How to Stay Sober When People Around You Don’t
One of the most difficult things you’ll encounter when you try to stay sober is other people getting drunk or high around you who don’t understand why you are working so hard. To them, it is easier to bring someone down than to lift someone up, or even to lift themselves up. Most of the time, these people will wear you down and try to get you to relapse. Whether it be the denial of their own issues or active addiction leading them to manipulate others, these individuals don’t have your best interest in mind. The only thing you can do is stay strong and be unwilling to bend no matter what. Your sobriety and your well being are well worth it, no matter how strong your addiction is.
How You Can Stay Sober
If you’re in recovery and have been tempted to use due to peer pressure or others using around you, you may be wondering how to stay sober in these challenging situations. Fortunately, there are some things you can consider to help protect yourself and your sobriety. In this article, we determine some of the best ways you can stay sober when your family, friends, or other loved ones don’t.
Remove Yourself from Tempting Situations
First thing’s first, removing yourself from a situation where people use alcohol or drugs is the best possible way to help yourself stay sober. There is no question that this is the best way to protect your sobriety when you feel it may be in danger. However, sometimes it just isn’t possible. For example, you may live with an active addict. Furthermore, even if you do your absolute best to stay away from mind-altering substances, it will only be a matter of time before you go to a party where alcohol is served. That happens all the time because alcohol is legal and totally socially acceptable. So, while leaving a tempting situation is the best thing you can do, you should also be able to protect your sobriety when the situation doesn’t allow you to leave.
This is where accountability comes into play. You need to be your own boss and have a strong backbone. You need to be able to say no to people when they tempt you. You also need to know your own limits so that you may remove yourself from a situation when this limit is reached. And, that might mean making some major lifestyle changes.
Some Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Protect Your Sobriety
Create distance between yourself and people who don’t stay sober. This isn’t always completely possible, but you can make an effort to do your best. If you live in an unhealthy situation, move if your situation allows it. Don’t go to the same places you used to drink or get high as they can be a relapse trigger. Finally, you have friends that aren’t in recovery, you can let them know that being around them isn’t healthy for your new lifestyle. While this may mean losing some friendships, the ones who are truly your friends will understand. And, support your recovery even if it means they can no longer drink/use drugs around you or hang out with you at all.
Never give in to the temptation or think you can handle “just one”. You can’t. Period. Countless people relapse by giving in to the idea that they are “normal” and can handle just one drink, or just one hit, every single day. Unfortunately, you’re not normal, you have an addiction. It is extremely rare – nearly unheard of – that a person can go from dealing with an addiction to being able to do any substance responsibly. Just say no, 100% of the time. When you stick to this rule, you’ll never have to experience the slippery slope of relapse.
Make sure you have plenty of sober friends. Filling your time with sober activities and sober people will help you feel like you aren’t alone in trying to stay sober. They will help you see that things are ok and that there are plenty of things you can do, and there is fun to be had, without being under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Plus, when you stop hanging out with your friends who use drugs or alcohol, you’ll need a new support system. And, these friends should be sober as they will share the same need to protect sobriety. Additionally, sober friends can accompany you to parties or situations where you may be tempted to relapse. After all, there is strength in numbers. As the common saying goes, “two heads are better than one”.
The Inevitable Need for Sober Lifestyle Changes
There’s a saying that if you hang out at a barbershop long enough, you’ll eventually get a haircut. It is an analogy for when you are around drugs and alcohol a lot, you’ll eventually give in. For many it is true. In the end, you have to decide whether or not you can handle a situation, make sure to remove yourself from anything that puts you in over your head and make the needed lifestyle changes to ensure that your sobriety progresses.
Unfortunately, all too often, people think they can leave treatment and go back to life as it was with their newly acquired knowledge and vulnerable sobriety. However, for these individuals, relapse is almost unavoidable. Sadly, 40-60% of people relapse in the earliest days following treatment graduation. And, even more unfortunate, many of these individuals die from overdose immediately following physical relapse. So, when you make the necessary lifestyle changes to protect your sobriety and learn when to say no to those around you, you’re not just protecting your sobriety. You’re protecting your life.
The effort to stay sober needs to come from within. You need to constantly work on yourself to realize the value of recovery, and to realize that you are worth it. You always need to play the whole story out and remember how far down alcohol or drugs brought you, so that you do everything in your power to prevent it from getting even close to there again.
Help After Treatment Graduation with Alumni Support
Here at Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, we offer our treatment graduates a way to keep up with sobriety efforts even after they’re done with treatment. We understand that the earliest days in recovery are crucial to sobriety success. And we know that changing your lifestyle is something that’s not always easy to accomplish. So, we provide a number of aftercare programs to help treatment graduates, including our alumni program. This allows past treatment graduates to gain helpful resources, keep up with recovery peers, and even utilize therapeutic services when needed.
Furthermore, we are one of the only treatment centers that offers a 100% treatment guarantee. This means that if you relapse within the first 30 days after treatment, we allow you to come back to our facility for another round of treatment support absolutely free of charge.
**Originally published on January 15, 2018. Updated on June 26th, 2019.