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20 Things You Need To Do To Stay Sober

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Beautiful young woman with one arm tattooed, hands displaying the words 20 Things You need to do to stay sober

Do you know what you need to do to stay sober?

Not just sober as in not doing drugs. But to actually live a meaningful life that you are proud to have.

Before we talk about the things you need to do to stay sober, I want to hit on a few key points of maintaining your sobriety.

Point #1: Alcohol Is A Drug

People new to recovery think that the ONLY drug they truly have to worry about is their drug of choice.

So if your main issue was heroin addiction then, you should be able to drink and smoke weed with no problem. Right?   Nooooo! That is so damn wrong. If you want to stay sober then you need to know that you have to abstain from using ALL types of drugs. No matter how pointless you may think it is.

As a recovering heroin addict, I have made this mistake more times than I can count. Can you stay stupid?

I would start out going to the bar and having a few drinks, getting a slight buzz, and everything would be fine. Then, I mix a little weed smoking in with that and damn, do I like the way I feel. Before I know it, I’m drinking myself into blackouts, trying to achieve the same high that I get from shooting dope. All that I achieve is a night I don’t remember and stories I never want to hear.

If you think you are able to successfully drink and I am full of dog doo doo then, I have a great idea. Try using a bac calc so you can truly see how alcohol is affecting you and how long it stays in your system. After all, you can manage your alcohol intake, right? Yeah, so good luck with that. Let me know how it turns out for ya.

Point #2: Total Lifestyle Change

Your addiction was such a large part of your life and it’s often how people manage stress so it’s not going to be easy to change. There is much more to addiction recovery than simply not using drugs.

For starters, you need to find healthy replacements rather than unhealthy ones. Manage your physical and mental health. Taking up a hobby of some kind is good. Let’s not forget having a way to manage your finances. I could go on and on and on.

It is a complete and total lifestyle change. Take it slow and one step at a time. Trying to do EVERYTHING at once is impossible.

Point #3: Extent of the Issue

What was the reason you started to use drugs in the first place? 

The root of addiction issues is often tied to our mental health, our environment, past abuse, and your home life. If you want to stay sober, you should see a professional and work through some of those issues. 

You need to be aware of the ENTIRE situation. How deeply your addiction ran and every single area of your life that it affected, no matter how small or unimportant it may seem.

So, if you want to make the most of your sober life then you need to check off everything on this list.

If you don’t have time to read it now then, take a second to pin the image below. Now you can read it over and over, again and again.

Same tattooed pretty young lady sitting cross legged with her hands folded on her chest, laughing - text says 20 things you need to do to stay sober

Here are the 20 things you need to do to stay sober.

1. Know your triggers.

I know I know. It sounds like a lecture from rehab. Yet, if you don’t know the exact things that trigger you then, you are not being realistic about your recovery.

You NEED to know what sets you off to use so you can handle the situation before it turns into an all-out relapse.

2. Learn how to cope.

Of course, coping skills was going to follow knowing your triggers. You have to have healthy ways to cope and deal with the problems that life throws at you.

Just because you aren’t getting high and committing crimes does not mean you are “safe” from struggles and obstacles.

3. Don’t bother with people still getting high.

I’m sure you know that if you are living a sober lifestyle, all people in active addiction should NOT be a part of your life.

This goes for life long friends or even your boyfriend who is still struggling with his drug use. This may be hard for you but it is something that has to be done. Not only to maintain your own sobriety but to improve your quality of life.

This even goes for people who don’t believe they are “addicts”. Just because someone hasn’t hit rock bottom due to their drug use, doesn’t mean they won’t or that they are good for you.

4. Say goodbye to the naysayers.

There are always those people who are not going to see you any differently due to the stuff that happened during your past addiction.

It will take time for people to believe you are actually going to stay clean. But if you’ve been clear for years and you still have people in your inner circle talking down to you.

Then you got to stay away from those people or person. Even if it is a family member.

5. No more chaos.

Even if you quit getting high, you may have not given up the fast lifestyle.

Many addicts have criminal records. You could be one of them, I am. You get this idea in your head that you will not have a career, a future, any kind of decent paying job, and that you have to continue doing illegal things in order to support yourself or your family.

While it may not be easy, you need to stay straight and narrow. No more prison, or fines, or stealing.

You can’t be clean and live dirty. The two things do not mix and do not balance each other out.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Straight up, you must be willing to change yourself, your actions, and your way of thinking. If not, the chances of creating the life you want after addiction are pretty fucking slim.

You can not reach your full potential by not making the necessary changes.

6. Evaluate your living situation.

Are you in a safe place?

Does your home and surroundings constantly remind you of your addiction?

Or maybe you are surrounded by drug dealers and dope fiends?

While moving might sound like the best solution? It’s not always a possibility.

If this is the case, try rearranging your room, your home, and throwing away stuff to relieve some of the after effect. Plus, creating a sacred space just for you is always a big help.

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7. Take a serious look at your current relationship.

And I mean serious. If your significant other is getting high or doesn’t support your sobriety, it may be best to kick his/her ass to the curb. For real. I know it’s easier said than done but you need to look out for the most important person in your sobriety, YOU.

If you have kids, they are just as important. Someone who is not on the same page is no good for any of you.

8. Have a plan.

In active addiction, life was more of day to day, moment to moment thing. If you did think about the future, it was of how you could score next week. Not the goals you were going to have once sober.

