You’re At A Sober Living. Now What?

Once you’ve decided that the next step in your recovery journey after addiction treatment or rehab is heading to a sober living, a lot of emotions, questions, curiosities, and concerns may arise–all of which are normal. This decision is a monumental step in helping cement the foundation of your newfound sobriety and one you want to take full advantage of when you decide to go for it. For a general overview of sober livings and how to choose them, see the earlier article on this blog Transitional Living: Aftercare In Recovery, which outlines what to look for in a sober living, such as costs, accommodations, rules and regulations, in-person impressions of the space, as well as strict ethical guidelines. You’ll want a facility with safe, targeted, and holistic residential recovery services that don’t simply focus on one aspect of recovery, but on seeing you as a person with varied needs. 

What should you do after deciding on a facility that feels like a good fit for you? What will readjustment to this new environment entail and how will you go about navigating your time in that space? Read on for some guidance and tips on what self-care within a sober living can look like and how to make the most of your time there. Some of your greatest recovery growth may occur within the confines of a sober living and the simplicities it can offer, which is a beautiful thing.

 

Navigating Structure And Free Time

Rules and Requirements 

An effective sober living is one that has the right amount of structure for you and this can look different for everyone. Many […]

By |September 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Recovering The Body While Living Sober 

In the trenches of substance abuse, the body becomes an effective punching bag, whether the user intends to consciously inflict harm on it or not. Depending on the extent of using, the body may feel beyond repair. Sobriety, however, affords you a chance for your body to undergo a variety of changes and your experience of – and relationship to – your body will inevitably change as well. These changes widely vary from person to person based on the specific substances that were used, the severity of use, as well as the unique constitution of our individual bodies. However, not all changes come easily or quickly, and may require a great deal of time, space, patience, and additional help despite the body’s natural intelligence and inclination to heal. 

I didn’t realize how obvious my tendency towards self-flagellation was in early sobriety until my first mentor told me to “put down the bat and pick up a feather,” which baffled me at first, then made me feel a bit ashamed to have someone call me out like that. This is to say that putting down alcohol and drugs was the first step for me to gain sobering clarity around the ways in which I spoke to myself and treated my body. To the reader I say congratulations on taking the first step to eliminate alcohol and drugs out of the picture so your body can begin to restore itself and you can further nurture your relationship to the body.

 

Physical Benefits of Sobriety

There’s an abundance of positive physiological effects on the body from getting sober, such as an improved immune system (fewer colds!), better sleep, clearer […]

Sober Summer Fun in NYC

For some, the siren song of alcohol and drugs may be louder in the summer as drinking and partying moves outdoors, but with a plethora of sober-friendly summer activities in New York City, the temptation of a cold boozy drink or fear of picking other substances up need not keep you from taking part in the amazing things happening in and around the city. Here is a sampling of sober-friendly, fun-yet-relaxing summer ideas, events, and opportunities available to you and your friends and family in this dazzling metropolis.

 

Outdoor Sober-Friendly Activities

The warmth of the sun on your skin, music wafting in from the distance (or nearby on a stage), and a delicious ice-cold booze-free drink in hand–all of these are a few of the gifts of summer and freshly available for your enjoyment in sobriety. On those days when you’re feeling social, outgoing, and may want to not only be around friends, but also feed off the energy of large outdoor crowds, heed the suggestions below for an energizing outdoor experience.

 

Booze-Free Beach Trip

With an abundance of unique beaches to choose from in New York City, most accessible by public transportation, get ready for a day of relaxation and rest with the soundtrack of the ocean (no Spotify playlist needed). Head out early to nab a favorable spot and remember to pack substantial sun protection, nutritious snacks (as well as a few guilty pleasures), and a cooler (so as not to be tempted to the boozy options readily available). 

Coney Island is famous for it’s amusement park Luna Park and buzzy boardwalks with a plethora of concession stands, vintage shops, and stellar […]

Transitional Living: Aftercare In Recovery

In the world of addiction recovery modalities, transitional living is an all-encompassing, umbrella term for stable, alcohol and drug-free living facilities that can range from sober livings to halfway houses. These spaces might make sense for recovering individuals after they leave an addiction treatment facility (like detox or rehab), especially if they are uncertain about independent living. Forty to sixty percent of people treated for substance use disorders relapse, according to The National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) [1]. This statistic alone, though not surprising, is high. One should take care after leaving treatment to ensure that they have a supportive environment in place, reducing as many internal and external triggers as possible.

