7 reasons why staying sober is so darn difficult

Staying sober isn't a walk in the park. In fact, it can be one of the hardest challenges you'll have in your life. Here are seven reasons why it is so difficult to stay sober, and nine ways that you can stay strong.

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  • Parents tend to worry about their children a lot. From schoolwork to social pressures, loving parents are constantly thinking, hoping, wishing and worrying for their children, praying that they will make good choices.

  • So when kids succumb to peer pressure, or give in to their curiosity and experiment with drugs, cigarettes or alcohol, it can be devastating.

  • If they become addicted, worry increases tenfold.

  • Perhaps the most difficult situation for a parent, or anybody close to an addict, is seeing a loved one doing so well and staying sober, and then relapsing.

  • Staying sober is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges an addict can face, which may be why the relapse rate is 50-90 percent, according to AlcoholRehab.com.

  • Why it is so difficult

  • 1. Change is uncomfortable

  • Because of this, they tend to stick to their old ways. It's easier to stay in a comfort zone than to try to change a behavior. They begin to experience discomfort and turn back to alcohol, drugs or tobacco.

  • 2. Symptoms scare them

  • Some addicts are so worried about the symptoms of withdrawal that they end up making the symptoms worse.

  • 3. Challenges are too much

  • Addicts use drugs, alcohol and tobacco as crutches when problems arise. If they are faced with challenges, they try to ignore the problems, and unfortunately often slip back to their crutches.

  • 4. Assumptions are easily made

  • If they expect the worst — a difficult time in recovery, for example — they will get the worst out of it. If they expect the best, they will get the best.

  • 5. They are hard on themselves

  • Addicts can talk to themselves with excessive negativity. This internal conversation is unhelpful if they wish to finish their recovery. Avoiding listening to this negative talk will help addicts know and realize that they are good enough to recover.

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  • 6. They have high expectations

  • Of course they should have high goals, but expecting perfection only sets them up for disappointment.

  • 7. They hate demands

  • Having demands placed on them is difficult. But most recovery programs have some demands required of them that will need to be accepted and met.

  • Nine solutions for staying sober

  • If you have difficulty with staying sober because of any of the reasons listed, you can lean on family and friends to help you. Here are some solutions:

  • 1. Change your mind, change your life

  • Instead of negative thinking, start reading books and websites about thinking positively. If you change your attitude, you will change how you face recovery and other parts of your life. Consider the opportunities that lie ahead if you remain sober.

  • 2. Distract yourself from withdrawal symptoms

  • Don't let your mind psych you out. Find ways to relax and accept the symptoms. Work your way through them without thinking about them.

  • 3. Exercise

  • We all know how beneficial exercise can be. And that is no different during recovery. Exercise can help in staying sober by:

    • Improving your self-image

    • Reducing depression & negativity

    • Improving brain function

    • Improving strength and physical appearance

  • 4. Be optimistic

  • Start realizing that recovery will be a good thing for you. Start seeing possibilities of sobriety and beyond. Look for the great opportunities to come into your life because you no longer have that crutch. Staying positive not only helps you increase your chances of staying sober, but it improves your mood, as well as the moods of those around you.

  • 5. Find a more encouraging inner voice

  • Reading books and respecting yourself help to move out the bad words and input the good thoughts. You might find this strategy challenging at first, but getting rid of negative talk is important to ensure your recovery.

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  • 6. Be realistic

  • Remember that getting sober is the first step. It is going to take time and effort to build a good life after drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Keep those opportunities in mind, though, because eventually, you will make them come true.

  • 7. Be open

  • Recognize that demands are there to help you reach your goals. Don't question them. Embrace them and keep going.

  • 8. Be strong and determined

  • Realize and embrace the fact that you will not be able to have drugs or alcohol ever again. This is important for your success.

  • 9. Get to know others who inspire you

  • They can make a difference both in your life and your recovery. Optimism from people who inspire you will be contagious.

  • While at times recovery can seem impossible, and the road simply too long and hard, remember that others have been there before you, and have succeeded.

  • Don't give up hope.

  • Keep pushing.

  • Give your recovery 110 percent, as if your life depends on it.

  • Because it does.

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Kitt Wakeley is a partner at Vizown, a women's treatment center in Oklahoma. He is extremely passionate and determined to help women overcome their addictions and live a clean, wholesome, happy life.

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