25 Tips For Staying Sober

This post will give you a nice handy reference to many tips for not just getting sober, but for staying sober.

This distills the wealth of information on this blog—not all of it—but some of the basic ideas having to do with remaining sober for the long haul.

1. Motivate yourself every day

It’s hard to think about your alcoholism, but it’s essential to give yourself a little reminder every single day. I’ve written, before, about various ways of remaining positive, and of gearing up for a good day each day. It’s not about beating yourself up or dwelling on anything depressing, but revving yourself up each day.

2. Stay away from negative influences

This can mean coming off as unfriendly, but it’s worth it.

3. Have a physical hobby

If you have a weekly basketball game with the boys or a hike with your girlfriend, I’d recommend stepping it up to have a bit of weight lifting or a run or something just about every day. You need to understand what’s happening in your body when you quit drinking.

4. Have a supportive community

Maybe you’ve spent some time in AA or in a program of some kind. Keep ties with people you’ve met this way, or in one way or another, be sure to know other recovering alcoholics. There will be things they understand that your sober friends don’t, and confiding in them during hard times will be very helpful to you.  These folks will be lifesavers.

5. Celebrate your sobriety

It’s crucial that you don’t look at sobriety as a punishment. This is something that all successful recoverers figure out instinctively-and embrace—after a year or two. People who remain sober love being sober, and they focus on the positive not the negative.

6. Have fun sober

Going along with this, you have to be able to have fun sober, even if you’re around drink. This means getting yourself into a good mood and thus not needing drink. You have to will it.  Now, this is facilitated by increasing your oxytocin and a lot of other things that are described in this post.  All of these things will help you be the kind of person who can be more joyful in general and to have the mental strength to get through holidays and other times when everyone is drinking.

7. Have another vice

Now, let me explain. I’m not encouraging anything unhealthy or destructive here, but something to replace alcohol. It has to be something that isn’t habit forming and that won’t harm you in any way.  It can be something like playing cards—at low stakes; indulging in a particular junk food (remember, you’re exercising a lot); maybe something fun and interesting, but ultimately harmless.  Even if it’s thrilling in its own way, whatever it is, it’s better than drink.

8. Do something new

I took up photography. I started learning about digital effects and filters and various tricks. It was great—something I put no pressure on, that I knew I had no real talent for, something I could freely explore as a lark.  It makes you think differently and does, therefore, wonderful things for your overall brain chemistry.



9.Get involved in the community

There are many ways to do this. It could be something having to do with coaching a baseball team, or volunteering in charity events every month or so. It can be helping as a crosswalk person down at the school—schedule permitting—or anything like that.  This is all about increasing oxytocin, which makes you feel safe and, thus, more positive.  It’s about making you feel better about yourself, making you feel needed, keeping you busy.  Further, it creates a you quite different from the one who got involved in drinking to begin with.

10.Improve your mind

This might be under the larger category of doing new things and having hobbies, but the intellectual nature of it bears its own mention. One of the most meaningful things you can do is build up your brain. I’ve been reading a lot of things about filmmaking and also about this history of Native Americans, including the Zuni who lived in New Mexico, where I previously did.  I’ve also read some of the higher brow stuff online, such as Science, Wired, and Harper’s Magazine. The reason this is so meaningful is that exercising the mind is intimate and intense and something in which you will take incredible pride.  Nothing is like new knowledge, information, and ideas.  It’s something no one can take from you, and it will make life better.

11.Make a goal for improvement

Now, you’re saying, “improvement? Isn’t sobriety enough?” Absolutely.  But what facilitates it is a host of other elements.  One of these can be a quest to elevate your life in some way, whether it be a better job, a promotion, writing a book, running a fast mile, etc.  Setting a goal like that will give you great focus—it’ll help so much with your sobriety, and you won’t even remember that’s why you’re doing it.

12. Be grateful

There’s a way in which this relates back to seeing sobriety as a positive and not as a chore. Yet, it extends well beyond that. Be grateful that you were able to make it this far; be grateful you have a chance to do some great things for other people; but go beyond those things, too, and make being grateful a habit.  Be grateful you live in a place with running water, that you aren’t a soldier in combat, anything.  Think of something positive your parents did for you when you were a child and be grateful for that. As with other things I’ve mentioned here, being grateful is so beneficial for us in many ways.  It does great things for our brain chemistry, making everything better.  Any positive thing you can do for yourself will in turn facilitate your ongoing sobriety.

