Every day I talk with people from all over the world about their addictions, recovery and their life. A question that most people ask me is, “how do I stay clean?” People are always looking for tips and tricks to stay on the right track of sobriety. Now let me be clear from the start. Every single one of us is different. There is no perfect solution that works for everyone. Any advice I give in this blog is for you to take at face value. It may help you or it may not, but these helped me. One thing I will tell you is that your mind is extremely powerful. If you want to live a sober life, you can. It's not going to be easy, but there are millions of people who went from addiction to sobriety. If you focus your life on living clean without drugs and stop making excuses for using, you can and will be successful.
Breaking addiction is not easy to do, but once you have made it through the acute withdrawal stage (which is about the first 5 days) you will feel as though the cobwebs are clearing from your brain. After your first few days of sobriety, you will experience little victories. These little victories will happen when you least expect it and they will give you a sense of pride. I remember around day 11 or 12 into my recovery. I was listening to music playing on the television while I was in rehab. It was the first time I could remember getting goosebumps from music. The joy of it left me empowered and gave me a taste of a natural high. It felt amazing to actually "feel" again. At that point, I knew there was still hope for living a good, clean,life. Everything seemed more crisp and vivid, which made me realize how numb I was because of the drugs.
These early victories in recovery are amazing and can help you keep motivated. Use these feelings as fuel to get through a new day. What happens when things level off and you start to feel normal again? That is a question that I also get asked frequently. My best answer for this is to find something outside of your job or school that is good for your health (mentally and physically) and is something you enjoy. I personally took up running and started to run ultra-marathons. I completed a few 50 mile and 100 mile races which was something I never thought I would be capable of accomplishing. These races gave me goals to reach and I needed to keep my body in the best physical and mental shape as I could in order to be successful. Now I am not saying that running is for everyone. I know many people can't stand it or they are just not able to do it. But it's important to find what makes you tick, a hobby that will keep you occupied and give you something to look forward to. The idea is not to sit around doing nothing. Stay occupied with healthy and active friends, family, and hobbies.
Do not be afraid of relapse. Many people come to me early in recovery and worry about it happening to them. Do not submit yourself to what happens to others. Relapse is a common occurrence in addiction but do not make it an option for you. I was committed to sobriety early in my recovery and exceeded my own expectations. I liked the idea of pushing the limits and not becoming a statistic. From what I have experienced, people love to see others fail. While you read this, you probably know someone who thinks this way about you. Don't get sober for them. Show yourself what you are really made of. Push the limit and take your life to a new level. Motivation will not become an issue when you train your mind to have this mentality. You will make it through this and you will be successful in recovery. Believe it, work at it and live it.