You’ve just finished primary drug treatment. Twenty-eight days spent re-discovering the inner you. Plush emotions bursting through, perhaps you’ve begun keeping a journal where you write about your latest revelations. Twenty-eight days spent learning. Learning how drug and alcohol abuse damage your body and damage your brain. Learning the latest coping technique, the latest mind/body wellness philosophy, and learning how to prevent relapse. And then you discharge. Life has never been so good. Your family wants to take you out to a nice dinner. You turn on your cell phone only to find twenty-eight new text messages (seemingly fate) from friends old and new. You check your Facebook newsfeed and see the pictures of the latest party or night out at the bar. You can’t wait to see everyone and tell everyone about EVERYTHING you have learned. And most importantly, tell how you will never drink or use again, because this way of life is just SO much better. Day 36: You wake up and life is a barren desert. The ground is hard and cracked. You’re looking at your feet and can’t figure out why you have no shoes on while walking in the sandy blistering heat. Is the path always this hard? You saw your family and it was great. But now your mother or father is constantly asking if you went to a 12-step meeting. You saw your friends and it was really amazing. But hanging out with them sober just wasn’t as good as hanging out with them drunk. You saw the girl or guy you had a crush on, and despite being sober, you’re no more attracted to him/her. Now what? Well, now it’s time to learn how to live life sober. Primary addiction treatment programs are a wonderful place to begin developing a great foundation. So before the foundation begins to crack, here is the pocket guide for staying sober:
- Go to a 12-step meeting. Raise your hand and say you’re new and looking to meet some sober people.
- Get a sponsor. Work the 12-steps. They’re called 12-step meetings for a reason!
- Hang out with sober people!
- Remember you’re different but not different. Doesn’t make sense? Try this on: you’re different from all your non-sober friends (i.e. you don’t drink or use drugs), but not at all different from your new sober friends (i.e. your stories may be different, but the feelings are the same. Identify!).
- There are only two things you can’t do: drink alcohol or use drugs. Everything else is just a dream away.
- And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help!