Living sober after alcoholism is quite tough to handle. Alcoholics might say that it’s the end of the after-party. Others say that it’s the afterlife. Quitting while you’re young or trying to live a sober life after growing old with alcohol may bring you different kinds of challenges. Habits are hard to break, and trying to live sober can be quite a challenge. Whether you’re sobering up at an early age or at a later age, here is a list of challenges you may find along the way:
1. Responsibilities or an Established Lifestyle
You may already have established many things, despite your alcoholism. You already have a house, a wife, children, and a good job. Or you may have a lot of responsibilities, including raising your children, taking care of your parents, and paying a mortgage.
Responsibilities and routines can make it hard for you to leave your usual life and go to treatment. Getting sober and staying free from your addiction while having lots of responsibilities sometimes don’t come hand in hand. When you choose to go to treatment centers such as the Alchemy Sober Living, you need to let go of your responsibilities, and doing this is not easy. Choosing one can mean sacrificing the other.
If you find it difficult to give up on your responsibilities, here are things you need to remember so you can choose to continue or go to treatment:
- Take a rest. Breathe in and calm your mind first. Then, tell yourself that a new life is waiting, or remind yourself that you’ve done so much that’s why it’s time to focus on yourself this time.
- It may seem daunting that the treatment will require you to leave the life you’ve established or the responsibilities on your shoulder, but take it one step at a time. Understand that your obligations will remain your responsibilities, but you just need a break from it all so you can go to treatment.
- Remember that leaving your life behind can be difficult, but alcoholism can also push everything or everyone you love away. So, sober up before you’re left with nothing.
2. Tradition or Events
In some cultures and families, drinking is a tradition and is thought of as something sacred that has to be done – and done religiously. Other alcoholics even say drinking is biblical because it’s mentioned in several verses of the Holy Bible.
Traditions have been deeply embedded in our lives. As we become older, our customs and habits become part of our lives. If you’ve been drinking alcohol in every chapter of your life, quitting and getting sober can be very hard to do. Sometimes a festive occasion happens that involves drinking. If you can’t resist or decline parties or events, you would have a hard time sobering up as you’ll be tempted to have a sip at the sight and smell of alcohol. Your treatment will become a failure.
Traditions, customs, and events are inevitable. You may not be able to avoid them completely, but you can change your routines, habits, and even hangouts. Here are some of the ways to improve your habits:
- Get away from engagements that involve partying or alcohol drinking. For instance, learn to say no to a party invitation.
- If keeping away from invitations is difficult, make yourself unavailable. Turn off your cellphone, remove your phone’s cable line, or don’t open your social media accounts so you won’t have the chance to receive any invitations.
- Create a structured schedule. It will guide you on what and what not to do. Stick to it so you won’t have time for any parties or activities that involve drinking.
3. Friends and Associates
If your buddies still drink, then it can be hard to stay sober. Peer pressure still exists even if your friends may not intentionally want you to get back to drinking. However, chances are, they would feel that they’re losing you. In such a situation, you may also feel that you don’t belong anymore. As a result, you end up drinking to please your friends and keep them from letting you go as a friend.
Leaving your friends or being ostracized may be difficult. However, when you want to live a sober life, you need to let go of people with bad influence. Just remember that you may lose some friends, but when you live a sober life, you can gain friends with a different perspective in life. To help you stay on track, lean on the right people by doing the following:
- Develop connections with helpful and sincere people such as your family or support groups who don’t engage themselves with alcohol.
- If you have an alcoholic or party goer partner, break up with them. You may love them dearly, but if they genuinely care for your welfare, they’ll encourage you to stay sober, not tempt you to drink.
- Join groups with a purpose or cause, such as cancer support groups or fund-raiser groups. If you engage with these kinds of company, you’ll spend more time helping other people in need than wasting your time thinking about how to avoid alcohol.
4. Abundant Supply of Alcohol
If you’re living with people who drink or are addicted to alcohol, the refrigerator could always be packed with a lot of bottles or cans. With the continued presence of alcoholic beverages in your home, getting sober can very challenging indeed. A bottle or can of temptation is always at the ready to hit you again. You’re tempted to have a drink every time you open your fridge. If this continues, you’ll likely go back to drinking in no time.
As mentioned above, get away from people with alcohol addiction. If you’re living with someone who has an abundant supply of alcohol in your place, find another home, roommate, or housemate. After which, you can do the following to avoid seeing or encountering alcohols:
- If your practice when grocery shopping is to buy alcoholic drinks as part of your supply, then cross it off your list.
- When at a grocery shop, avoid the area or isle that stores alcoholic beverages. Better yet, shop at stores that don’t sell alcohol.
- If you’re an online shopper, delete your history or cache as it stores past visits to sites with alcohol products. Then, never click any advertisement that shows drinking products so you won’t receive alcoholic drinks ads.
5. Mood Swings
Mood swings could come during recovery days. Young or old, people tend to have unpredictable emotions, especially anger, during this period. During these days of struggle, doubt may come in, and you would question whether sobering is worthwhile or just an opportunity to miss all the fun. You might end up frustrated and might resort to abandoning your treatment programs entirely. Having mood swings or angry outbursts can hinder you from sobering, so you need to work on it before getting treatment.
If you know you’re moody, identify the reasons for sudden changes in your mood and avoid them. If you get agitated or angry easily, do the following to manage your anger:
- Learn to keep your cool by counting to ten. If anger still exists, count until it fades away.
- If you need to cover your ears or close your mouth to avoid bursting when pressured, do it.
- Better yet, keep silent and walk away from an argument.
Managing your anger or mood will help you be sober as having mood swings will give you reasons to drink. Alcohol will tell you that it will calm your nerves when you consume it. So stay calm to stay sober.
6. Loneliness and Boredom
Simple boredom can disrupt or even cancel your recovery program. When you don’t go out with your friends anymore and you no longer attend parties, loneliness and boredom can strike hard. Situations like these can make you want to return to your old habit again. You may even justify that just a sip is all you need to feel alive and won’t do any harm; however, a sip is a dangerous way to end up getting drunk again.
To avoid feeling lonely, engage in exciting or fun activities. Hang out with the right people who have a passion for sports, music, art, movies, and other hobbies that will keep you occupied, happy, and fulfilled. Try painting, hiking, swimming, or other new things you’ve never done before or you’ve always wanted to do. What’s important is that you keep yourself from being lonely.
Beating addiction is a tough job, and staying sober needs a great deal of courage and motivation. It can be an everyday struggle at some point before you can completely get over it. But understanding that a lot of these challenges in living a sober life are normal occurrences could get you to a vantage point that there are effective ways of dealing with the adversaries that are trying to pull you back to alcoholism and that living a sober life is possible.
Article Submitted By Community Writer