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Healing, Strengthening, and Advancing the Lives of LGBTQ People Seeking Recovery

9 Sober Habits to Start in the New Year

Meditation is a sober habit

Deciding to go sober is praiseworthy, but it’s just the beginning. Building positive sober habits is key to maintaining a fulfilling, substance-free life. In this guide, we’ll explore practical habits that will significantly contribute to the success of your sober lifestyle. 

From crafting new routines and cultivating gratitude to embracing meditation and fostering social connections, each habit plays a unique role in promoting well-being and fortifying your commitment to sobriety. 

Start the New Year off sober with La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center. Contact us at 888.903.9898 to learn more. 

1. Create new routines 

There are two parts involved in creating new routines. The first consists of shaking up routines you had during active addiction to avoid triggers. This could mean changing your regular routes to steer clear of tempting places, like liquor stores, and distancing yourself from people you used to drink or do drugs with. Even seemingly small changes matter, allowing you to add one more sober day to your recovery tally. 

Beyond changing routines, having a daily schedule gives your life structure. This helps you stay organized with appointments and work tasks, thereby reducing stress (a common relapse trigger). Plus, completing daily tasks gives you a sense of accomplishment. Even simple actions like making your bed can boost your motivation to tackle other positive activities, such as cleaning or starting an exercise routine.

2. Start a gratitude journal

The link between gratitude and sobriety is well established. A 2017 study found that people who reported higher levels of gratitude were more likely to stick to their treatment plan and less likely to relapse three months, six months, and even a year after becoming sober. 

Given these compelling findings, a natural question arises: how can I effectively include gratitude in my daily routine to help me maintain sobriety? The solution is surprisingly simple: start a gratitude journal. Spending just 15 to 30 minutes each day reflecting on and writing about the positive things that happened can reduce stress and enhance focus — two critical factors in maintaining sobriety.

3. Meditation

Meditation is yet another small sober habit that pays off massively. A 2022 study found that newly sober participants who engaged in meditation reported lower levels of sadness, worry, and stress. Moreover, their urge to go back to old habits decreased. 

Although it may seem intimidating to the uninitiated, it’s surprisingly easy to start a meditation practice. For instance, you can search for quick five-minute meditations on YouTube or try a short course from meditation apps like Calm, Insight Timer, or Headspace. 

4. Get enough sleep 

Getting enough sleep is important for everyone, but it’s essential for those who are newly sober. Sleep allows your body to rest, recharge, and start healing some of the damage from active addiction. This isn’t limited to just physical healing, either. Sleep plays an important role in supporting your mental and emotional health as well. 

If you find it hard to follow a consistent sleep routine, try setting an alarm one hour before your planned bedtime. This alarm can remind you to begin winding down for the night. When it goes off, turn off electronic devices, dim the lights, play some soothing music, and enjoy a calming activity like reading or meditating

5. Try new hobbies

Taking up new hobbies is essential once you become sober for a couple of reasons. First, you’ll probably find yourself with lots more time on your hands now that you’re waking up without hangovers and not spending time trying to score drugs. Boredom can trigger cravings, but getting involved in a new activity can help keep your mind occupied.

Beyond simply keeping you away from substances, hobbies can provide you with a sense of purpose, enjoyment, and identity. Together, these benefits boost your self-esteem and reinforce your identity as someone committed to a sober lifestyle. 

6. Move your body 

Think of physical activity and addictive substances as two sides of the same coin. They both affect similar parts of the brain, triggering the release of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. This makes exercise a fantastic replacement for the high you used to get from substances.

While more research is needed to fully understand the link between exercise and addiction, early studies suggest that exercise can help ease withdrawal symptoms by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. It might also be effective in managing cravings by either distracting you from them or making them less intense.

To get started, choose activities you genuinely enjoy. This will make sticking to an exercise routine much easier. Once you’ve found a few activities you like, set small goals at first and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. Finally, consider joining a class or finding an exercise buddy to boost accountability.

7. Form sober connections 

We tend to treat substance use and sobriety as an individual undertaking, but nothing could be further from the truth. Studies have shown that supportive relationships with sober friends, partners, and family members are essential in maintaining sobriety. 

Moreover, many individuals in early recovery find a sense of community by participating in support groups. Peer support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), SMART Recovery, and Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) provide opportunities to share experiences, express concerns, and celebrate important sobriety milestones. 

Apart from these sobriety-focused groups, you can also build a sense of community through hobbies, volunteering, or traveling.

8. Eat healthfully 

Just like getting enough sleep and staying active are vital for long-term sobriety, so is eating well. Having a balanced and nutritious diet not only boosts your physical well-being but also encourages other healthy habits like regular exercise and socializing.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be a nutrition expert to make positive changes to your diet. Simply focus on eating more fresh produce and whole grains. At the same time, try to cut back on processed foods, sugar, and excessive caffeine.

9. Celebrate milestones

Whether you’ve reached one week, one month, or one year of sobriety, marking milestones is a way to recognize and celebrate the effort you’ve dedicated to staying sober. Even something as small as receiving a plastic chip from AA or toasting with non-alcoholic drinks can help keep you motivated for the long-term commitment required to maintain sobriety. 

Sober Habits Start at La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center 

Whether your New Year’s resolution is finally getting sober or you’re recommitting to sobriety after the holidays, La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center is here to help. Our LGBTQ-focused treatment center offers multiple care options including detox, a partial hospitalization program, an intensive outpatient program, and sober living

Call us today at 888.903.9898 to learn more about which program is right for you. 

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