If you’re newly sober or just out of rehab, we can’t stress how important alcohol rehab after care is. As a guest at The Retreat NZ one of our key focuses is ensuring you are prepared and armed with suggestions on how to maintain your sobriety long-term.

Learn how our 5 crucial recovery tips can transform your approach to sober living.

1. Establish a solid foundation

No matter how much you want or need to be sober, starting your journey to a new life free from alcohol can be daunting. The first 30 days of sobriety can be tough and some people will benefit from a residential rehab programme which helps separate them from alcohol and allows them to focus on their recovery in a safe and supportive environment. Learning how to navigate life without alcohol takes discipline so spending those early days of sobriety developing good routines and forming positive habits in a residential rehab can help set you up for success and as you learn how to live a sober life.   

2. Build a support network

We can’t stress the importance of a supportive environment enough to help you thrive in recovery. Tony Robbins says, “Surrounding yourself with good people can affect every aspect of your life from business to romantic relationships. When you surround yourself with positivity, you’re more likely to adopt empowering beliefs and see life as happening for you instead of to you.” This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cut out people out of your life, but it does mean that you’re more likely to stay sober if you’re surrounding yourself with people who want sobriety too – better still, people a little further down the road to recovery than you. It is not uncommon for alcoholism to leave you feeling disconnected and lonely. Reaching out for help when you need it and being honest about how you’re feeling or what’s going on for you is one of the most important things to maintaining sobriety long term. There are plenty of challenges in sober living but the only wrong way to do recovery is alone.

3. Immerse yourself in the 12 step programme of recovery

A.A. is proven to be the most successful long-term solution to alcoholism and provides ongoing wrap around support for alcoholics. The 12 steps are a framework for sober living and provide a set of tools to help you navigate life without alcohol. There are many benefits of the A.A. programme and we know that those who work through the 12 steps with a sponsor and learn how to apply them to their life, join an A.A. group and attend regular meetings have a greater chance of success in sobriety. There are no membership fees to join A.A. and there are meetings all over the world, giving you access to round the clock support whenever you need it.

4. Do things that are good for you

A lifetime of alcohol dependency can not only lead to unhealthy habits – physically, mentally and spiritually – but to a range of serious health and social problems. Better Health Victoria says “Long-term alcohol consumption contributes to more than 200 different types of diseases and injury.” These range from poor sleep and dietary issues, to family breakdowns and long-term cognitive impairment. Getting sober and making positive changes can feel overwhelming at first so it is important to understand that establishing healthy habits in recovery will take time. Developing healthy sleep habits, drinking plenty of water, eating three meals a day, regular exercise, quiet time for meditation, engaging in therapy or counselling and working with a GP or health professional to ensure your physical wellbeing, are all steps in the right direction. While in isolation, these things won’t cure you of alcoholism, they will help set you up for success in recovery.

5. Help others

There is a saying in A.A. that you can only keep what you’ve got by giving it away. Sharing your experience, strength and hope with others who have suffered like you and showing them what you did to recover not only helps them, but you. Many alcoholics come into recovery with a sense of guilt, shame and remorse for the things they’ve done or not done while drinking. Finding purpose and meaning again through working the 12 steps and becoming useful members of society goes a long way to restoring a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. We often find that as people work through the programme they don’t need convincing that this step is the key to long-term sobriety.

There are always going to be challenges in sober living – just like there are in life. For more in-depth support and resources on maintaining a sober lifestyle, explore our sober living program at The Retreat NZ, designed to help you navigate and thrive in recovery.