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How to Stay Sober: Tips for Getting and Staying Sober

“I Can’t Even Make It Sober One Day”- How to Stay Sober?

Getting and staying sober involves having a plan and some concerted effort. Your plan should involve:

Getting Support

If you have been drinking or taking drugs for a long time, you will be unlikely to be able to stay sober without some help. This might be from friends or family members, or it might be from new sober buddies. You will likely realize the importance of having healthy relationships on your recovery journey, and will naturally begin avoiding old drinking buddies.

Getting support for your substance abuse problems gets you these things:

  • Advice. If your car broke down, you wouldn’t expect to be able to fix it without some assistance. The same is true of getting sober. Trying to “wing it” will not produce results. If you have an addiction professional or someone with you who has been through, your chances of staying quit will be much higher.
  • Emotional support. There’s no two ways around it: getting sober is tough. During your drinking years, you don’t feel emotions fully and you will have been unlikely to build up the healthy coping mechanisms that people do while they are not drinking. When you stop, the floodgates of emotions open, and you have not yet learnt how to deal with them. Having people around you who can understand what you are going through in this challenging time goes a long way.

Going to Rehab

Addiction treatment for alcohol abuse is a one stop shop designed to help you get sober and remain sober. When you go to rehab, you will go through a medical detox, look at the reasons why you were drinking, be trained in how to maintain healthy relationships, and figure out how to change your life if you were living a chaotic or disorganized lifestyle.

In short, treatment facilities will teach you how to live a sober lifestyle and assist you in looking at past mistakes.

Avoid Having “Just One Drink”

You can’t get drunk if you don’t start drinking. While staying sober is not quite as simple as just avoiding drinking alcohol, this does play a key part. If you have an alcohol problem, remember that it is not possible for you to drink any amount of alcohol without risking relapse.

Stay Away From Old Drinking and Using Buddies

The adage in many recovery groups is that “if you stay in a barber shop long enough you will probably get a haircut”. This saying points to the belief that the chances of you getting drunk are pretty high if you hang around in places where people get drunk. The same could be said for hanging around with people who often get drunk.

While it might be comfortable to continue old habits and stay around people you used to drink with, this is not conducive to sober living. When you stop drinking, it is time to make new friends. These new friends should ideally also have a healthy lifestyle, so you can engage in wholesome pursuits together. A sober friend can be invaluable when you are thinking about drinking.

How to Get Sober and Stay Sober Longer

Short term sobriety and long term sobriety are two very different beasts. While in long term sobriety your cravings will be reduced, your state of mind will be a little more serene and you will have the support of other people to help you stay sober, it is not always a cake walk. Here are some tips that can help you to maintain lasting sobriety:

Go to Mutual Support Groups

Support groups are foundational for maintaining sobriety from drugs or alcohol, both short term and long term sobriety. Going to support groups means you have a ready-built network of sober friends who have been through similar experiences to you, and are able to offer you advice and emotional support.

Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous also encourage you to get a sponsor and work through the steps as a way of maintaining your sober life. Sponsors help support you, and doing the steps help you to clear the wreckage of the past and give you knowledge of self, something that is incredibly important in staying sober.

Get Rewarding Employment

Maintaining employment that nourishes your spirit will go a long way in your sober life. Many people find that a job that involves helping people helps them stay sober. You don’t have to work completely in the service of others – you can make a meaningful impact on the world.

Stay Financially Stable

If you have developed financial problems you will probably already know: being broke is not fun. In some ways it is more difficult when you are sober than when you were drinking. In the drinking days, your main concern is getting more alcohol, and there is usually a way of doing that. When you are sober, things are different. While you might choose to live a frugal life, having money is crucial to maintain your life.

Some people use spending money as a way of not experiencing difficult thoughts and feelings. The end result is that they are frequently in dire financial situations. In sobriety, it is better to face things head on. If you have a problem with spending money, look at why it might be and seek to address the root causes. If you continue to have difficulties, consider going to a support group like Debtors Anonymous, who can help you with your financial difficulties.

Maintain Robust Mental Health

Without looking after your mental health, you are at risk of relapse. Tips for maintaining mental health include:

Meditate regularly. There’s a reason why most religion and spiritual traditions and even many support groups include meditation as one of their elements: it works! Meditating frequently helps lower anxiety, reduces depression, and keeps neurotic thinking at bay.