Transitional living can be a beautiful bridge to long-term sobriety, lessening the chances of interacting with triggering people, places, and things, as well as softening the edges of what may be a precarious adjustment otherwise. Recovering individuals receive structure, support (from both professionals and peers), and accountability, as well as the freedom to leave the grounds with safe parameters in place. This article will explore different kinds of transitional living, as well as what to look for when considering your options.

 

What’s In A Name: Halfway Houses and Sober Livings

Halfway Houses

While some may use the terms halfway house and sober livings interchangeably, there are marked differences between the two. Halfway houses initially started up in 18th century England to house children who engaged in criminal activity, and similar houses opened in the United States soon after to provide a space for those recently released from prison [2].

Most halfway houses are state-funded and require that residents […]

The First Year – A Sober Woman at 22

That I got sober at 22, and that it stuck, is still a little surprising to me five years later. Most of my partying occurred on a liberal arts college campus tucked away in Connecticut, and when I tried to continue that radically permissive lifestyle six months after (barely) graduating, it failed beautifully. Sobriety didn’t happen in one fell swoop, but over those six months of slipping: cue demoralization, despondence, and despair. This is not meant to be a cautionary tale, but rather, an exploration of that first year: its confusing messiness and simultaneous clarity. I was mostly curious about what life would look like when I wasn’t hijacked by the pursuit of substances at each moment of every day. I see what I learned and what I’d do differently. My sober time (>5 years) now surpasses the number of years that I used (~4.5 years), and the longer I keep at it, the more I realize certain recovery slogans resonate, while others feel irrelevant and require a kind of precise unlearning. “Take what you like, and leave the rest,” is one of my favorites. Sober living isn’t easy, but it’s easier than the runaway train of using and its inevitable wreckage.

 

From Unmanageability To Sobriety

I woke up in Bellevue in July 2013 after yet another blackout episode, thinking I’d discreetly slip out of the hospital gown and vow to never, ever, end up in this scenario again. It was my fourth drinking-related ER visit in four years, and it felt like Groundhog Day. I’d rationalize each trip by saying I should’ve eaten more beforehand or hung out with the friends who would’ve put me […]

Spring Fever: Sober in New York City

Being sober in New York City boasts its own unique set of challenges. Perusing recovery in a bustling & cosmopolitan city brings both opportunities and obstacles alike. While it may seem like everyone spends their days working and nights drinking and partying, there is a growing community of people in the Big Apple who are turning towards an alcohol-free life.

Whether someone self-identifies as in recovery, in a program of harm reduction, clean, sober, or sober-curious, NYC has a whole slew of options and communities that offer fun, relaxation, spiritual growth, and physical fitness, and don’t involve alcohol or substances. Here is a list of communities and non-drinking activities that can aid you in your path of recovery.

SOBER COMMUNITIES

They say the opposite of addiction is connection.  Whether it’s connecting with yourself, another person, a group of people, or a whole community, New York City has no shortage of people, places, things, and ideas to connect with. For those who are looking to alternatives to the traditional 12-step route, NYC’s recovery fellowship options are nearly limitless.

Sober communities offer their members a chance to network and gain insight into their own addictions through the bond of shared experiences. These 12-step alternatives and alternative recovery communities make the path to sobriety more accessible to those who find that the 12-step approach doesn’t fit into their own recovery plan.

BIGVISION

BIGVISION is a nonprofit that organizes free sober events/activities for young adults (18-35) in recovery from substances, ranging from adrenaline-fueled activities like Outdoor Trapeze and Indoor Go-Karting, to creative workshops like knitting […]

Letting Go: Anger, Resentment, and Recovery

I hate my ex. We had a great relationship – almost perfect, in fact. I was a caring, loving, supportive partner who never did anything wrong. She wasn’t perfect, but I was ok with that because unlike her, I’m a patient, tolerant, and understanding person. For years I put up with her weird quirks and annoying habits, of which I have absolutely none. I was the perfect boyfriend, and then suddenly, for no good reason at all, she dumped me. Now she won’t stop throwing her amazing life in my face. Her career is taking off, she started dating a really great guy, traveling the world, having fun with her friends and family, and living her best life. All just to spite me.

