You've checked yourself into an inpatient drug & alcohol treatment program. You've committed to your friends and family to stay sober. You're still having cravings anyway.
This is a completely normal part of the recovery process, and it's important not to feel ashamed of your negative thoughts and emotions. Everyone struggles with sobriety at some point; the key is to recognize and redirect these feelings into something more productive. If you're currently in need of motivation to stay clean, here are just a few tips.
1. Figure Out What Drives You
What inspired you to check yourself into rehab in the first place? Maybe you wanted to set a good example for your children. Maybe you wanted to get your career back on track after a series of failures. Whatever motivated you to take the first steps towards recovery, hold onto those thoughts tightly, and remind yourself every day that they're worth the struggle.
2. Establish Routines
Routines will give balance and structure to your life. They can also help you resist urges and overcome temptations by reducing long, frightening time frames into short chunks to be overcome. For example, instead of thinking “I have to go a full 24 hours without using drugs,” you can think “I just have to make it to lunch” and then “I just have to make it to dinner.”
3. Keep a Journal
It can be easy to lose sight of the progress you've made when you're in long-term recovery. Keeping a journal or even a blog will provide physical evidence of how far you've come. For example, you can catalogue the positive changes you've noticed to your appearance once you got clean, or you can tally the number of times per day that you have cravings and watch them diminish over time.
4. Get Healthy
Your brain doesn't differentiate between drugs and junk food. It all stimulates the same pleasure and addiction centers in your gray matter, so if you give up illegal substances but can't stop yourself from eating an entire chocolate cake in one sitting, you aren't actually improving your self-control at all. This could lead to a relapse as your control stagnates and even deteriorates.
5. Praise Yourself
Addiction can lead to problems with self-esteem and self-worth. If you're constantly doubting or criticizing yourself, it'll be that much easier to spiral into a head space where you think things like “It doesn't matter if I take a hit because I'm worthless anyway.” To combat these negative feelings, get in the habit of looking in the mirror and saying five positive things about yourself every day.
6. Find New Hobbies
If you're in rehab, your facility probably has activity programs where you can sign up for things like pottery classes and morning yoga. If you aren't in rehab, you can still search for painting, hiking or cooking lessons in your community. The specifics of your hobbies matter less than the fact that you're getting out there and building new skills.
7. Build a Support Network
Don't be a lone wolf during recovery. While you might be ashamed or even afraid to ask others for help, the people who love you will want to see you get better, and they'll be more than happy to support you during your trying time. Don't be shy about reaching out so someone else can extend a hand to you.
8. Forgive Your Mistakes
No one is perfect. That includes non-addicts as well as those currently in recovery programs. Everyone has regrets in their life, and it does you no good to dwell on them and allow them to dictate the tone of your recovery. It's a hard journey, to be sure, but you need to learn to forgive yourself for what you did in the throes of your addiction.
9. Become a Sponsor
Once you've been through hell and emerged on the other side, consider giving back to the people who are still struggling within it. Not only will you be helping others in need, but you'll also be helping yourself as you share, teach and reaffirm all the sober lessons you've learned.
If you're wondering how to stay motivated in sobriety, these are just a few tips for overcoming your addiction and remaining on the right path once you do. Remember, even when it's hard, someone in the world gets clean every day. Is today going to be your day?