A successful recovery goes far beyond the important first step of getting sober. Those of us recovering from addiction come to see recovery as a marathon, not a sprint. Lasting recovery requires a great deal of inner work. A huge part of that work is finding the courage within ourselves to make a personal commitment to our long-term sobriety. 

Doing the Work

Rather than viewing our sobriety as a quick fix, we come to see it as a lifelong journey. Our recovery work is work we’ll be doing for the rest of our lives. For years, we might have grown accustomed to the immediate gratification of our drug of choice, for example, the quick shift in our mood. We might have felt that we could escape the stresses in our lives by simply having a drink or taking a hit. 

In recovery, there are no quick fixes. There is work to be done, and that work must be done over time. We didn’t fall into the grips of addiction or hit rock bottom all in one fell swoop. Recovering from our addictions will mean consistent work and true heartfelt commitment. At Athens Area Commencement Center, we prioritize self-exploration and deep personal healing as part of the recovery process. We know just how important doing that work is to long-term sobriety.

Lasting Change

Creating lasting, meaningful change takes the changes we implement within ourselves and in our lives, which need time to take root. In order for our sobriety to last over time, we need to give these changes ample time to take effect. Successful long-term sobriety means understanding that giving ourselves time to recover is not only important but also necessary. We have years of self-destructive habits to shed. Fears and wounds we may have buried are now emerging and showing themselves to us in striking ways. 

Embracing Recovery for Long-Term Sobriety

For years, we’ve resisted change. Now is the time to embrace the recovery journey and all the changes that come with it. How can we learn to love our new sober lives? What changes do we need to make on a daily basis in order to stay committed to our long-term sobriety? For many of us, some of the most important changes we’ll make will be to our daily habits. Instead of dreading these changes and fearing our new ways of life, can we embrace them in order to help ourselves stay sober? 

Creating New Habits and Associations

Many of us started our days with a drink to help us cope, used drugs at the end of a long day to relax, or used our drug of choice to reward ourselves. In recovery, we’ll now need to learn new coping skills, such as working with a therapist or journaling. We’ll discover new ways to help ourselves relax, for example, by being in nature, exercising, or practicing meditation.

Finding Healthy Alternatives

What healthier alternatives can we use to comfort ourselves, cheer us up, and give us energy? For many of us, instilling these healthy changes, starting new habits, and creating new associations all take time. Embracing these changes wholeheartedly, however long they may take to unfold, is one of the beautiful parts of recovery. We can help ourselves stay committed to long-term sobriety by intentionally embracing and opening ourselves up to these changes. Very often, we actually find ourselves looking forward to these new aspects of our lives that help us to be happy, strong, and healthy. For years we might have resisted them, but soon they become some of our favorite things. 

Patience for Long-Term Sobriety

The process of summoning our courage, doing the internal work to recover, and creating new habits in recovery takes time. Being patient with ourselves is one of the most important gifts we can give ourselves. Recovery will bring us unforeseen challenges. Being newly sober can cause us to feel new and difficult emotions, especially those we’ve been suppressing. 

Forgiving Ourselves

For years, many of us have been unable to get sober, or we’ve gotten sober and then relapsed because we weren’t patient and forgiving with ourselves when we made mistakes. We turned to alcohol or drugs to cope with our feelings of guilt and regret. Our shame and embarrassment were powerful forces driving us to drink or use. We can choose to remember that we are human beings struggling with an illness, not immoral people destined for failure. Showing ourselves forgiveness and patience, even in our darkest moments, can give us the strength to stay sober. 

Connection and Long-Term Sobriety

Another powerful tool in staying committed to long-term sobriety is connection. In recovery, we no longer have to go through anything alone. We’re surrounded by support. The people around us who are also working to recover can all relate to us. Our struggles are not only understandable but also deeply relatable. The team working to help us recover is also there to be a non-judgmental source of support and care. It is comforting and encouraging to know that we are not alone and that we are making connections with people who understand us and care about us. 

Healthy Connections in Recovery

There are important ways to keep the connection and social support at the forefront of our recovery that can help us stay committed to long-term sobriety. We can stay in contact with our sponsor and attend support group meetings regularly. Asking for help at the first sign of difficulty, for example, when we first feel the urge to use, can help us prevent relapse. Having the support of a community treatment program like Athens Area Commencement Center can be an invaluable source of connection and support. Prioritizing meaningful connections by making time for healthy relationships in our lives can help us shed toxic relationships, habits, and patterns. 

A successful recovery requires time, patience, and a willingness to do the work. Staying committed to long-term sobriety is so much easier when you are part of a community you feel connected to. You can receive support as you create new lifelong habits. You can learn new ways of coping and create new, more helpful associations that support your sobriety. Part of being committed to our sobriety means learning to embrace the recovery journey and giving it the time it needs to unfold. At Athens Area Commencement Center, we understand the journey and are here to help you every step of the way. Reach out to us at (706) 546-7355 to take the first step.

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