While the backbone of any successful sobriety program may necessarily rest on formal protocols such as attending support group meetings and reading recommended recovery literature, there are many other practices that can help a recovering addict maintain sobriety. This is where staying sober with an inspirational reading list, enjoying hobbies with like-minded sober souls, and other activities can help you maintain your sobriety.
1. Build Your Inspirational Reading List
In your personal sobriety maintenance program, the first order of business should be to marshal control of your own mind. Often, an addict’s primary enemy is not the addiction but the thoughts in his mind. If you do not give your mind something to do, rest assured that it has every intention of finding occupation for itself.
2. Rediscover Favorite Hobbies
Before you started drinking and using, you occupied your time with something else. What was it? The “getting sober” process is just a short period in any addict’s life, but the “staying sober” process lasts a lifetime. Staying sober is not necessarily about staying sober. Rather, it is about building a life where drinking or using is no longer needed, wanted, or even considered.
3. Get Involved with Service
Research indicates twice as many addicts achieve sustained sobriety when they are involved with serving others. While much of this research does focus on service as outlined in twelve step recovery communities, the simple truth is that any kind of service is better than no service. Service to others gives you a means to say “thank you” to those who supported you.
4. Do Something Physical
Physical exercise not only makes the body feel better, but it is harder to achieve after you have been drinking or using. If you rediscover pleasure in swimming, jogging, hiking, birding, or other physical pursuits, you will soon notice if you relapse, you have a harder time doing these things. So doing something physical can help create a situation where your body partners with you to resist breaking your sobriety.
5. Take a Class
Learning not only engages your active mind, but it reminds you that you are smart and can learn new things – including and beyond sobriety – at any time. You can also meet new people, hear their stories, and enjoy together the process of starting something from scratch. Whether you view taking a class as a recovery metaphor or a simple act of discovering something new, there is no doubt it is beneficial.