Of course none of this is true, but it is how I feel when I let anger and resentment into my life. Resentment allows negative thoughts and feelings take over and hijack my emotions. When I’m feeling resentful, I’m full of righteous indignation, self-pity, and anger. I see the past through a distorted lens that removes personal accountability, allowing me to believe that I’m merely a helpless victim of my own choices. Life itself seems unfair, like everyone else is winning while I sit here feeling like a loser. The longer I bathe in my resentment, the stronger the feelings become, until eventually my resentments eat me alive, leading me back to alcohol, drugs, and addiction.

Alone with my anger

Anger and resentment are common amongst people suffering from addiction, but not all resentments look the same. Resentment can take many forms: jealousy, anger, self-pity, hopelessness, and paranoia, to name a few. […]

5 Ways to Handle Stress in Sobriety

For those in addiction recovery, handling stress and anxiety without their substance of choice can be challenging. Stress can cause a number of physical symptoms, health problems, and left unchecked, can lead to relapse. Luckily, there are a number of healthy, productive ways to deal with stress that don’t involve alcohol, drugs, or harmful behaviors. Here are some tips for how to manage stress in recovery that won’t leave you wanting to numb out:

Wreck some things

Sometimes stress can feel so overwhelming that you just want to break something to clear your head. Well luckily, New York City has two destruction rooms where customers can pay to smash electronics and other household items (with protective gear on, of course) in an effort to reduce stress and have fun. Check out The Wrecking Club or The Rage Cage in Midtown Manhattan. Both rooms allow customers to plug in music on speakers for a customized experience and allow for solo sessions, as well as larger groups.

For a less intense yet still tactile experience, find a squishy stress ball to squeeze or a pillow to bash (safely) against your bed or another surface. Tactile activities are a great way to physically channel stress from within the body and can offer temporary relief.

Sweat it out

Believe it or not, breaking a sweat has been shown to have tremendous benefits for reducing stress and helping to calm an overactive mind. Whether you prefer sweating it out through cardio exercise […]

By |February 25th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Reservations and Rationalizations: Getting in the Way of My Own Recovery

When I first began my journey of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, I didn’t do it because I wanted to get sober. Sure, I agreed to go to detox, I agreed to go to rehab, I agreed to go to my first 12-step meeting, and agreed to try to live without alcohol and drugs, but it wasn’t a decision I wanted to make. It was a decision I had to make. My body was falling apart. My mental and emotional health was almost nonexistent. Everyone in my life that I cared about – my family, my friends, my employers, my romantic partners – had told me that if I didn’t get sober, they could no longer support or enable my behaviors. People told me I was going to die. Doctors told me my liver was failing and my body was experiencing an onslaught of the physical symptoms of addiction. Psychiatrists and therapists told me I was slowly going insane from ever-increasing alcohol and drug use. Hell, even my drinking buddies told me I was a little out of control.

So I decided to give “the whole sobriety thing” a try. I didn’t want to live a life without substances, but I did want to regain the love, trust, respect, and support of the people in my life. I wanted to be part of my family again. I wanted that old relationship back. I wanted that old job back. I wanted my old life back, the way it was before alcohol and drugs became a real problem. I knew the only way to achieve these goals was to do […]

The True Gifts of Recovery – the 12 Promises of Alcoholics Anonymous

For most people, the holiday season is a time of year filled with of joy, revelry, and togetherness with family and friends. But for those of us in recovery, the holiday season can also be a time of great stress, with lots of obstacles and stumbling blocks that can stand in the way of healthy long-term recovery.

In active addiction, my world revolved around things that I wanted but didn’t have, or things I had and wanted more of… Things that would either feed my addiction or feed my ego (which in turn would feed my addiction). I was obsessed with more. Getting more, having more, taking more, wanting more. I was suffering from the disease of more. I had an unfillable hole in me, into which I shoveled all the things I thought would make me feel better: money, sexual partners, alcohol, drugs, status symbols, cars, clothes, jewelry, gadgets, and baubles of all shapes and sizes. But it turned out that none of these things could ever fill the void.

Then finally, I found my path to recovery. Through working a program, I learned that tangible things will never make me happy. The gifts I needed to become happy, joyous, and free couldn’t be bought, sold, or stolen. The gifts I needed could only be given to me by steadfast work in a program of recovery, through self-improvement, through giving freely of myself and helping others in need. In short, the only gifts I needed were the gifts of recovery.

One of my favorite passages of recovery literature comes from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 83-84, in which the authors […]

By |December 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments