Using Caution to Maintain Sobriety

While getting sober from drug addiction or alcoholism is an important first step, it’s only the beginning of one’s recovery process. Once the individual achieves sobriety, their brain continues to need time to recover and rebuild connections that have changed while they were addicted. During the early days of sobriety cravings can be intense; as a newly sober individual you can support your continued sobriety by making a conscious effort to avoid people, places, and situations that trigger the urge to use:

• Avoid bars and clubs, even if you don’t have a problem with alcohol. Drinking lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, which can easily lead to relapse. Drugs are often readily available and the temptation to use can be overpowering. Also avoid any other environments and situations that you associate with drug use.
• Use caution with prescription drugs. Stay away from prescription drugs with the potential for abuse. Drugs with a high abuse potential include painkillers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety medication.
• Be up front about your history of drug use when seeking medical treatment. If you need a medical or dental procedure done, be up front about your history and find a provider who will work with you in either prescribing alternatives or the absolute minimum medication necessary. You should never feel ashamed or humiliated about previous drug use.
• Make a break from old drug buddies. Don’t make the mistake of hanging out with old friends who are still doing drugs. Surround yourself with people who support your sobriety, not those who tempt you to slip back into old, destructive habits.

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