Tips and Advice on Creating an Addiction Recovery Plan
People with alcohol problems generally have two main issues to deal with in order to live a booze-free life:
- How to stop drinking
- How to stay stopped
Some people say stopping is the easy part, especially if you have plenty of support and undertake a medical alcohol detox. We know it’s not easy and we also know that there are many factors to consider when attempting to stop drinking. Check out our outpatient detox page and alcohol home detox page for more information on how to stop drinking.
So, what happens after detox? Whether you manage to stop drinking on your own or with medical help, the next challenge is how to stay stopped. Well, as experienced addiction professionals, we know the period directly after stopping drinking – and once you are through withdrawals – is tentative time.
Recovering from alcohol misuse and completing an alcohol detox is a significant milestone. So, if you have just sobered up, then congratulations on putting the alcohol down and going through the withdrawal process – we know it’s a considerable achievement to do it.
And the hard part is really out of the way.
We know post-detox that thoughts might be all over the place, stress and irritability might creep in and living life sober could well be a challenge. There’s a good argument that drinking really isn’t the problem, and that it’s living life sober that is the actual problem. In addition to the following information on hints and tips on what to do to stay sober, there are alcohol abstinence medications which can be amazingly beneficial when in recovery. It’s worth looking at them too.
So, here’s our guide to staying sober straight after detoxing.
Create A Post-Detox Plan
Transitioning from detox treatment – or simply from daily drinking – to everyday life requires a structured and supportive plan. A plan is a sensible idea otherwise it’s just a case of taking things as they come and this is a delicate time. A plan will allow you to provision for ongoing support, guidance and resources to help you navigate any challenges you may face after leaving detox.
Some of the benefits of post-detox aftercare plans include:
- Continued therapy and counselling to address underlying issues and triggers
- Access to support groups and peer networks for ongoing encouragement and accountability
- Tools and strategies for relapse prevention and coping with cravings
- Opportunities to rebuild relationships and establish a healthy support system
- Assistance in setting and achieving personal and professional goals
Set Goals for Your Long-Term Sobriety
Goals give you direction and help you work out what’s important and provide aims. A key aspect of life after alcohol detox is setting clear and achievable goals for long-term recovery. It’s a good idea to have a plan that outlines specific steps to take in order to maintain sobriety.
Here are some steps you can take to establish a rock solid recovery plan:
- Identify Your Goals: Start by identifying your personal goals for recovery. These could include physical, emotional and social life. For example, a goal could be attending at least 5 one-hour mutual support groups a week.
- Create an Action Plan: Break down your goals into actionable steps. For each goal, outline the specific actions you need to take to achieve it. For example, planning healthy meals in advance.
- Seek Professional Guidance: Consult with an addiction specialist or counsellor, such as Detox Today, to help you create a personal sobriety plan. We can provide valuable insights and support in setting goals.
- Attend Therapy/Counselling: Regular therapy or counselling sessions will help you address any previous trauma or issues, develop coping strategies and allow you to talk in confidence to someone who cares.
- Attend Support Groups: Joining local support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery can provide an invaluable support network of people who understand the challenges of alcohol recovery and support you throughout.
Work On Friends and Family Relationships
Addiction often takes a toll on relationships with family and friends. One of the important main joys and challenges with a sober life after alcohol detox is working on relationships. Here are some strategies to help you repair and strengthen your relationships:
- Communicate: Be open and honest with your loved ones about your recovery journey. Communicate your commitment to change and let them know you want to rebuilt lost trust.
- Seek Family Therapy: Family therapy can provide a safe space for healing. It can help address any issues with family and provide guidance on rebuilding healthy relationships. Families can and do get rebuilt and are often stronger afterwards.
- Become active with others: Alcohol-free activities, sports and hobbies can be fin and bring family and friends together. This will foster new happy memories and help re-bonding.
- Patience and Forgiveness: Recovery is a process and it takes time for relationships to heal. Practicing patience and forgiveness are good traits in recovery and are helpful for yourself and others.
- Remove Toxic People: This is a tricky one and also not exactly the most positive advice you’ll ever hear. But, many people with alcohol problems can have them exacerbated by unpleasant upbringings, relationships of friends or family who may be harmful physically and psychologically. Speaking to a counsellor about your relationships is beneficial.
Do Alcohol-Free Activities
Filling the time that you would drink can be harder than you think. Boredom and lack of stimulation often causes relapse. Find new activities and hobbies – or restart old ones that have fallen by the wayside – to replace the time and energy previously spent on drinking.
- Fitness: Try new exercise or sports activities. Physical fitness not only improves your overall health but also helps reduce stress and boost mood.
