You have taken the enormous steps toward getting sober. You are ready to start on your journey toward living a full, rich, and meaningful life. You are not sure what comes next, but you know that you don’t want drugs or alcohol to play any role in it.
Knowing that we don’t want substances in our lives is a great starting point, but it is usually not enough. As humans, we have the tendency to want to do exactly thing that we are telling ourselves to refrain from. Constantly thinking about not using drugs or alcohol means that we are still thinking about the drugs and alcohol.
A more useful tactic toward changing behaviors is to make sure that the unwanted behaviors are replaced with healthier ones. Telling ourselves “yes!” to something good works better than constantly thinking about avoiding something bad. The following are some ways to be proactive – rather than prohibitive – as you build your new life of sobriety.
Attend Support Groups
Chances are that there were several factors in your life which existed before the drugs or alcohol became the focus, and chances are that some of those factors are with you, still. Some individuals have struggled due to growing up with domestic violence. Others have experienced extreme trauma or grief. Still others struggle with diagnosed mental health problems, or have difficulty working with family members who are disabled in some way.
Support groups exist for nearly every situation imaginable. Whatever your situation, finding an applicable support group of others who have experienced what you have experienced can provide you with a sense of normalcy, and sharing sorrows and triumphs with them can provide you with a boost of confidence in your abilities to overcome anything that life has thrown your way.
When discussing support groups for former substance users, the two big ones usually come up: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA.) While some people swear by these organizations, others find that these groups are just not their cup of tea. When considering the benefits of support groups, make sure to do some research into the myriad of options that are available in your town, and find what is a good fit, for you.
A sober living community is often a better alternative to your typical support group. Sober living communities provide a more nurturing environment to constantly live in and you may find that you are more comfortable working on your recovery in that kind of setting.
Find a Therapist
If group participation isn’t your thing – or if you aren’t able to find a group which provides the support you are looking for – visiting a good therapist may provide the support you are looking for. Like with support groups, there are individual therapists who specialize in all manners of issues, from relationship dysfunction; to dealing with trauma; to helping clients to find practical solutions for life’s problems. Feel free to shop around, and find a therapist whom you believe is a good fit for your situation and personality preferences. If money is a prohibiting factor in seeking therapy, check with your local colleges and human services department. These organizations often provide free and low-cost resources.
Focus On Your Health
With all of the ravaging on the body that drugs and alcohol do, this new period of sober living is the perfect time to mitigate some of that damage. As a society, we have steadily gained insight into what it takes to keep this body machine running, and options abound for health education and participation. The time you once spent on destroying your health can now be used to optimize it.
Texas is not behind the times when it comes to healthy choices. In addition to health-conscious grocery stores, there is also a large selection of health-conscious restaurants. After filling your body with good fuel, there are many health clubs and fitness programs available for turning that fuel into muscle. Many who embark on a quest toward physical wellness find that they experience improved mood, as well, which is a win-win scenario.
For those reluctant to leave the house after a long day at work, there are more convenient options available. Companies like Blue Apron will deliver healthy, ready-to-cook, meals to your doorstep, and entire fitness programs are available, online, through companies like Les Mills. These two companies are only two examples of the types of convenient services which are available, so be sure to do your own research into the best options.
Take Some Classes
Education is not only a path to self actualization, it is also often the surest route toward improving our financial situation and work satisfaction. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? In many cases, that dream is still an option. Even if you aren’t able to fully embark on a new career, there is nothing to prevent you from exploring these original interests and passions through taking a few classes.
Local community colleges offer a wide range of subjects, and many of them offer convenient ways of completing the courses. With so much of the attendance population now consisting of adults over the age of 25, colleges have adapted to meet the needs of working students. Many courses are offered online, or during evening hours. Other convenient options include signing up with a national, online-only, college.
Knock Some Things Off Of Your Bucket List
There is a phenomenon which exists, in which we tend to not go to visit the wondrous sights that are in our own backyard. People will fly in, from miles around, to visit our state attractions, but we don’t ever seem to get around to doing it. As part of your new life, consider making a list of things that you have always wanted to do in your home state…and then do those things!
For those of the means and desire, taking a trip to a foreign country is a life changing experience. For those without such lofty ambitions, there are plenty of areas to explore close to home. Texas is a treasure trove of both natural wonders, and national history. From state preserves; to amusement parks; to historical sites, there are plenty of options for enriching your life with local experiences.