Tag Archive: staying sober

  1. Make It Til Midnight: Strategies for Staying Sober

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    Recovering addicts and alcoholics are often overwhelmed by the thought that they are embarking on a path that will keep them away from drugs and alcohol for the remainder of their lives. That span may be too much for an addict or alcoholic to digest during the early stages of his rehab and recovery and a substance abuser’s doubts and fears about his ability to stay sober for the remainder of his life can threaten the success of his recovery. Addiction recovery counselors and therapists address these doubts and fears by teaching substance abusers to approach their recoveries one day at a time. If a recovering addict or alcoholic can last through midnight of any one day without taking a drink or using drugs, he will have achieved a small victory that begins to build a foundation for his continuing recovery. When several of those small successive daily victories are combined, that foundation becomes strong enough to support his future sobriety.

    “Sobriety Survival Strategy”
    The concept of making it to midnight is more than just a sobriety survival strategy. Genuine long-term sobriety involves more than just staying away from drugs and alcohol. It also involves learning new ways to live and requires a recovering addict or alcoholic to become engaged in the world around him. Some addiction recovery programs describe this concept as teaching a recovering substance abuser to live for the present day, and to let go of regrets about past actions while understanding that nothing is guaranteed in the future.

    “Early Phases of Recoveries”
    A strategy of “making it til midnight” will very likely be difficult for many recovering addicts and alcoholics who are in the early phases of their recoveries. Temptations and urges are at their strongest in the first few weeks or months after a recovering substance abuser has achieved sobriety. If he does last for a single-day period without drugs or alcohol, the next day will be slightly easier, as will each successive day after that. This does not suggest, however, that the risk of relapse will completely disappear after several months or years of sobriety. A recovering alcoholic or addict can fall into a sense of complacency following a long period of sobriety if he neglects to regularly practice this daily strategy, or he falls away from living for the present day.

    “Teens in Recovery”
    The strategy of making it til midnight can be particularly useful for adolescents and teens who are in recovery. Younger people have a much longer lifespan ahead of them and they generally do not have the perspective to understand how they will manage that life without the drugs or alcohol that have become integral parts of their lives. Breaking that lifespan into single-day components can change this looming perspective and help them to develop a better focus on the present moment. Teens and adolescents will also benefit greatly from having a group therapy sponsor or someone else who can act as a sounding board to connect with when the urge to use drugs or alcohol strikes them. A sponsor who understands the “making it til midnight” strategy can talk a younger person through the temptations that might strike him, even if that requires an hours-long phone conversation that lasts until the midnight goal is achieved.

    “Making it til midnight” is only one of several strategies that a recovering alcoholic or drug addict can employ to help him stay sober. Sustain Recovery Services in southern California develops programs that utilize a combination of these strategies to help adolescents and young adults recover from drug addiction or alcoholism. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.

  2. These Smartphone Apps are Designed to Support your Recovery

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    These Smartphone Apps are Designed to Support your RecoveryMore and more Americans are dealing with addiction, and science and technology are doing their best to keep up. Mobile apps offer added support, organization, and peace of mind to the daily life of someone in recovery from addiction. Millennials are very expressive and open with their phones, more so than in face-to-face situations. While that paradigm may be causing some problems for this generation, it can also be used positively for certain purposes, recovery being one of them. The best part?  These apps are totally free.


    Recovery Apps for Logistics

    Addiction recovery apps are nothing new; people have been using them since smartphones became a widespread commodity. Sober Tool provides the fastest track to AA meetings. Addicaid tracks attendance and participation. Sparkite allows both addicts and their case managers to track goals and progress.

    It’s not all logistics, either. Recovery apps can also be emotionally uplifting (or even brutally honest, when necessary). The Serenedy Player is just one of many apps which provides inspirational quotes and stories whenever you need an emotional boost. Words are powerful, even coming from a screen.


    Recovery Apps for Aftercare

    Some apps offer recovery exercises of their own, which is great for recovering addicts emerging from rehab. The app Recovery Box allows the user to color code a monthly calendar according to their goal-making-progress. Some of these apps are so interactive and sophisticated, they’re still in development. My New Leaf, which is set to hit Apple and Android devices by next year, engages its user in surveys, identifies their motivations and triggers, and provides useful individualized feedback about how to improve. It will also offers peer-to-peer support from other users currently online.


