The first year is the hardest. Once you reach the 365 days sober mark, your chances of staying sober increase dramatically. Less than half of recovering addicts relapse after one year of sobriety. But to reach that mark, it plays to have a plan.
A recovery plan will provide daily activities and goals to formulate a lasting strategy for sobriety. Read more information on strategies to ensure long-term sobriety and developing a personal recovery plan.
Make a recovery folder
To start your plan, build a folder with important tools and resources. Gather lists, procedures, photos to remind you how far you have come and why you are on the journey towards sobriety, to begin with.
Many people make a folder to keep it all in. It could just be a ring binder with resources, phone numbers of sponsors, activity ideas, and space for you to write your thoughts and experiences of the process as they come up. Alcoholics Anonymous has several useful resources for those looking to make a comprehensive recovery plan.
Work Out What Motivates You and Makes You Feel Calm
This is deeply personal to you. Some people find comfort and peace in reading or listening to music. Others like to cook or spend time with their loved ones. Find out exactly what makes you feel engaged, peaceful, and puts you in a positive mental space.
Once you know what these activities are, you can make an effective action plan that incorporates them into your daily routine.
Make a Calendar
Tracking your progress is essential for staying motivated. The easiest way to do this is by hanging a calendar and tracking your number of days sober. This is a constant reminder of your progress. As the number rises with each day, it is a clear marker of your effort, determination, and willpower.
Pursue Mental Health Treatment
Mental health treatment should be a part of your recovery plan if possible. There is a proven link between substance abuse and mental health issues. To ensure lasting sobriety, your action plan will have to tackle both.
This treatment can come in the form of individual therapy, but it doesn’t have to. It could mean joining a support group and attending regular meetings.
Triggers are people, places, events, memories, or emotions that initiate cravings for drugs or alcohol. Recognizing these triggers is important for coping with the craving that they produce. It will allow you to avoid these situations or, at the very least, rationalize and improve awareness of what is causing the cravings.
Involve Others in Your Plan
Involve loved ones or trusted friends in your sobriety plan. Make it clear that you are not looking for advice, but just want them to understand what you are doing and have them as a source of support when you need it.
Make a Plan for the Basics
Following addiction, spending the time to get the basics back on track is a good way of laying a strong foundation for sobriety. What does that mean? Eating three meals a day, doing exercise every day, sleeping eight hours a night, tidying your living space, cleaning clothes and so on.
Most importantly, keep at it. Even If you experience a setback, learn to put it behind you and move forward. Your action plan will help minimize setbacks. But it is down to you to provide the willpower.