Lifestyle Changes That Make Staying Sober Easier
Sobriety takes a lot of work, all twelve steps of the way. Unfortunately, while it may become easier over time not to pick up the bottle, you’ll have to keep vigilant to avoid a relapse. Addiction isn’t your fault, but the responsibility of staying sober rests on your shoulders all the same.
To help you live a sober lifestyle, we’ve put together this guide that will show you how you can increase your chances of maintaining a sober life. Those lifestyle changes include:
- Be honest
- Get moving
- Create and follow a budget
- Eat well
- Find a hobby
- Be thankful
- Sleep well
Let’s take some time to look at each of these in more depth and find out why they can be an important tool in your continued sobriety. Keep reading to learn more about each lifestyle change.
Staying Sober with Honesty
Honesty, especially with yourself, can be difficult. If you lie to yourself, you’re probably not going to call yourself out or impose any consequences. While you may experience consequences of the actions you’re lying about, they probably won’t be in your own hands.
All the same, honesty is crucial. You need to be open with yourself about how you’re feeling when you feel good, how you’re feeling when you want a drink, and how you would feel if jumped off the wagon.
You need to be honest with yourself every day.
How important is exercising for sobriety? It provides a number of benefits- exercise can improve the chances of staying sober by:
- Flooding your brain with natural endorphins to make you feel good.
- Boosting your energy.
- Helping you tone muscles and improve flexibility.
- Acting as a coping mechanism for stress.
- Providing structure if you have an exercise routine.
Regular exercise doesn’t have to mean you need to become a bodybuilder. Try a new sport or go for a daily walk. Choose a form of exercise that makes you feel happy, so you’ll be more inclined to stick with it.
Learn How to Budget
You might wonder what budgeting has to do with sobriety. Staying sober is often a task made more difficult by stress. What’s a major source of stress in life?
By learning how to budget, you can keep ahead of your finances and save yourself the stress. An added benefit of budgeting is if you don’t allow any spending on your addiction, for example, alcohol, you might be less likely to buy it.
Nutrition is Your Friend
Like exercise, a healthy diet can help you feel good. Eating right allows you to focus on taking in nutrients and keeping out harmful substances, like drugs and alcohol.
A balanced diet can improve your overall health, leading to potentially less money spent on medical costs. This helps you maintain a healthy budget, too–and as we said above, less stress.
Find a Hobby
Have you ever wanted to take up fishing? Or maybe you like to paint. A new hobby creates excitement in your life and can help fill the spare time you have now that you’re sober.
If your addiction is based on social use, a new hobby can be a pathway to making new friends whose presence in your life can be an uplifting one.
The other benefit to a new hobby is the opportunity to learn. Indulge your curiosity and pick up a new skill or hone skills you already have.
When we feel thankful for something or someone in our lives, we are filled with joy and purpose. If you’re thankful for a child, you might take extra steps to ensure that child not only has everything she or he needs to survive but that she or he has emotional fulfillment as well.
Being thankful is a great lifestyle change you can make for staying sober because it doesn’t require much time or physical effort. There are many ways you can embrace being thankful, but here’s one way to make it a regular practice:
- Set your alarm five minutes early.
- Put a pad and pen near your bed.
- Each morning for a week, write down one thing you’re thankful for.
- The next week, write down two things each day.
- The week after, write down three.
- Keep writing down three things you’re thankful for every morning. You can repeat things on your list if you wish.
Spending a few minutes each day feeling thankful is a great way to connect with the world around us and to find joy in life. This joy can be a balm against stress and temptation.
Staying Sober by Sleeping Well
Sleep is crucial for a number of reasons. When we sleep, our bodies heal and our brains rest. We need sleep in order to function the next day.
Consider the example of getting behind the wheel. Drivers who get less than seven hours of sleep experience impairments similar to driving drunk. The brain and body are slower to react, which can have deadly consequences.
If you’ve ever been light on sleep, you might know that when the middle of the afternoon rolls around, you have trouble keeping your eyes open. Remember when we said that a sober lifestyle requires vigilance? If you’re exhausted all the time, you not only won’t be able to handle stressors as easily, but you might not even recognize them.
When it comes to sleeping well, we know it can be tough. Since medicines to induce sleep are not usually recommended in the wake of addiction, we put together a list of other things you can try.
- Stay off of screens before bed. Read from a hard copy book if you like to read.
- Try some meditation or breathing exercises to help you drift off.
- Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. This might involve light-blocking curtains, a humidifier, the right pillow, and bedding, etc. Find what makes you comfortable and get it into your bedroom if you can.
- Play some soft music–like a lullaby.