    Helping, not Distracting

    The ability to record and assess recovery progress with such relative ease gives today’s tech savvy youth an obvious edge, but not everything can be solved or improved with some some phone or device; nor are these tools appropriate or helpful in every situation. Sometimes, technology gets in the way. Sometimes, it causes its own problems in our lives. Sometimes—at least once a day, perhaps—it’s good to set down the phone and enjoy a nice walk, a cup of coffee, or a book.

    There is no denying that computerized technology has become a growing and prevalent force in society. Learning to use it productively–to better ourselves rather than distract ourselves–is a must for today’s youth. You don’t need recovery apps to recover, but they’re worth checking out, even if you’re not a computer person.

    For more information on addiction recovery and aftercare support,
    contact Sustain Recovery Services.

  3. 5 Reminders to Keep You Sober

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    Five Reminders to Keep You SoberFirst, remind yourself that relapse happens, but it doesn’t have to. Relapse is a process, just like recovery. It is often said that the drink happens long before the drink. If you notice your program of recovery is lacking, you are endangering yourself to relapse. Common triggers include hanging out with friends who still use drugs or alcohol, emotional pain, stress from school, and euphoric recall. Form new relationships with people who do not need drugs or alcohol to enjoy themselves, and who can give you a positive substance-free environment to support your recovery.

    Second, remind yourself of how far you have come, how capable you are of continuing, and what you need to do to get there. Post inspirational phrases and sayings around your living space to remind you of the numerous benefits of sobriety. Research has verified the effectiveness of positive reminders and images promoting optimism and hope. Find your own inspiration through poetry, Bible verses, or any text which speaks to you and strengthens your resolve to stay sober.

    Third, remind yourself that you do not have to do this on your own. You are not alone. It is true that only you can stay sober for yourself. However, you do not have to face everything in life and recovery through isolated means. Your family and loved ones, in particular, will want to see you get sober and recover your life from drugs and alcohol. Once they are invested in your recovery, they can be your strongest advocates.

    Last, remind yourself to take it easy and truly live one day at a time. Do not be too hard on yourself. Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is more than quitting the use of drugs and alcohol. You are learning an entire new way of being, feeling, thinking, and living. Few people are tasked with such monumental change. You are capable of it.


    Sustain Recovery Services in southern California works with adolescents and young adults who are motivated to build a foundation for living their own sober lives. Our extended care services program offer the structure, support, and fun young persons in recovery need for successful long term sobriety. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information.

  4. 10 Tips for Beating Addiction

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    10 Tips for Beating AddictionWhether you have committed to beating drug addiction or alcoholism, or if you are only toying with the idea, chances are you will receive an untold volume of unsolicited advice on how to accomplish that task. Much of that advice will be good, some will be questionable, and a few tips might be dangerous. In all likelihood, you will benefit from third-party assistance, but even without that assistance, you can do a few things that will make your journey easier.


    A sampling of ten of those things is listed here;

    1. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol to alleviate the stresses of jobs or everyday life. Look for ways to handle those stresses that do not involve abusive substances. Try getting some exercise or fresh air, count to ten or take a few deep breaths. The key here is to recognize when stress is affecting you and to do something other than take drugs or alcohol to numb the effects of that stress.

    2. Drug and alcohol use follow patterns that involve triggers in your life. When you encounter a trigger, distract yourself. This could be as simple as changing your immediate surroundings or doing a crossword puzzle. Try taking up a new hobby and working on that hobby when the urge to use drugs or alcohol arises. Anything that gets your mind off of addictive substances can work.

    3. Make recovery and sobriety your number one goal. If you focus on your success, you will more likely achieve what you set out to accomplish.

    4. Keep a daily diary or journal, and refer back to it regularly. You will see patterns that you did not expect and find things that you never anticipated would work for you. Use those successes whenever temptation strikes.

    5. Talk to someone you trust about your journey. Ideally, this will be a professional addiction counselor, but if you are unable to connect with a counselor, try a trusted friend who is on board with your goal and who can give you the support and encouragement you need to achieve that goal. If you cannot or do not want to involve a friend in your struggle, join a recovery support group.

