Sobriety. Oftentimes, it can feel like a dream. Something familiar yet foreign, abstract but real. No matter how far off it may seem, sobriety is attainable. Though it may not be the easiest goal to achieve or mountain to climb, a commitment to a desire to be sober and staying sober is the first, most important step on the journey.
Yet, obstacles to this sobriety may not only come from within yourself. Sadly, they may also appear in those around you, even family. These hurdles are often the most difficult to work through, but there are methods, services, and communities that can show you how to stay sober. In one way or another, they can guide a person on what to do when your family doesn’t support your sobriety.
However, sobriety starts with you. It may seem scary, but it is possible. If you want to start your sober life today, call us today at 706-480-8733. On the other end of the line is an addiction specialist waiting to guide you to the treatment you need to get sober. Remember, you can overcome.
In the meantime, here are a few ways to get or stay sober, even when your family isn’t:
The process of getting sober can be one of the most arduous a person can go through. It does not happen overnight. Sobriety is an everyday battle. From this, it is important to note that sobriety does not require perfection. Many if not most people in recovery slip up or “fall off the wagon” at some point. On the path to getting and staying sober, what matters most is a commitment, a commitment to wanting to get better, to wanting change. Once a person has committed to sobriety, they have truly taken the biggest step. As Rocky Balboa says, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
Once this commitment to sobriety has been made, motivation is the next key to success. It can come in multiple forms. It often comes from loved ones. However, the most effective form of motivation comes from yourself.
The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment describes internal factors – like self-motivation – as the basis for change. While external factors do play a part, one must first have the motivation to get sober. If you don’t have an internal desire to be sober, the path to sobriety will be more demanding and may seem impossible. Yet, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment describes motivation “not as something one has but rather something one does.” In this sense, motivation requires acknowledging the problem, searching for change, and adhering to a strategy to bring about that change. Motivation can and should evolve, reflecting the individual and his or her needs to attain sobriety.
Internal motivation may be the first step to sobriety, but external factors, like support from one’s family, can make or break the process of change. A guide on drug addiction treatment from the National Institute on Drug Abuse cites support and systems of support as the most effective resources for keeping individuals in addiction treatment. While support to stay sober can come from not-so-favorable places – like the criminal justice system and child protective services – the most effective support is typically from family and friends. These are the relationships that mean the most to an individual learning how to stay sober, and their foremost sources of support.
Friends and family can have a huge positive impact on a person’s sobriety. Unfortunately, this also means they can do a lot of harm. Friends and family are triggers in many cases. If they participated in one’s addictive behavior, their presence alone can trigger the desire to drink, smoke, use drugs, and so on. This can even occur if friends and family abstain from those activities while they’re around you; the desire to relapse can become even greater when they don’t bother abstaining.
When triggered or reminded of one’s addictive behavior, Dr. Elizabeth Hartney – who serves as the Director for the Centre for Health Leadership and Research at Royal Roads University – suggests having a strategy prepared for dealing with one’s feelings. She states, “For instance, if you’re an alcoholic and a group of drinking buddies ask you to go out, or you see people from work going to happy hour, it might help to have a specific response ready. It also may help to have a healthy activity that you can do instead like going for a run, seeing a movie, having dinner with a sponsor, or reading a good book.” Preparing for triggers is the most effective defense. And if you do slip up, it’s important to recognize that this is only a bump in the road to recovery. You must simply renew your motivation, adapt, and move on.
For some, the path to sobriety requires an escape from everyday life. Oftentimes, a residential/inpatient facility can yield the best results for those with this desire or need. In an inpatient facility, one lives among others striving for sobriety and participates in a variety of drug and alcohol treatment programs. These programs serve as the foundation for daily activities.
Inpatient programs like this last a minimum of 28 days. During that time, the staff provide dependable support and promote positive lifestyle changes. This includes helping patients who are suffering from withdrawals and even providing detoxification services when necessary. In that time, the staff also help patients to build new, healthier habits and provide strategies for how to stay sober outside their facility. Given the consistent support system from staff and other patients, those who have tried and relapsed in outpatient programs typically find success in inpatient treatment.
Inpatient facilities are known and respected for being safe, structured environments. Aside from the specific services each provides, their most significant quality is providing a safe haven. Here, one can be removed from the circumstances that trigger addictive behaviors.
Though you might be wary about leaving home and entering a month-long program, there is an in-person assessment done before entering. In it, the potential patient and a medical or counseling professional discuss the needs of the patient and what treatment will be best. If you need a true escape, it can be provided and serve as the solution for anyone wondering what to do when your family doesn’t support your sobriety. However, there are also inpatient programs that encourage family participation through weekend visits and classes, which can help put the entire family in recovery.
Another option for a safe and supportive environment is a sober living community/house (SLC). A study done by the Alcohol Research Group at the Public Health Institute in California found that individuals who participated in these communities were not only able to maintain their sobriety but also had improvements in their employment, mental health, and criminal record.
These communities were first formed and are still mostly found in California. They continue to thrive due to their insistence that the environment can make or break one’s recovery. Like an inpatient facility, they maintain a drug and alcohol-free environment; however, treatment in an SLC is often recommended, rather than required. There is no mandatory attendance for meetings or classes on ways to stay sober. They leave that choice up to the individual. This allows you to attend when ready – or not at all, if a drug and alcohol-free community is all that is needed.
However, the freedom to choose one’s treatment does come with some responsibility. All sober living communities have a set of house rules, which must be followed to remain in the community. The number one rule in most forbids the presence and use of drugs and alcohol. Beyond that, sober living communities often have rules on paying rent or other fees, completing house chores, and attending house meetings – not treatment meetings.
Unlike inpatient facilities, sober living communities receive no funding from local or state governments, so residents must pay for themselves. Yet, the benefit is that residents can stay in the community for as long as they like. As long as they follow the house rules and maintain payments, residents are welcome. In this instance, treatment can last as long as you need and also allows you to avoid those who hinder or may not support you in staying sober.
No matter the specific situation or where you are in the journey, there are options for how to stay sober. With the right motivation, sobriety can start immediately. However, motivation is only one piece of the puzzle. Support is everything on the path to maintaining a sober life. Because of this, family can be the greatest help or the ultimate obstacle.
If your family and friends are not sober and are hindering your sobriety, there are places you can go. Inpatient treatment facilities are all over, and they provide some of the best physical and emotional support possible. If an inpatient facility does not sound right for you, sober living communities are another option that yields amazing results for those trying to become or stay sober.
As stated, getting and staying sober is never easy. It requires commitment and support. Whether you are alone or part of a family in recovery, you can take control. Call us at the number below, and speak to an addiction specialist to begin your sober life or even discover new ways to stay sober. You can overcome!