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How Do I Stay Sober on Bad Days?

When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, any type of day is a good reason to get high or drunk. Whether you’re feeling low and you want to feel better, or you’re on top of the world and you want an extra boost, using is a quick fix. On the other hand, when you’re sober, things are quite different.

Good Days and Bad Days in Recovery

In recovery, everything won’t always be sunshine and roses. After the pink cloud phase fades, you’ll have good days where you feel confident and sure of your recovery and you’ll have bad days that will make you want to get high or drunk. “Escaping” a bad day with drugs or alcohol may be your first inclination, but it’s not the only option. When you choose to live a sober life, you have alternative and healthier ways to cope with bad days.

Instead of ignoring the negative feelings by pouring alcohol on them or pushing them out with drugs, you can choose to feel your sadness, anger, or depression, and understand that it’s a part of life and the process of living. Your brain may try to tell you that you need drugs or alcohol to get by, but it’s simply not true. There are other ways to deal with life.

Drugs and Alcohol are Temporary Fixes

Your addiction and emotions are closely tied, and negative emotions can be one of the most common relapse triggers. The reality of it, though, is that drugs and alcohol often do make you feel better for a short time. However, they are temporary fixes that never truly address the problem. Using substances to escape negative emotions or bad days is an addiction in itself, which can be a difficult behavior to change.

In addition, the feelings of shame and remorse you feel after you give in to the temptation to use never seem to go away. Instead, they push you further and further into your addiction, convincing you that it’s too late to step back and ask for help.

A real fix for your problems isn’t likely to be easy, fast, or simple. It’s going to take work, but the payoff will be worth it. If you’ve already been to drug rehab, you’ve likely already experienced this while working with counselors, therapists, and peers to address the root causes of your addiction.

If you’re not receiving adequate support in recovery, you may feel like you’re one bad day away from a relapse. Being actively involved in a recovery programme provides ongoing encouragement and accountability from your peers and ensures that you have a vested personal interest in your continued recovery. In the long run, it also helps you realize that one bad day doesn’t have to compromise your sobriety.

How Do I Stay Sober on Bad Days?

Some days, it may feel impossible to stick to your commitments in recovery, but there are several ways to deal with bad days and still maintain your sobriety. Here are a few tips for how to deal with bad days in recovery.

  • Call your sponsor: If you’ve had a terrible day and you’re feeling tempted to use, there’s nothing wrong with calling your sponsor and asking for help. Negative emotions can be difficult to deal with on your own, especially in the early days of recovery, so it’s helpful to have a trusted sober friend or sponsor to help you through them.

  • Focus on the positive: When you’re having a bad day, it can be difficult to see anything positive. However, changing your perspective can do wonders. Something as simple as making a gratitude list can serve as a reminder of all the things you have to be thankful for and help lift you out of the negativity.

  • Accept your feelings: Denying your feelings by ignoring them or trying to drown them out with something else isn’t going to do you any favors. Although the latter may be easier, accepting any negative emotions, sitting with them, and riding them out is a good practice in living life on life’s terms.

  • Get moving: Exercise is one of the best ways to get rid of negativity because it boosts endorphins and can make you feel refreshed and happy. Taking a walk with a friend, riding your bike, going to the gym, or playing a game of pickup basketball are all great ways to deal with negative emotions that come with a bad day.

  • Go to a meeting: Heading to a community support group meeting is another excellent way to work through a bad day without using drugs or alcohol. Being with a group of sober peers who understand what you’re going through and who can encourage you is powerfully motivating and helpful, especially when you’re struggling.

Staying sober on bad days can be very challenging, but there is help available for you. If you’re struggling in early recovery, you may need consistent support to maintain your sobriety. A sober living programme can provide a safe, substance-free place to live, continuous support from staff and peers, and access to additional services such as employment and educational assistance, regular drug and alcohol testing, volunteer placement, and peer monitoring programs.

Take the next step in your recovery by getting the help you need to succeed.

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