If you’ve struggled with alcoholism in the past, you know how difficult it can be to stay sober even after you resolve to start drinking more responsibly. No matter how strong your resolve, there will be times when you feel tempted to relapse, which is why it’s crucial that you have strategies you can rely on when you feel the urge to drink. Here are five of the best techniques for getting sober and staying sober.
A Little Help from Your Friends
Research has shown that isolation can be dangerous when you’re attempting to stay clean. Being alone can make you feel like your alcohol abuse is a problem you need to face alone, and it can also worsen feelings of anxiety and depression that may make you want to drink again. To help prevent relapse, spend as much of your time as possible in the company of close friends, family members, or anyone that you can count on to provide support you in your recovery with positive reinforcement, while still holding you accountable.
Use the 24-Hour Plan
The ‘24-hour plan’ is a strategy used to prevent relapse on a day-to-day basis. It involves telling yourself that, no matter what happens today, you won’t drink, and planning out as much of the day as possible. The beauty of a 24-hour plan is that a lifetime of sobriety often feels overwhelming, but staying sober for a day isn’t so hard.
Make a Gratitude List
Another way to get through days where you feel the urge to drink is to keep a gratitude list. A gratitude list is a list of things you are grateful for that you can look at on tougher days for motivation and a little spark of happiness. Include achievements you’ve had and strides you’ve made towards sobriety on this list to remind yourself of the progress you’ve made. Check your gratitude list frequently to combat the urge to drink by focusing on the things in your life that make you happy.
Use a Mobile Sobriety Tracker
Around 2012, the mobile breathalyzer movement kicked off with Soberlink’s smartphone breathalyzer, the first of its kind. The “Mobile Breath” movement gained strength as struggling alcoholics realized the value of mobile breathalyzers as accountability devices. When you have the ability to test your BAC at any time, even on the go, you can force yourself to acknowledge the times you’re drunk or buzzed, and can also pride yourself on seeing the ‘0’ reading on good days. You can also breathalyze yourself every few hours as a routine, which can deter you from drinking since you know you’ll have to face the test.
Have a ‘Watchdog’ Friend
A ‘watchdog’ is used here to mean a friend who checks in with you frequently to see how you’re doing, offer support, and most importantly, to prevent you from relapsing. Make sure it’s a friend that you trust, and ideally one you already spend a lot of time with. Spend time with them when possible to to keep yourself occupied, content and sober, and have them text and call you a few times throughout the day when you aren’t together. It’s much easier to stay sober when you know you’ll have to face your friend if you get drunk.
By using these five strategies, you can fight urges to relapse and give yourself the best chance to get and stay sober. The most important thing is to recognize that recovery from alcohol abuse will take time, and to take things one step at a time. So long as you use strategies like these and keep in mind that every day sober is a victory, staying sober can be a very realistic goal.