When you struggle with addiction, entering rehab is one of the best things you can do to help yourself achieve sobriety, but this is not always an option. Financial hardship, limited access to resources, and a lack of support are just some of the many reasons why rehab may be out of reach. Still, achieving sobriety is important and although it may feel as though the odds are stacked against you, there are ways you can work towards sobriety without treatment.
While it is possible to get sober without the help of a rehab facility, it can be incredibly difficult. It requires a great deal of self-motivation and boundary-setting because many in this situation are often still exposed to substance-abusing peers and enabling environments that conflict with sobriety. Additionally, depending on the substance abused and the duration of use, initial recovery can be dangerous when attempted alone. Consulting with your doctor or a medical professional is highly recommended before making sudden significant changes.
Getting Sober on Your Own
Depending on the severity of the addiction, it may be possible to achieve sobriety without a treatment center. In many cases, however, the experience of withdrawal can put a person in dire circumstances. It is important to assess the safety of your situation before attempting withdrawal alone.
There are changes you can make in your everyday life to enable and support sobriety. Some of the most significant changes you can make include:
- Change your surroundings: The most important first step to take is to change your surroundings. This can be difficult because it requires significant changes to your daily routine. No longer spending time with substance-abusing peers, staying away from environments where substance abuse occurs, and stopping old habits is vital to sobriety. While it can seem like a lot to address at once, allowing any of these enabling factors to continue will threaten your ability to abstain from substance abuse.
- Build healthy relationships: Many who abuse drugs and alcohol find that the only relationships they have are with those who abuse substances as well. Relationships with other friends and family are often damaged as a result of substance abuse. In some cases, even well-meaning loved ones can enable continued use. Changing your dynamic in relationships is important in achieving sobriety. Working to mend relationships hurt by substance abuse and developing new relationships with sober peers can help you in recovery.
- Create a schedule: Boredom and lack of interest in other activities can contribute to continued substance abuse. Creating more structure in your life can help you stay on track. Setting daily and weekly schedules can reduce the chance of using and creating goals can help you maintain sobriety as you work towards new ambitions.
- Get active: Getting active is a great way to fill time previously used for drug and alcohol abuse. Exercise can be a positive release for difficult emotions, boost mood, and improve your self-image. Additionally, getting more active can lead to the development of new interests that motivate you to stay on track.
- Employment: If you do not have a job, gaining employment can be a great motivator for sobriety. While the thought of returning to work may be worrisome, having a job that provides financial stability and structure can help improve feelings of self-worth and create more stability in your life. Although work can create stress that may be a trigger for relapse, developing methods of coping in a healthy way can help make the return to the workforce easier to manage.
- Learn how to manage difficult emotions: Stress and other difficult emotions can trigger relapse. Many use drugs and alcohol as a means of coping. Instead, finding healthy ways to manage anger, sadness, and stress can help improve your outlook on life and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Finding activities that relax you and developing healthy relationships with others can help you feel supported and connected. Art, writing, music, and exercise are just a few of the many ways you can process emotions in a more productive way.
- Reconcile with the past: Many with an addiction struggle with past experiences and trauma that drive continued substance abuse. Substance abuse can cause you to experience feelings of guilt and shame that affect your view of yourself. Forgiving yourself for the past and learning how to grow from past regrets can help drive you in a more positive direction. Everyone deals with negative experiences in life and it is completely normal to struggle with this. Finding ways to learn and grow from it is what will help you with your sobriety moving forward.
- Create balance: It can be easy to replace one addiction with another, even if the new one is considered healthier. Rather than allowing yourself to become consumed with an addiction to something else, creating balance in your life can help you manage your daily responsibilities. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and new hobbies can all bring more balance to your life.
- Educate yourself about addiction: Understanding more about the nature of addiction can help you come to terms with your own experiences and learn how to manage sobriety successfully in the future. Educating yourself about the nature of addiction can help you better understand its impact on your physical and mental health. It can also help reduce feelings of isolation addiction can create and can equip you with the knowledge to support your sobriety moving forward.
- Join a support group: Even if you cannot enter treatment, you can connect with support groups. There are countless support groups across the country that are free to join. This can reduce feelings of isolation and allow sober people to connect with others who share similar experiences. Support groups also provide education for members about the nature of addiction and help many develop new tools to manage sobriety successfully.
No matter how you approach sobriety, relapse is a common experience and should be prepared for no matter how confident you feel in your journey. Most people, even those who have maintained sobriety for a long period of time, have experienced relapse at least once. Relapse is not a sign of weakness or failure and it should not discourage you from working towards achieving sobriety again. Relapse can happen to anyone, especially if you are not aware of the warning signs. Instead of allowing a misstep to derail all of your progress and achievements, it is important to keep moving forward by reimplementing these changes in your life to make meaningful change.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 310.403.1032 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.