.
Most people in recovery started out in some form of substance abuse treatment. There they will learn the skills to stay sober in a controlled environment. But the outside world is not controlled; there are many situations that a person could get into that they would never see while treatment.
The most obvious would be places that serve alcohol. Bars, liquor stores, restaurants, gas stations and a multitude of other places offer various forms of alcoholic beverages. When a person is new in recovery, it’s a good idea to try to avoid these places. But that does not mean the alcoholic should turn into a hermit. It’s about finding their own personal boundaries and understanding which environments they can be in.
To truly solidify recovery from alcoholism, a person should avoid tempting environments when possible. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are many places that serve alcohol. It would be impossible to avoid all of them. But being truly honest about the establishment and what it means personally is the key. Going to a family restaurant where they have beer on the menu along with soda and coffee is different than going to a tavern where all they serve is liquor.
Those in recovery also need to surround themselves with others that are sober. Having a strong support network is vital to success. This does not mean that someone in recovery cannot socialize with those who are not. Instead, try to think of it as the more the merrier. If a person in recovery has a group of friends also in recovery, it offers more pro-social activities and support for everyone. Additionally, people who have experience in recovery may want to consider sponsoring people that are new. This is a great way to continue the process, as well being the twelfth step in Alcoholics Anonymous, which states that a person shall carry the message of recovery to other alcoholics.
The third and arguably most important way to solidify success in recovery, is to keep checking in with one’s self. People in recovery are used to reflective exercises in treatment and support groups. But continuing to do these on their own will keep them in check with their feelings. There will be good days and bad days in recovery, and a person must be honest about that. If a person in recovery is having tempting thoughts, they need to take action. The alcoholic can go to a meeting, call their sponsor, or write about their feelings. Having tempting thoughts is not wrong, nor does it mean that the person in recovery is failing. As long as the person is honest and takes action before it’s too late, then everything is fine.
The road to recovery from addiction is one that will last a lifetime. By avoiding tempting environments, keeping in contact with others in recovery, and being reflective about the process, recovering alcoholics can solidify their sobriety. Recovery is not always easy, but as long as it’s taken one day at a time, there can be great success.