Five Self-Help Tools for Maintaining Sobriety

It takes long-term support and determination to recover from drug or alcohol addiction. Fortunately, a variety of widely available tools and services can help you build a strong foundation for your recovery.

Actively working on your sobriety can help you maintain the progress you made after deciding to quit or attending rehab. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 40 to 60 percent of people with substance use disorders return to drug or alcohol use after receiving substance abuse treatment.

Self-help tools that can bolster your chances of success in recovery include support groups, smartphone apps, addiction helplines and books about addiction and recovery. These tools offer crucial support and assist people in avoiding relapse after treatment.

1. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two of the largest recovery support movements in the United States. These support groups offer a wide range of tools and teach vital skills to help people through the struggles of recovery.

The free programs host thousands of meetings nationwide to foster a community of likeminded peers focused on maintaining sobriety. Members gather to share support and perspective with others facing the same struggles.

Both AA and NA are part of a 12-step movement that promotes self-improvement and realization. Members follow these steps to focus on actions that are beneficial to their recovery, such as making amends with people they harmed while they were using drugs or alcohol. Working the steps keeps members striving toward positive goals.

The programs also connect people with members called sponsors who are well-versed in the challenges of recovery. Sponsors offer critical support to individuals when they are struggling to maintain sobriety. They help keep individuals accountable, and they are always available to listen.

2. Smartphone Apps for Recovery

Smartphone apps are a new and convenient way for people in recovery to find support. Numerous recovery apps can help people with issues related to addiction, including finding sober friends nearby, tracking sobriety progress, and staying focused and motivated during recovery.

Smartphone apps for people in recovery include:

  • Sober Grid: This free app allows people to connect with other sober individuals in their community and across the world. Sober Grid allows individuals to network, reach out for help and share thoughts and inspirational messages in a social media format.

  • Quit That!: This tool helps people to track their progress while abstaining from substance abuse and other bad habits. The free app allows individuals to track the minutes, hours, days, weeks and years since they last engaged in one or more unhealthy activities. Quit That! also tracks how much money people have saved since achieving sobriety.

  • SoberTool: Developed by a Harvard-educated addiction counselor, SoberTool offers free and immediate help for people in recovery. Those on the verge of relapse can open the app at any time to view a message that motivates them to maintain sobriety. The app features popular slogans from 12-step support groups as well as techniques used in behavioral therapy.

These apps are just a few of examples of the digital support available to people in recovery from a substance use disorder.

3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Hotlines

National and local helplines offer free and confidential assistance to people experiencing a crisis related to substance use and mental health disorders.

Helplines you can call for support and information include:

  • SAMHSA National Helpline
    1-800-662-Help (1-800-662-4357)

    SAMHSA’s helpline offers assistance for individuals and families facing substance abuse and mental health issues. Services are available in both English and Spanish.

  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Hope Line

    The NCADD Hope Line provides professional assistance for people facing issues related to drugs and alcohol. Hope line operators can offer helpful information, assess your situation and determine the best course of action to help you overcome your struggles with substance abuse.

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine
    800-950-NAMI (800-950-6264)

    NAMI’s free helpline provides information, referrals and support to people, families and caregivers affected by a mental health disorder such as addiction. The line is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.

These helplines offer easy-to-access assistance to individuals who have nowhere else to turn in their time of need. The services provided by SAMHSA and NCADD are available 24/7.

4. Books that Promote Recovery and Self-Improvement

Books are a great tool for people who want to work on self-improvement during recovery. They allow people to better themselves on their own time and at their own pace.

One of the most popular books among people in recovery from alcoholism is “Back to Basics” by Wally P., which introduces readers to the original AA program that produced a 75 percent recovery rate. The book covers the 12 Steps and teaches readers about what the AA program can do for their recovery.

A great book for those interested in faith-based recovery is “A Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. The devotional book aims to help people answer some of life’s toughest questions and strive toward living a life filled with God’s grace.

5. Meditation

Meditation can be a highly beneficial tool for people facing mental stress during recovery. The mindfulness practice allows individuals to clear their minds and free themselves from worries and mental discomfort. It can also provide perspective and help people find peace while navigating addiction and other problems in their lives.

Staying on top your sobriety is no easy feat. It takes hard work, dedication and perseverance to maintain long-term recovery. But the effort is worth the reward. When building a strong foundation for recovery, it’s important to use every tool at your disposal. To stay proactive against relapse, try incorporating these self-help tools into your sobriety plan.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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