Sober living is a process, not a one-time event. Yes, you might decide in one moment to get sober. But to maintain sobriety over the long-term requires learning new skills, taking a few steps forward and possibly a few steps back. They call it “the road to recovery” because on your journey of sobriety you might experience peaks and valleys, quick turns and long straight-aways, and ups and downs. In fact, in some ways you can compare the journey of sober living to an adventure, much like sailing around the world or hiking to the top of Mount Everest. By the time you reach your destination, you might be an entirely new person!
The good news is, like any journey, you can prepare for it. You can gather together tools, supplies, and support. You can start to gather the necessities for your journey, the moment you decide to get help. At the same time, you’ll likely gather many tools along the way. For instance, tools you might need include:
• coping tools
• relaxation techniques
• communication skills
• new ways of relating to family and friends
• tricks to help you move past cravings (such as redirecting yourself or taking a shower)
And in addition to tools, you might need some supplies. Let’s say you’re headed to a drug rehab facility or a sober living home, you may want to take the following with you:
• CD’s of your favorite music
• photos of family and friends whom you love
• affirmations that keep you feeling strong inside
• old letters from friends and family
• a personal journal so that you can write out your experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
• your favorite quotes that inspire you
• magazine articles that encourage you and keep you moving toward your goal.
• a drum or an instrument so that you can play music
• relaxation CD’s to keep yourself feeling calm and relaxed
Even with tools and supplies, you can’t do this alone. You’re going to need help. Even a person who is sailing alone around the world has someone on radio or by satellite who is watching their journey. In the same way, you’re going to need friends and family. You’re going to need mental health professionals to support the steps you take forward. Without them, you may feel vulnerable. Without help, you might feel alone, hopeless, and powerless. You might even return to using drugs or drinking as a means to escape the loneliness or pain. That’s like turning around and going home before you’ve reached your destination!
To prevent any major disasters on your journey, remember to gather your things around you, the things you think you’ll need along the way. You might need specific items that are going to help you with this particular journey. For instance, you might need an addiction workbook – something that invites insight, questions, and ideas about your journey forward. You might need a sober living community, just like a hiker would want to talk to other hikers about the places they’ve climbed, you may want to talk to others who have been (or still are) in your same shoes. And you might want to assess where you are from time to time by marking on a calendar each day you’ve been sober.
Recovery is just like going on a life-long journey of exploration and adventure. Make sure you’ve got all your tools, supplies, and support with you on your way!