Stay connected. As mentioned elsewhere in this article, maintaining relationships is integral to sobriety. If you have a tendency to isolate, make sure that you set aside time each day to connect.

Don’t take too much on. Working too hard or overexerting yourself in other ways can be detrimental to your mental health. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. You may actually find that if you take it a bit easier that you will be work effective at what you are doing. It’s worth remembering that burnout can be a genuine relapse trigger.

Start an Exercise Program

Getting regular exercise plays an important part of staying sober. Looking after your body means you look healthy, and more importantly, you feel healthy. These healthy habits will be instrumental in your new sober life. You can:

  • Lift weights
  • Do yoga
  • Start running
  • Take up swimming

How to Stay Away From Drugs

In some ways, staying away from drugs is easier than staying away from alcohol. Alcohol is available on most streets in most places in the world and is legal. Drugs, on the other hand, usually involve having a drug dealer’s number, calling them up and then going to buy them illicitly.

This is not always the case though. You may bump into an old acquaintance who offers you drugs, or you might find a baggie of something in an old coat pocket. You should be well-prepared for these situations. If you think you might see someone you used to use with, have a line rehearsed about why you do not want to use anymore. If you think you might find drugs in your belongings, visualize throwing the drugs away.

If you are in an area where there are many people around that you used to use with, you should consider moving. While this can be difficult, particularly if you have been in an area for a long time, sometimes the risks of relapsing simply are not worth it. Leaving harmful past relationships and forming healthy, supportive relationships always pays dividends.

How to Stay Sober From Alcohol Without AA

You don’t necessarily need AA to stay sober, but it is recommended that you attend an alternative support group for a while. Groups like SMART Recovery help people to stay sober in a similar way to AA.

While AA revolves around finding a higher power as part of the recovery process, the SMART Recovery process advocates science-based methods. SMART Recovery teaches health coping skills to help you overcome your alcohol addiction.

How to Stay Sober FAQ

Is It Really Possible to Stay Sober?

It is possible to stay sober. If you want proof, just ask someone who has gotten sober. People who have been through the worst kinds of alcohol and drug addiction have gotten clean and sober, and got on to live happy and successful lives.

Does Being Sober Make You Happier?

Initially, getting sober may not make you happier. Early recovery is difficult, and these difficulties may stifle your happiness. As you remain sober for longer, though, living the sober life gets better and better.

Is Life Better Without Alcohol?

Absolutely. Once you have got over the initial hurdles, life is far better without alcohol. Of course, staying sober is not always a bed of roses. You will encounter difficulties in life, no matter how long you have been sober for. Recovery is a lifelong process that will have challenging moments. It is all worth it though.

What Does Being Sober Really Mean?

To some people, getting sober just means stopping drinking. Other people talk about the idea of “emotional sobriety”. This kind of sobriety involves looking at yourself, how you interact with others, and what your thoughts and beliefs are. Some people believe that true sobriety only comes by working on yourself.


Being sober is difficult at first, but it is worth it. If you would like to find out more information on how you can stay sober, contact Empowered Recovery. We offer partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programming to help find the best version of you again.

Substance Abuse Group Topics

Substance abuse groups offer a wealth of support and help many people maintain long-term addiction recovery. As a form of group therapy, those who attend substance abuse groups have a shared goal of living a life free from the shackles of drug or alcohol addiction.

Substance abuse groups provide a judgment-free environment for those in recovery to seek advice and guidance from other members. Group sessions are generally led by licensed therapists who prompt and guide discussion and encourage individuals to participate. The therapist might also identify individual issues each member may be facing that reoccur in group therapy and daily life.

The conversation topics in group therapy sessions can vary, but there are many great discussion points to choose from.

Group Therapy Benefits

Group therapy plays an integral part in addiction recovery. Being in a group setting allows individuals to gain a greater understanding of their own problems while building self-awareness by listening to the stories of others. Addiction recovery can be an isolating journey for some, but group therapy presents an opportunity to connect with other people.

Substance use disorder groups also provide a chance for those in attendance to improve their communication skills, build connections with other group members through sharing their experiences, and receive honest feedback and perspectives from peers.

Group Therapy Activities

All substance abuse group therapy activities will be slightly different. However, we share some common group therapy activities below.

List Things To Do Instead of Using Drugs

This may include activities or creative tasks. Members may be asked to reflect on what they can do when they experience cravings and how to prevent cravings in the first place.

