Living clean and sober through simple, repetitious, actions is a practical way to achieve long term sobriety and be happy on the journey. If you are struggling to stay clean and sober or are sober and want to be more joyful and peaceful, read on. Below are five practical tips for happily living clean and sober.
Five Tips for Happily Living Clean & Sober
- Attend the same AA meeting(s) – Letting people get to know the real you is not always comfortable, particularly in early sobriety. Be aware of the inclination to sit in the back and scoot out as soon as the meeting ends. Another faux pas is pretending everything is fine and wearing a fake smile when you are dying inside. The simple, repetitious act of attending the same AA meeting each week and picking up the support freely offered there is an ingredient in the recipe for long-term sobriety. It is especially important to remember that the fellowship of AA is quite different than the Program (12 steps) of AA. Both are necessary and important.
- Meditate – The daily practice of training the untrained mind will go a long way to thwarting negativity, doubt, and the strength of the self-critic. Conventional wisdom knows that addiction is a thinking problem. I have often said my biggest problem – even in sobriety – is I tell myself something and I believe me. Meditation practice strengthens the neural pathways that allow us to observe our thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations in order to discern how to consistently have our actions and words match our values. Here is a great link for learning how to begin and sustain a meditation practice.
- Exercise – I know, I know. You hear this one so often it becomes an eye roller. And the last thing you feel like doing in early sobriety is moving your body when your head is freaking out. This one repetitious action done with a little bit of knowledge and a lot of overcoming the mind (see #2 above) will produce huge benefits. Check out some of the main benefits of exercise here.
- Feed Your Body Well- This can be as easy as simply drinking more water, adding in more vegetables and some fruit, or drinking less caffeine. Some of us have to learn how to eat again – literally. If eating three meals a day, with the largest being either breakfast or lunch, feels like too much then graze throughout the day. That is, have small amounts of healthy food several times a day rather than big meals less often.
- Social Connections – Who do you want to be and what kind of experience do you want to have? Find an affinity group to socialize with that knows hows to have fun, love deeply, and support one another authentically without drugs and alcohol. There are going to be rough times in sobriety, in order to live clean and sober, we need a little help from our friends!
These five practices done consistently with intention, great effort, and significant grit, will pave the way to happily live clean and sober. Do not be discouraged if you find that it takes many do-overs to get consistent. Simply start again. Some of these five practices will come more easily than others too. Make progress through daily check-ins with yourself, keeping a journal, and talking with your sponsor or a close friend or loved one. Pick a couple of practices now to get started and focus on just those. After getting regular with your selected practices, then add in additional ones until you have all five practices happening almost effortlessly. You can do this!