Addiction is nothing short of brutal. It drains away your health, your sanity, and perhaps worst-of-all, your self-esteem and dignity.
No matter what approach you used to get sober, be it talk-therapy, 12 step programs, going away to rehab, or a technology-based approach like EMDR eye movement therapy, you have to take steps to ensure that you STAY sober. For a lifetime.
Thankfully, you’ve stop those strong triggers and addictive urges. But, like any other person, you will still be affected by the background problems and ups-and-downs of living. And that’s why you have to figure out new and sober ways to cope with the day-to-day challenges of life.
So then, once you have fought the good fight and gotten sober, you have to ask yourself-Now What?
You’ve been using your addiction to escape from your feelings, the harsh realities of your life, the pain of your childhood, and even because you basically had no idea how to live life without it.
And that’s the problem.
Now that you’re sober, you have no choice but to figure out what to do with all that pain and how to live life on life’s terms as a “normal” (whatever that means) person.
How do you cope? How do you find a way to live life without sliding back into using or acting out in your addiction? We have some suggestions.
Here’s 5 things you should do, now that you’re sober-
1) Take care of your physical health
Addiction can be absolutely punishing on your body and being an addict is associated with diseases like hepatitis, AIDS, and cancer. Now that you’re sober, it’s time to start taking better care of yourself…which by the way is part of learning to love yourself in sobriety. Go see a doctor and get checked out, start eating healthy nutritious food, get outside and get some sunshine and exercise. The world is pretty beautiful and awesome place when you’re sober!
Oh, and get some sleep. Good quality, restful sleep to help your body recover from the ravages of the addicts’ life.
2) Consider seeing a therapist
A pretty normal part of getting sober is coming to terms with the life you’ve lost. You may even need to grieve the years that you spend down in that hole in the ground hunkered down with your addiction.
A good therapist can also help you figure out what’s behind it all and help you to answer why you really got addicted in the first place. Nearly all addiction can be traced back to extreme life difficulties, painful childhood issues, or trauma and PTSD. A mental health professional can help you sort out the puzzle pieces of your past.
3) Have fun!!
Remember when you were a kid and you loved to go fishing with your grandfather? Remember in high school how you loved writing poetry?
Or maybe it’s cooking or baking? Basketball? Hiking in the forest?
You have to get back to those things you loved before your addiction started to crush you like an ant under a boot heal. Those activities are still there waiting for you and are just as fun as they ever were.
Part of a healthy, joyful life is to enjoy it. Go back and re-explore some of those things you used to love. Better yet, get out there and try out some new things that you have always been curious to learn more about.
4) Get Social
Ask any sober person at an AA meeting and they will tell you that addiction is often a disease of isolation. Now that you’re not using, it’s time to connect with other people in a more meaningful way.
For many addicts, the people they thought were their friends were just other addicts. All you had in common was that you used together. Now that you are sober you can go out and find meaningful friendships with other SOBER people.
Also, you cannot underestimate the value of groups. Maybe it’s a therapy group or a men’s (or women’s group) or a meditation for sober people group, or even a 12 step group. Connecting in a positive way with other human being will help you find more meaning and depth to your life, and it will keep you from having a relapse.
5) Cultivate gratitude and positivity
What do you have to be positive about right? I mean, being an addict has after all been nothing short of hell-on-earth agreed?
Well, for one, now that you’re sober, recognize the fact that you’ve survived!! I bet you know people who are still using or acting out with their addiction, who are still way down in that miserable, lonely dark hole. You may even know other addicts who have lost their life to the disease.
Not you. Life is out there waiting for you. And it’s filled with some pretty amazing stuff.
And one last thing. This is only the beginning. This list is only the start. There’s a whole lot more than five things you should be doing. You have reclaimed your ticket to live life to the max.
Get out there and enjoy it!
ABOUT EMDR FOR ADDICTION
EMDR for Addiction is a complete, at-home, EMDR therapy program which has been specifically designed for individual use without the assistance of a therapist. Our easy to understand program teaches you step-by-step through the EMDR treatment process.
EMDR for Addiction features the same type of EMDR technology being successfully used by therapists and addiction rehab centers world-wide.