Monthly Archives: January 2015

16 Tips For Maintaining A Sober Lifestyle

Guest Blog by: Amber Brubaker

Becoming clean and sober is an admirable step in and of itself, but staying that way is the real challenge. It takes a significant amount of willpower and a certain reliance on resources available to you. As you make a goal to abstain from your addiction, consider these tips.

1. Lean on Support

If you’ve managed to overcome an addiction, you’ve probably developed a good support system. Once you’ve renounced your addictive behaviors, keep in contact with those people. Their support will help you keep your goal.

2. Use Your Rehab Facility

If you fall back into addiction, use a good rehab facility to help you get better. The best of rehab centers, like this one, can help you get clean and on your way to a better future.

3. Buddy Up

Don’t try to do it alone. Find someone going through a similar trial who sincerely wants to get better, and stick with them. You can help each other stay clean and happy during your time of need.

4. Set Goals

Once you’re clean, it’s only the beginning. You have a lifetime of abstinence ahead of you, and you need some concrete goals to help you keep up with it. Set realistic goals to help you with your career, relationships, and daily habits.

5. Schedule It In

As you probably know, temptation is at its strongest when you’re bored. Schedule out your day to help you avoid moments of boredom. Just be careful not to make your schedule too stressful, since stress is another trigger for addictive behavior.

6. Organize

Organization can be a significant tool in your efforts to be better each day. Organize your environment. Make it clean and functional so that it fosters good feelings. Focus your time and priorities so that you’re able to accomplish the most important things each day.

7. Join Groups

Hopefully you have a good formal support group who has helped you through your time of need. Stick with that group, but also look for other groups and societies you can join, such as church or sports groups, or any other group that shares your healthy interests. Doing so will help you to identify with other healthy, yet enjoyable things.

8. Work Out

Exercise has long been known for its mental and physical health benefits. It can be a good outlet for pent up stress and anxiety, both well-known triggers for your addiction. Work out with a buddy if possible.

9. Learn a New Thing

Seek out skills, both old and new. Learning a new skill can help you find something that you really enjoy and that makes you happy so that you can focus on something other than your past addiction.

10. Seek Out Good, Clean Fun

Though it may not have seemed like it in the past, it is possible to have fun without the aid of a substance. Enjoy the magic of movies, board games, alcohol-free parties, sports, and more as you search for activities you can fully enjoy. You can have fun and remember every minute of it!

11. Serve Others

One of the greatest ways to improve your mental health is to get outside of yourself. Doing something meaningful for others is a great way to relieve the pressure of your own issues.

12. Become a Mentor

With your experience in becoming clean, you’re a prime candidate for mentoring, and it’s one of the best things you can do to stay clean. You’ll also receive the satisfaction accompanied with helping someone else while consciously focusing on being a good example of sobriety.

13. Meditate

Connecting with your inner you is an important part of staying sober, and meditation is a great way to do just that. It will help you be honest with yourself, relax, and recognize the many things you have, helping you stick with your goal of sobriety.

14. Reconnect

Your addiction probably resulted in a few lost relationships. Reconnecting with a few of those people may help you to keep your goals. It can broaden your support circle and give you more reasons to fight the addiction.

15. Find New Hobbies

Chances are, many of your old hobbies involved something to do with your addiction. Now is the time to form new, healthy hobbies to help you enjoy life to the fullest. Test out a few different activities and discover what you really love to do. It might be fishing, hiking, reading, songwriting, crafting, or any other number of healthy and entertaining activities.

16. Keep a Journal

A journal is the best place to record your emotions as you strive to remain clean and sober. You can write down your goals, make plans to keep them, and vent when you’re having a particularly tough day.

Though staying sober certainly isn’t easy, the journey is incredibly rewarding. Your determination will bring success and a new life filled with meaning.

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How Music Inspires Me to Keep Fighting in My Recovery from Heroin

“There was a light, that found me in darkness, failing and hopeless, barely alive.

For the first time, I saw your perfection, in my reflection, there in my eyes.

My feet are on the ground, my heart is beating now, your love has shown me how to live.

You’re my recovery, changing who I was to who I’m meant to be.

Healing all that’s broken as you wash me clean, oh, you set me free, you’re my recovery.”

