5 Tips for Healthy Sober Living from Jason Wahler

Posted at September 30th 2016 | 09:00 AM

Living healthy may be an American obsession (especially in Los Angeles) but for people in recovery, healthy sober living is actually a matter of life or death.

Depending on how long you were addicted and what type of addiction you had, (and if there are any co-occurring disorders or other medical conditions) you should have a plan for healthy ways of sober living with a number of daily recommendations in it. It’s all a process, with the aim of progress, not perfection! But being sober is still a new and different way of living for people in recovery, and one that you will need time to adjust to.

As with any good plan, but especially with healthy sober living, you need a solid foundation. Really what works best for addicts in recovery are simple solutions…they’re just for slightly complicated people. Aftercare is not just for post-rehab or treatment. Continuing with aftercare programs or community meetings is an important component of maintaining healthy sober living and staying focused on recovery.

In order to not feel overwhelmed by all the changes that come with sober living, try to take things slowly. Take things day-by-day, hour-by-hour, or if necessary, minute-by-minute. It is important to not take on so much responsibility that it has the potential to make you too stressed or overwhelmed with dealing with the pressures.

5 Tips For Healthy Sober Living

Tip #1: HALT & Triggers

HALT stands for: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. I think it’s helpful to tell newly sober people what is likely going to happen so they are not too freaked out when it does.

If we let ourselves get too hungry, too angry, too lonely or too tired, we are headed for problems. Nobody can be useful to anyone if they are dragging, cranky, uncomfortable or need nourishment. And addicts are likely to get a craving if any one of these basic necessities isn’t cared for.

Triggers and cravings are a very real part of recovery. We can prevent relapse by taking care of ourselves and recognizing certain signs. The key to maintaining a life in recovery and healthy sober living is a combination of self-care and self-awareness.  

Tip #2 :Affirmations

Affirmations work because words have power–the advertising industry counts on that! Our brains work with repetition and we are such suggestive beings. That’s why ads works so well for a big sloppy hamburger or piece of cake, fast car visuals, etc. Using affirmations can be really helpful for sober people taking it to the next level. When you develop affirmations that are specific, concrete, and personal to you. Examples:

  • I am attracting all of the resources I need for comfortable recovery.
  • This is an abundant universe.
  • I live in the present moment.
  • I can look back but won’t stare.

Affirmations will help you to believe in your success. A critical component to success, whether in alcohol sobriety, abstinence from drugs, or getting that next promotion at work is to believe it will happen.

Tip #3: Cultivating Interests Outside of Recovery

healthy sober living

Healthy sober living means taking care of your whole being–not just the addiction. Exercise, healthy food and more makes for an active recovery life.

While getting and staying sober may not always be challenging, fascinating, and exciting, it shouldn’t be approached as a chore. You can make it fun and enjoyable. Explore new hobbies, interests, and opportunities for personal growth that are not directly applicable to staying sober. Martial arts, horror films, model building, reading, exercise, cooking or pets are all viable options that could add color and interest to your life while enhancing your chances of long-term sobriety during recovery.

These daily recovery behaviors will help you stay on the path to lifelong sobriety. A successful recovery program is made up of many different elements and it looks different for everyone. Find what works for you and put your recovery plan into action. 

Tip #4: Meditation

OK, lets be honest, most of us didn’t give a c**p about mediating before getting sober. But it’s amazing the calmness and peace that comes through a short meditation and conscious contact with a higher power. All you have to do is get quiet and still, focus on breath and everything becomes much more manageable. You can even practice Living Meditations by just being in the moment and not wishing you could be somewhere else (or someone else).

Meditating is using your coping mechanisms at the right time and asking for guidance through meditation. 

Tip #5 Exercise

Ever notice how you are actually mediating while exercising? Literally “working” it “out” whatever is on your mind? When I got sober exercise took on a whole new role. It gives us natural endorphins, which feels good. For us, feeling good is essential. Workout and exercise:

  • is a healthy outlet for emotions
  • helps keep us on a schedule
  • keeps us physically strong
  • helps us feel fatigued and tired naturally at night

There are so many, many options for exercise that do not involve going to a gym. I’m passionate about my exercise because it’s fun. I surf, skateboard, snowboard, wakeboard, skimboard, go paint-balling, fishing, tennis, baseball/softball, soccer, boxing, golf, cliff dive, great white shark diving, boating, travel, ride motorcycles, dirt bike, paddle board, scuba dive, run, basketball, ping pong, pool, I could keep going…why don’t you add your won faves to this list and get out there and have some healthy sober living fun!

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