Anger Management

Activities related to anger management skills are encountered in substance use disorder groups. These activities often surface several times depending on the group and the group members.

During anger management groups, therapists provide guidance and instructions on anger management techniques, and other group members may share their experiences.

Conflict Resolution

All relationships experience conflict – the key to maintaining a healthy relationship is learning how to resolve them. Substance use disorders can put a tremendous strain on relationships. For this reason, learning to resolve conflict in healthy ways is essential to the recovery journey.

Identify ‘Bad’ Habits

During group therapy, members may be asked to make a list of habits that they perceive to be bad. Following this, the group leader may encourage members to identify why they are harmful and what can be done to replace them. Healthier alternatives may be suggested to help members avoid these habits.

Brainstorm Affirmations

In addition to the above activities, the group may be invited to brainstorm affirmations to share with the group. These could be general affirmations for any of the group members, individual affirmations, or more personal affirmations that recognize individual growth and importance.

Affirmations provide an opportunity to recognize how certain words can significantly impact people’s feelings, behaviors, and self-confidence.

Goal Setting

Setting goals gives those in recovery things to work towards. Goals could be general; however, specific themes such as fitness goals may be encouraged. During this activity, the group is encouraged to discuss aspects of goals that may have already been achieved on each person’s journey, allowing members to seek inspiration from others.


Everyone tends to focus on the future or past now and again. However, taking a moment to stop and focus on the present can be extremely beneficial. As a result, practicing mindfulness is common in substance abuse group therapy.

Group Therapy Topics

As with group activities, topics also vary and tend to follow the lead of members and the therapist facilitating the session. Below, we have outlined a few standard topics.


Discussing the topic of gratitude is an everyday activity in group therapy sessions. Conversations may cover aspects that group members are grateful for, what gratitude is, and how to show gratitude.

Triggers for Substance Use

One of the most common substance use disorder group topics is triggers. All group members may have different triggers, so listening to these could help other attendees identify secondary triggers or coping methods they have not yet identified.

The group leader may ask each member how they have responded to triggers in the past. They may also discuss what coping strategies each member uses to overcome triggers. Reflecting on personal experiences and listening to those of others can be an enlightening experience.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is essential for general health, yet it is something that people recovering from a substance use disorder or addiction can have trouble with. It can be helpful to brainstorm ways to reach sleep goals alongside other people who may experience the same thing.

The Significance of Self-Care

Self-care is essential for long-term sobriety. However, it can be challenging to keep up with self-care goals. For this reason, group therapy can be a great way of keeping each other accountable. Group therapy also ensures that support systems can be developed.

When discussing the importance of self-care, it is not uncommon for members to share their self-care goals and how they are trying to achieve these. Hearing outside perspectives of self-care can help other people create a healthy daily routine, which can enhance mental health.

Letting Go

Talking about forgiveness and overcoming resentment is an essential part of addiction recovery. During group therapy, members may be invited to share who they would like to forgive and if holding on to grudges and resentment has affected their life in any way.

Letting go of hurtful moments and hearing about other people’s experiences can help many gain greater self-awareness.


Although many people may overlook this particular topic, it is important to consider what those in recovery would say to their younger selves if they could. For this reason, group topics often encourage members to consider what they would say, what advice they would give, and what direction they would point their younger self in. Childhood experiences may also be discussed.

Stress Management

Stress affects everyone, so creating healthy coping mechanisms is a vital part of any recovery plan. Group topics frequently surround stress management, helping those in attendance identify stressors in their life.

Members may be invited to talk about how they cope with stress or instances when they feel unable to. From here, consequences can be evaluated. Hearing other people’s responses can be incredibly useful.


In support groups, members may also brainstorm ways to reduce isolation and discuss the risks or benefits of being alone. Discussing isolation risks can lead to conversations surrounding healthy and harmful habits in social situations.

To Conclude

Therapy groups increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and provide a safe place for people who have struggled with substance abuse to talk about their recovery. Groups also enable those in recovery to discuss mental illness, core issues in their lives, the consequences of abusing substances, unhealthy habits, and building healthier ones.

Having a group to discuss these topics with can be incredibly powerful either on its own or in addition to individual therapy. Joining a substance abuse group can additionally improve an individual’s chance of long-term sobriety.

Contact Empowered Recovery today for more information about our recovery support services.

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