Since you are sober now, goal setting and really living are actually a “thing.

Bottom line – To have a successful future, you NEED to have a plan. That is sober badassery

9. Don’t replace addictions.

I have talked about replacing your drug addiction with other things. There are healthy ways to do this which you can find in the post, Super Simple Ways To Replace Your Addiction with Healthy Habits and bad addiction replacements such as smoking like it’s going out of style and drinking way too much coffee.

So let me explain what I mean when I say DON’T REPLACE ADDICTIONS. Trust me, I’m not contradicting myself.

You don’t want to replace your addiction with another addiction. You want to stay busy and find healthy ways to fill up your time. Especially in early recovery when having too much time on your hands or being in your own head is a very dangerous thing.

Get physically fit by eating healthy and exercising but don’t exercise every second that you are awake so you are 20-pounds soaking wet and become bulimic. Go shopping for essentials and splurge every now and then. Buy yourself material things that you didn’t have in addiction. Yet, don’t max out all your credit cards buying things you don’t need and destroy the credit you just built up.

Get what I’m saying? Find activities you enjoy, develop healthy habits, or start a side hustle. Don’t turn it into a new addiction that is dangerous to your wellbeing.

10. Stop shit talking.

You can do this. You can live a kick-ass sober life.

So, stop telling yourself that you can’t do it or that you don’t deserve it. Get those nasty self-limiting beliefs out of your head.

You are more than capable of rockin’ your recovery. Look at all you have accomplished so far? Even if you are not where you want to be, you are a hell of a long way from where you were. And that is something to be extremely proud of.

11. Get comfortable.

Not complacent but comfortable.

By this, I mean that you need to be comfortable in your current situation. You need to feel positive about maintaining your sobriety and having a future. You need to have healthy relationships and fun in sobriety.

Even continuing your education and actually being happy. It’s being comfortable with your life, your kick-ass sober life.

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12. Don’t ignore your problems.

Don’t bury your issues or push them to the side. You have to face your problems head-on. Whether it be health issues, marital problems, abuse, financial woes, or whatever.

Deal with that shit before you go back to dealing with it the wrong way.

13. Keep good company.

The people that you surround yourself with affect you greatly. If you hang out with the wrong type of people, that’s how others will view you.

I’ve actually lost friendships due to this before. I was working, sober, and “thought” I was in a good place. Yet, I was associating myself with people who were committing crimes, cheating on their spouses, selling drugs, and just got released from prison. That’s now how I was behaving at that time but it’s what I used to do. So, I thought that these were the people I should be with.

Let’s just say, it wasn’t long before I was doing the same things that they were.

14. Have some form of therapy.

I still go to therapy and damn do I need it. It is nice to rant and release my frustrations. Especially, when I’m telling them to a person who doesn’t know me on a more personal level. There is no judgment or belittling. It’s an outside perspective on my life from someone who isn’t directly involved in it.

Let me tell you, she helps A LOT.

P.S. If you don’t want to physically talk to someone, try journaling. It’s the best form of self-therapy ever. Click this link to download the FREE addiction recovery journal.

15. Get a job.

Money can’t buy happiness but it can sure as hell buy a bunch of other stuff.

You need money to survive. I know this, you know this. You can’t live without a source of income. You need a job.

Plus, now that you are sober, figure out your career path. Don’t just work for money, do something you love.

16. Positive outlook.

Do not be a pessimist. A person always looking at the negative side of things.

In addiction, I always expected the worse possible scenario. That way, if I didn’t expect much, I couldn’t be let down.

Now, I always expect the best. If I don’t reach my goals, it’s a lesson learned. Not a failure so, I keep trying till I succeed.

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17. Have priorities in life.

Not only should you have goals, but you also have to prioritize them.

What are your top priorities in sobriety?

Make a list, figure that out, and then you can make a life plan to do what you want and more.

18. Don’t dwell on the past.

I hate when people say get over the past. It’s not that damn easy.

You can’t forget it, you can’t just “get over it”, and you can’t pretend it didn’t happen.

What you can do is not hang on to it and let it affect your future. Of course, there are certain things that happened in your past (like a criminal record) that exclude you from certain careers (you will never be a police offer). So you stop, refocus, and adjust. There are always options. Always.

19. Have a sense of purpose.

What is your reason for being?

You know that many people don’t get a chance to recover. Their addiction kills them.

You made it out so, you should have a sense of purpose. You should feel that you have a higher calling. To turn your mess into a message and help others who are struggling with drug addiction.

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20. Know you deserve success.

As just said, you overcame your addiction and that right there is badass. There is no doubt about it.

You deserve to be a success in everything you do.

You are UNJUNKIEFIED. Do more than merely survive as a productive member of society. You will thrive in a life of soberbadassery.

That is absolute and total success.

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Actionable Steps

There are 20 things you need to do to stay sober. So, now it’s time to get busy.

Do more than read this post. Pin it, save it, and refer back to it.

Take action and do every single thing on this list. After that, there is no doubt that you will not only stay sober but love your sober life and be a success in wherever your path may lead.

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I am NOT a licensed therapist. For immediate help call the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Adminstration’s 1-800-662-HELP. It's a free 24/7 service for ppl facing mental +/or substance use disorders.Or you can use the online treatment locator HERE.

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