    6. Watch your diet. You can improve your physical health with a good diet. When you feel better, you will be more likely to stick to your recovery plan.

    7. Set daily goals for yourself. A basic tenet of addiction recovery is making it to midnight. If you aim to make it through a single day without using drugs or alcohol and you meet that aim, you will increase your self-esteem and find encouragement in your ability to meet even this small goal. As each day of sobriety adds up, each successive day of sobriety will be easier and easier to achieve.

    8. Volunteer your time. Addiction recovery involves more than just staying away from drugs and alcohol. Former addicts who are most at peace with their recoveries are those who have focused their energies away from themselves to help others. Addiction is ultimately a disease of self-centeredness. When you start helping others, you focus less on your own problems and have less of a need to self-medicate to handle those problems.

    9. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. This is more than just a cliche. Examine your life and write down at least three things every day that you are thankful for. You will develop a list that will eventually remind you of all the good in your life, and that list will help you to stay away from artificial substances that you once felt you needed to find some good.

    10. Do not give up. Many recovering addicts and alcoholics experience a relapse or two. If you do fall off the wagon at any time, pick yourself up and start over. Do not beat yourself up over a relapse.


    Beating addiction or alcoholism can be an arduous task, but many people are ready and willing to help you complete that task.

    If you are looking to connect with some of those people, please call Sustain Recovery Services at (949) 407-9052. Our counselors can provide many more tips and suggestions to help you beat your addiction problem.


  5. 12 Step Prevention Strategies for Avoiding Relapse

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    12 Step Prevention Strategies for Avoiding RelapseEven if a recovering drug addict or alcoholic has reservations about some aspects of 12-step recovery programs, the one aspect of those programs that can help him or her is its success in preventing relapses. Addicts and alcoholics can go through a painful physical detox and “get clean”, but they often find that staying clean is more difficult than the physical detox ravages that they might have suffered. 12-step programs instill tools and philosophies that a recovering addict or alcoholic can use when the psychological urge to use drugs or alcohol strikes, even years after a last use of those substances.

    12 Step Programs for Avoiding Relapse

    The strength of a 12-step program in preventing relapses is best understood in the context of the pressures that recovering addicts and alcoholics face after they have completed their initial recoveries. Initial recovery is necessarily focused on stopping drug and alcohol use and abuse.  An addict or alcoholic might start a counseling program during recovery, but a few days of counseling will rarely be adequate to address any unresolved psychological or life issues that catalyzed a person’s addiction. Because 12-step programs address an entire life arc that extends beyond initial recovery, they provide a platform to deal with those issues that continues well beyond the initial recovery.

    Addicts or alcoholics that do experience one or  more relapses can find themselves wracked by guilt or shame over their inability to stay clean and sober. 12-step programs are ideally structured to address these emotions. Steps four and five guide a recovering addict through the process of taking an emotional inventory, followed by a process in which an addict faces and goes past any negative emotions that might come to bear in a relapse or that might otherwise be holding him back.  Steps six through twelve help a recovering addict to establish a life plan in which he takes steps to resolve issues that he may have with himself and others, and sets a program with a non-judgmental support community to help him maintain his recovery over the long term.

    Support for Active Sobriety

    12-step programs also remind recovering addicts and alcoholics to do common-sense things that help prevent a relapse. For example, addicts and alcoholics who participate in these programs are reminded to avoid situations that can tempt them to use drugs or alcohol, they surround him with a strong support group, they help him to establish a healthy routine and schedule, and they keep him vigilant to the risks and threats to his sobriety that he might otherwise ignore if he fell into complacency. Lastly, if an addict or alcoholic does experience a relapse, rather than treating that a person as a failure, a 12-step program will welcome him back with instructions and suggestions to avoid further relapses.

    Every recovering addict’s and alcoholic’s journey to sobriety will be different, and 12-step programs may not be the best solution for every addict.

    If you have questions about whether a 12-step program is right for you or if you have concerns over a risk of relapses, please call Sustain Recovery Services at (949) 407-9052. We can provide a confidential consultation and direct you to a 12-step or some other program that will best help you to recover and to avoid relapses.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

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