13. Be humble

Being addicted to something is all about seeking pleasure. It’s about feeling that youshould have an awful lot of whatever it is you want, that you shouldn’t feel suffering or a lack of what you desire. Humility can get you out of that bind.  We’re all humans living our lives, and no one promised we wouldn’t have suffering.  If you’re bored or dull or for no real reason, just longing for drink, know that everyone longs for something.  It’s hard, but you’re in the ultimate good company, the company of everyone.

14. Lay down foundations

Say you’re married. You may plan to have children, which gives you a major commitment. If you and your spouse already have kids, you may make a commitment having to do with grandchildren, sending your kids through college, etc. The foundations you lay down really don’t have to do with family or with children who will grow to be adults.  But it should really be something longterm, whether it be starting a business or putting together a Journey tribute band.

15. See a therapist

This should not be a matter of whether or not you “need” to see a therapist. I mean, at some point, you should be able to cut those ties, but it’s best to be on the safe side. The thing is, talking to a therapist about all sorts of things in your life is important.  Keeping on top of things and keeping balance can help prevent conditions that might cause you to backslide. Especially if you also have a cocaine addiction issue.

16. Read about successful people

When you’re recovering and recovered and trying to remain that way, it’s important to remain committed.  One thing I’ve found very helpful is watching documentaries, quick youtube videos, or whatever, on tycoons, athletes, businessmen, etc.  Sometimes I read articles or books.  I do it for a specific reason, having nothing to do with wanting to make millions in a tech industry or anything like that.  I do it because these books, while slightly boastful and a bit irritating, do the trick for a recovered alcoholic.  They sometimes make me a bit envious, perhaps a bit inadequate in comparison.  They make me want to get out there and do something myself that can compete.  This causes me to remember that I’m in the midst of a long recovery, one that can be considered a good accomplishment.  It prevents me from backsliding or slacking, since my head is filled with ideas having to do with motivation and being an achiever and all that.  In fact, every once in a while, they have some good tips.

17. Become a beverage master

I’m full of weird ideas, right?  What is a beverage meister?  Perhaps he’s the fellow who knows the difference between one Ethiopian blend of coffee and another.  Maybe he has intimidating metal machinery for tea.  Maybe he collects obscure brands of ginger beer (this is soda, like root beer) or Japanese energy drinks.  Going this route means tipping your wrist and taking in refreshing liquids, so you won’t miss those stimuli.

18. Teach something

Teaching is very rewarding, and releases oxytocin, which is at the heart of everything good.  You can teach fishing or tire changing or anything, to anyone.  It’s a way of fostering relationships, and it’s really a way of feeling better about yourself.

19. Keep family strong

Whether we’re talking about your parents, a spouse, sibling, whomever, it’s important to keep ties strong.  Ultimately, people with blood bonds care about you and will be there for you.

20. Write about recovery

You might keep a sort of diary, not necessarily anything you need to keep up every single day, but something you turn to when it’s time to vent.  It’s nothing you’ll show to anyone—be honest and speak from the heart.  You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn about yourself and how much better you’ll feel.

21. Value sobriety more and more

After a while, it can be easy to take for granted the wonderful success you’ve attained.  It’s important to keep renewing how much value you place on sobriety.  It’s a fun and easy thing to do, simply valuing something that you have every right to value.  Think of it as an object and protect it.

22. Consider spiritual options

You really have to come at recovery—including maintaining recovery—from a variety of angles.  That allows for something to fall through at particular moments and still be bolstered by your other approach.  When the going is getting rough, if it’s not part of your regime already, you may look into meditation, church, prayer, books and DVD’s on related issues, etc.

23. Catch yourself making excuses

It’s possible to build up a discipline for understanding when you’re not being as tough on yourself as you should be.  Listen to the voice that’s developing along those lines and act accordingly.  Don’t put up with any excuses from yourself.

24. Do it your own way

Don’t adapt to some new plan you get somewhere and let yourself get pulled in many directions.  Don’t allow people to second guess you.  Whatever works for you works.  Don’t change your mind.

25. Don’t quit

In conclusion, friends, don’t quit.  Stupid as this sounds, what I mean by it is, just don’t quit.  Some people will have few setbacks and some will have many.  Don’t worry about a bit of backsliding or ups and downs or ins and outs—just don’t quit.

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