Congratulations! Making the difficult decision to get sober means you’ve already gotten past a huge hurdle. And while figuring out where to go from here can be confusing and scary, it can also be exciting, hopeful and rewarding. So what should you do now? Specifically, what key steps should you take to start living sober?
To start, be patient — with yourself and with the process. While it’s normal to want things to change immediately for the better, authentic change happens gradually. Remind yourself that every day is a learning experience and that you’ll get stronger and more self-confident in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
Now more than ever it’s important to live in the present and stay focused on what you need to do today to strengthen your recovery — daily tasks like attending meetings, getting proper rest, eating right and exercising. In addition, it’s important to have a list of goals that you’re actively working on. These include short-term goals (reading recovery literature or working through a 12-step program) as well as long-term ones like mending frayed relationships or becoming financially stable.
And perhaps the most important part of living sober is developing an attitude that springs from hope, not dread. In other words, try to find the positive side of things and start looking forward to your sober future. The promise of hope can be an energizing fuel; it can help you tackle ever-more challenging goals, grow and experience successes and restore the faith in yourself that you may have lost along the way.
Sources: Alcoholics Anonymous; Case Western Reserve University; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Commission; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.