Staying sober isn’t easy. Getting sober is hard enough. Deciding to get help, detoxing, going through residential treatment and back into the real world can be extremely overwhelming. They say the one thing you have to change is everything.

Many newly sober addicts enter the well-known phases known as a “pink cloud.” A “pink cloud” phase can make you feel like you’re walking on water. Everything is right in the world, and you are ready to take it by storm!

There’s nothing wrong with being on a pink cloud. Enjoy it while it lasts! However, it can become problematic when it wears off and you’re left feeling a bit… blah, shall we say?

Maintaining sobriety takes work, and although most of it can be enjoyed with the right attitude, some of it can be very monotonous.

The point of this article is to give some helpful insight into staying sober. If that’s something you want to learn more about, then keep reading!

Staying Sober — Get a Home Group

SMART Recovery and 12-step recovery are the most well known fellowships that addicts in recovery belong to when trying to stay sober. Both of these programs have regular meetings that you can attend

“Meeting makers make it” is how the saying goes, and it’s been proven to be true.

12-step fellowships recommend attending 90 meetings in your first 90 days of sobriety. In early recovery, it’s important to do some meeting hopping if you’re serious about staying sober. You may check a different meeting out every day.

For example, you could go to Narcotics Anonymous one day, Cocaine Anonymous the next day, and Alcoholics Anonymous the day after that.

Different meetings can give you different perspectives on recovery that are extremely helpful. However, it’s important to find one that feels like home to you.

People in long-term recovery usually have a home group. A home group is the group that you attend most. You are committed to going to meetings there every week. Many addicts will choose the same days every week to attend meetings at their home group.

Once you’ve decided on a 12 step home group, it’s important that you attend their monthly group conscience meeting. This is where you can pick up a service position.

These positions include:

  • Being a greeter at the door before meetings
  • Chairing a meeting
  • Overseeing the group’s hospital and institution meetings (this is where a group takes a meeting into an inpatient rehab or detox)
  • Being in charge of a weekly clean up day at the meeting location

Having a home group creates a level of accountability that’s extremely important for your recovery.

Serious About Staying Sober? Build a Group of Accountability

You may have a mentor or sponsor as a part of whatever program of recovery you choose to work. This person can help guide you and is an extremely valuable asset. You can call them in a crisis, such as wanting to use or dealing with the death of a family member.

However, mentors/sponsors have busy lives with work, family life, etc. They aren’t always going to answer the phone.

It’s suggested that you have 10 to 15 more people on your phone that you develop a recovery relationship with. You need people with whom you can be completely transparent.

They know enough about you that they can spot when you may be backsliding in your recovery. When you don’t show up at meetings for a while, they will reach out to you to see how you’re doing.

“Stay in the middle of the herd,” is a popular saying in recovery. By surrounding yourself with people who are serious about staying sober, you are putting yourself “in the middle of the herd” where you are safer from the pitfalls that may lead to a relapse.

“Stick with the winners!”

Watch Out for Complacency

Earlier in this article, you read about the “pink cloud” phase. Once this wears off, recovery may start to become somewhat dull.

Jerry the old timer shares the same thing at every meeting you go to. You hear the same recycled slogans at your home group’s “gratitude” meetings. You are tired of going out to dinner with recovery friends every Friday night.

These are common feelings that come at some point. You may start to skip meetings. Perhaps you don’t answer or return phone calls from your accountability group. You start to say to yourself, “maybe I don’t need those meetings. They’re getting pretty boring.”

Becoming complacent is dangerous when your goal is staying sober. Find ways to spice things up, such as:

  • Attend sober social events such as volleyball or game night
  • Have a movie night each month
  • Attend sober dating events
  • Find another meeting that you consider your 2nd home group (for example if you’re home group is an AA meeting that you attend 3 days a week, find a Narcotics Anonymous meeting to go to 2 days a week. You could also mix in more SMART Recovery meetings if you haven’t really gone to any yet).

Be Mindful of Life Getting “Too Good”

For many addicts, life gets better quickly once they start chasing after recovery, and staying sober seems like it’s working out great. The wife or husband comes back, you get a promotion at work, or you are allowed to see your children again.

Life gets better and better with every week that passes. Much like being complacent, you may find yourself:

  • Missing Meetings
  • Avoiding calls from recovery friends
  • Calling your mentor/sponsor less and less.

You begin to think, “I’m doing fine. I don’t really need those meetings anymore, I don’t even think about drinking or using anymore. I think I’m making too big a deal out of staying sober. It’s not as hard as I thought it was.”

This type of thinking can get you into trouble real quick. At a weak moment, you may be tempted or triggered to use.

Since you’ve gotten so far away from your support group, the layers of recovery that were protecting you have become thin. Then before you know it, you’ve relapsed.

Be of Service

Whether it’s sponsoring people or facilitating meetings, nothing is thought to ensure long-term sobriety more than acts of service. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that, “it works when other activities fail.”

When you spend a lot of your time trying to help the newcomers at meetings, you get a reminder. You remember how you felt during your first week sober.

You remember how terrible your life was in active addiction. It makes you realize that sobriety is a gift to be cherished, and that you should never take it for granted.

IOP at ASIC Recovery

Are you looking for substance abuse treatment in Texas?

At ASIC Recovery, our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is dedicated to helping individuals develop healthier coping skills and build a recovery supportive network in all aspects.

Click to learn more about staying sober.