The most important part of recovery is sustaining the changes that you achieve through treatment. After the detox, after you’ve built your new habits, you must make conscious decisions every day toward maintaining the new lifestyle you’ve created for yourself. The important thing is to take what you’ve learned and planned for yourself in treatment and build it into lifelong habits that sustain and transform you.
There are a couple of steps that you can take to make this easier on yourself. It is important to remember that each of these will look different for each individual. These are guideposts and outlines, and you must take them and make them your own.
List Goals & How you will Achieve them
Alcohol abuse often is the result of depression or stress, so setting life goals and moving toward them can help you to build healthy ways of handling the struggles that will challenge you. By understanding that you are in charge of your future, AA empowers you to make your own choices, set your personal goals, and chart the course for your life.
Determine what is important to you, focus on that, and build goals around them. For example, if your goal is to get in shape, list steps that you can take to make that a reality. Make a specific, measurable goal, whether it is to run a 5k in under 30 minutes, or losing a few pounds. The key is then to mark out specific steps that will get you where you want to go. Set goals to go to the gym three times a week, or to run a mile every day.
Set short-term goals that you can achieve and will move you forward.
Alcoholism often undermines our relationships with our families and friends, many of whom want to see us succeed. Reaching out to those we have hurt is a vital part of AA, and allows us to not only repair the damage done by addiction but also develops more healthy support mechanisms that can help us stay clean.
Establish new alcohol-free Hobbies
For many of us, Alcoholism becomes as habit itself and when we have spare time the urge to drink can feel overwhelming. Set yourself up for success by engaging in new hobbies. If there was something you used to do before Alcoholism, this could be a great chance to return to something that used to bring you joy.
If this is not an option for you, take the time to try different hobbies. Explore different activities and learn a little more about yourself to find something that engages you. Hobbies can be a handy tool to keep our mind off our addictions.
The sad truth is that no matter how carefully we avoid opportunities to drink, eventually, sooner or later, the opportunity will arise. The decisions we make to keep our house clean, to prevent places where alcohol is served, to stay away from parties, are all there to give us safe places where we can let good habits and thought patterns grow and be reinforced. Ultimately, we will need to rely on these good habits to get us through times of temptation.
By knowing that opportunities will arise, we can prepare for them, know what we will say and how we will turn down the drink.
Join Local Support Group
The final and most important step in staying clean is joining and remaining active in your local AA group. Not only will you be encouraged, but you will have the opportunity to strengthen and help others along their journey to becoming clean. The community and shared experiences of AA is the most important tool in staying the course of sobriety.