-Lyrics from “My Recovery” by Unspoken

 

Those are some of the deepest, meaningful lyrics I have ever heard.  As a born-again Christian that God pulled out of the grips of a hardcore heroin addiction, there may not be a song that better represents my life.  Let me explain a little.

Those lyrics are from a song by Unspoken, a Christian band, off their self-titled album that was released several months ago.  The lead singer of Unspoken, Chad Mattson, is a recovering addict and a lot of their songs share the power of God.  I fell in love with their music after buying their album and immediately took an interest in the lyrics, as a lot of them seem like they were written by me.  Even though I have never met any of the band members of Unspoken, I feel a deep connection to their music.

You see, I feel very confident that God pulled me out of my addiction, and he is my recovery, as the song talks about.  I was as hopeless as an individual can get after spending a combined four years of my life in jails and rehabs and never being able to go one single day without shooting dope.  My family kicked me out and didn’t want me around because I was always stealing their money and valuables.  Out of the several years I was hooked on heroin, I had no hope of quitting because my drug-using friends and I could never stop.  I literally thought it was impossible to stop doing heroin so I developed a mentality that an addict was who I was meant to be, and I started to embrace it in a weird way.

Nothing could get me to quit using – jails, rehabs, overdoses – but one day I got a strange feeling that if I checked into rehab I would be able to beat my addiction.  At the time, I didn’t understand what that feeling was, but looking back, I firmly believe that was the Holy Spirit working in me.  I followed that vibe and checked myself into a rehab down in Jackson and that was the start to a journey that has not only led to me getting and staying sober, but developing a life that I can be proud of today.  Though I had to do a lot of the work, God was the one who did for me what I could not do for myself.  I NEVER wanted to quit and never thought I could, but after years of prayers by my parents and self-inflicted misery from my addiction, God jumped in.

Music has always been an escape for me, even going back to when I was a child.  I love to be able to turn on a song and connect with the lyrics and singer.  The other day I was at a Christian bookstore in Lansing and the manager there started talking to me about how music was what brought him to the Lord.  It really got me thinking about the power music plays in our lives and the ability it has to affect our thoughts.  God can literally use music to bring us closer to him, and I can say with confidence that listening to Unspoken not only helps me connect with God, but inspires me to keep pressing on in my recovery.

Recovery from addiction is often viewed by experts to be treated best with a one-day-at-a-time mentality.  That is how I live my life today, one day, even sometimes one hour, at a time.  However, some days are just harder than others to get through.  Obviously, even people that don’t suffer from addiction have their rough days, but when an addict like me has a bad day I am always more vulnerable to start thinking about drugs and how a high might get me through them tough times easier.  That’s just the power of the disease.  Listening to Unspoken, though, it gives me the motivation to keep going, to keep staying clean, and to keep leaning on God and giving him the glory.

I really feel led to use my story of recovery to inspire others and show the power of God.  That is the main reason I started this blog, to provide inspiration and hope by writing about God helping me out of addiction.  Listening to Unspoken, I can’t help but think they have a very similar mission.  Read this powerful chorus in their song “Start a Fire”:

 

“Start a fire in my soul, fan the flame and make it grow, so there’s no doubt or denying.

Let it burn so brightly, that everyone around can see, that it’s you, that it’s you that we need.

Start a fire in me.”

 

So powerful, isn’t it?  I mean, God calls each and every one of us to tell others about him, and there is no more powerful of a message than that of “I was lost, but now I’m found!”  That’s the great thing about Jesus, all of the horrible stuff I did as a result of my addiction, well, Jesus dying on the cross enabled me to be forgiven for all of that!  That is something that almost brings tears to my eyes, just thinking about the grace and mercy God has on us!

So if you are struggling today, I want to encourage you to reach out to God.  Also, try listening to some of Unspoken’s music.  It can really uplift you if you let it.  There is hope if you are alive today.  Whether you’re suffering from addiction, going through a hard relationship, just lost a loved one, anything, I promise there is hope.  Just please give God a try.  Look at the message of Chad Mattson from Unspoken.  He went from being a drug addict to a very successful Christian singer because of the power of God!  Have a great day everybody, and remember I am always here if you need me!

Here is the song that I talked about at the top of the blog:

 

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