For recovering addicts, their main priority is to achieve sobriety and do everything that they can to avoid relapsing. But, recovering from any addiction can be incredibly challenging, both physically and mentally. After all, there are several triggers that can cause an addict to relapse, whether that’s the stress and anxiety of integrating themselves back into society or the challenges that come hand in hand with rebuilding their relationships again.  So what does it take to stay sober long-term?  

How to stay sober long-term

Identify your personal triggers  

A huge part of staying sober is being able to identify the triggers that threaten to impact your road to recovery and cause you to relapse. This involves understanding your external triggers – the people, places and things that provoke the overwhelming urges that are responsible for relapses.  

Common triggers include emotional distress, stress, environmental cues, friends or family still using drugs or drinking, relationship troubles, career worries, or financial concerns.  

Once you recognise these warning signs, it’s vitally important that you remove yourself from these situations as quickly as possible. Warning signs include returning to addictive thinking patterns, displaying compulsive behaviours, or thinking less rationally.  

Avoid old routines and habits  

Avoiding old routines and habits is key to a successful recovery, as hanging around the same people and places that played a part in your addiction will make it much easier to slip back into your old behaviours and habits. 

You may also need to change aspects of your daily routine to avoid your personal triggers, including the places, people or things that you associate with your addiction. For example, you might need to change your route to work, move out of the area you’re living in, or avoid social settings where you know drugs and alcohol will be present.  

Build healthy relationships  

During your sobriety journey, try to focus on building healthy relationships, whilst seeking out new hobbies you can enjoy with your family and friends that don’t involve drinking or taking drugs. 

If you attend support groups, this is a great opportunity to make new friends and develop healthy, supportive relationships.  

Get support  

Finally, remember that there’s no time limit on how long your recovery will take and many people need lifelong support to ensure that they do not relapse. You should never be afraid to seek out this support when you need it.  

A mental health professional can help you cope with the challenges you may encounter on your journey to recovery, helping you to learn new coping skills, develop new thinking patterns, and address any co-occurring mental health conditions that are impacting your journey. 

How we can help 

At ANA, we work closely with our clients to help rebuild their lives and stay sober long term, gain confidence and self-worth and believe that they can live a healthy, responsible, and productive life, free of addictive substances. 

Contact ANA today, our friendly team is on hand and ready to help.