- Creative Pursuits: Try new creative activities such as painting, writing, music or photography. These activities can be an outlet for self-expression and provide a sense of fulfilment and joy.
- Volunteering: The phrases “you’ve got to give it away to keep it” and “pass it forward” are non-more valid than in alcohol recovery. Helping with community service or volunteer work and giving back to others can be a rewarding and purposeful way to spend your time.
- Education and study: Take up a new hobby or enrol in a course. It doesn’t have to be too academic, maybe a leisure class or hobby.
Sort Your Triggers
Triggers are situations, emotions or even people that can lead to a relapse. SO, it maks sense to arm yourself with knowledge of these trigger and try to avoid or manage them. Here are some strategies to help you handle triggers effectively:
- Identify Triggers: Pay attention to situations, people or emotions that may trigger cravings or obsessions for alcohol. You might want to write them down in a journal or phone notes.
- Develop Coping Systems: Once you’ve identified your triggers you can develop coping mechanisms to help deal with them. This can include relaxation techniques, deep breathing exercises or distracting yourself. It’s a good idea to have a trusted, sober person who you can call – see below.
- Seek Support: Create a support network of people you can turn to when you’re feeling triggered. It could be a therapist, a mutual aid support group meeting or call a trusted friend or sponsor.
- Create Your Environment: Creating an alcohol-free environment by removing or avoiding triggers makes sense. Maybe you need to changes to your social circle or avoid certain places. It’s definitely a good idea to establishing boundaries with people who enabled drinking, such as like fiends from a pub or bar.
The Importance of Continued Recovery Work
Recovery is an ongoing process, perhaps for life, but that’s okay. If done right, it’ll only lead to a wonderful life, free from active addiction and misery, and most likely you’ll end up happy. A lot of people that receive detox treatment or who stop drinking probably drunk for a number of years or decades. So, it’s futile to think that a 7-day withdrawal process form alcohol is suddenly going to fix you. Continuing treatment and therapy – whatever form that takes – leads to long-term sobriety. Here are some reasons why continuing your recovery is important:
- Addressing Mental Health: Therapy helps address any underlying mental health issues or behaviours (reasons for drinking) that may have contributed to your addiction. It provides a safe space to explore and work through these issues.
- Relapse Prevention: Ongoing therapy and recovery work gives you the tools and strategies necessary to prevent relapse. Groups such as AA give ongoing support and guidance to help with challenges of everyday living.
- Accountability and Responsibility: Regular treatment sessions provide a sense of accountability and responsibility. Really responsible people do not go drink until they pass out on a regular basis, so becoming responsible through learning helps keep you sober.
- Self-Worth Post detox your spirits might be low. You may have esteem issues or a sense of dread. By continuing to receive support you can overcome these in no time at all, improving you overall mental, emotional and physical health.
One Day at a Time
We know it’s a cliché, but ask anyone who’s long-term sober and they’ll agree. In effect, all you have to do it get to bed sober tonight. That’s it. And let tomorrow take care of itself. And if you are in recovery and doing everything you should stay sober, then the odds are that you won’t drink tomorrow. You can rebuild and rediscover yourself. It’s a process and it takes time. Here are some good principles to keep in mind:
- Self-Care: Nothing is more important that self-care. Nothing. So, prioritise it and make time for yourself. You can’t be of any use to anyone else if you are drinking, can you? So, look after you. Do things that bring you joy and relaxtion.
- Celebrate Milestones: Please celebrate your milestones and achievements along the way. You deserve to be commended, don’t you? Recovery is hard and you deserve sobriety and to celebrate it.
- Connection is the Opposite of Addiction: Addiction isolates people. Connections with your support network make all the difference. By attending support group meetings, staying in touch with your therapist or counsellor (if you have one), and leaning on your loved ones for support, you’ll be connecting to life and start to feel part of.
- Foster Growth and Change: Change is a great thing. Everything that has ever happened to you that’s been amazing happened because of change, right? Change doesn’t does just bring bad stuff. Please embrace personal growth and change. By explore new interests, setting new goals and challenging yourself to become the best version of yourself, you’ll overcome all kinds of misery and the past will be left behind.
Reach Out & Ask For Help
Post-detox recovery is challenging. But you can do it. Recovery is a lifelong commitment and will be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself. If you have the right mindset and resources, you can overcome anything and flourish. Taking life one day at a time, you will recover. And please remember, you are NEVER alone on your journey. Reach out to us if you need any more advice or help to stay sober or are just feeling a bit unsure – we are here to help, and all our advice is free. Just call on 0800 009 6675 and ask for ideas on a recovery plan.