Are you looking for a way to avoid alcohol altogether once you get out of rehab? It’s not going to be easy!
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 85 percent of Americans admit to drinking at least once in their lives. And more than 70 percent admit to drinking at least once every year. These stats suggest you could struggle to stay away from people who drink alcohol.
You’ll also have a tough time shielding your eyes from advertising aimed at those who drink alcohol every time you turn on the TV or open a magazine. Alcohol companies spend about $2 billion each year marketing their products to the masses.
But this doesn’t mean it’ll be impossible for you to steer clear of alcohol for the most part following rehab. Here are 10 tips that will help you avoid alcohol at all costs.
1. Surround Yourself with a Great Support System
When you spend time in a residential treatment center getting help for your alcohol issues, you’ll be surrounded by all the support you could ever ask for. From the staff at your rehab center to your fellow patients, you’ll see help in every direction.
But once you leave rehab, you might not automatically be surrounded by this kind of strong support anymore. Therefore, it’s essential for you to create a support system that can help you through the recovery process.
If possible, turn to your closest family members and friends for support and lean on them when you need to. This may, in some cases, require you to apologize and promise to make amends for things you’ve done in the past. But it’ll be well worth the effort you put into it.
If you can swing it, you should even consider moving in with someone like a parent or a sibling to give yourself constant support. You’ll have a much easier time transitioning back to a healthy life when you have people who care about you in your corner.
2. Join a Support Group
No matter how strong your support group is, there’s a decent chance that most of the people in it aren’t going to have any first-hand experience with alcohol issues. They won’t be able to relate to everything you’re going through when you leave rehab.
Therefore, it’s important for you to think about finding a support group that can help. When you join a support group that caters to alcohol abusers, you’ll put yourself in the position to connect with others who share the same struggles as you.
You’ll also give yourself an opportunity to help others who are trying to come to terms with their alcohol problems. This will provide you with some sense of fulfillment and make you feel like you have a purpose post-rehab.
3. Remove Alcohol and Alcohol-Related Paraphernalia from Your Home
Are you planning on moving back into your home or apartment after rehab? If so, you shouldn’t do it until you have removed any alcohol or alcohol-related paraphernalia from the premises.
This means throwing out any beer and wine that you may have kept in the refrigerator. It also means getting rid of any bottles of liquor that you may have stored in a bar area or kitchen cabinet.
Additionally, it includes tossing:
- Beer mugs
- Wine glasses
- Shot glasses
- Cocktail shakers
- Bar tools
- Beer signs
If you’re planning on staying in someone else’s home after rehab, it would be unfair to ask them to throw away any alcohol they might have. But it wouldn’t be a bad idea to tell them that it might make more sense for them to lock it up somewhere.
This will make it hard for you to get easy access to alcohol at any time.
4. Stay Out of Bars, Clubs, and Other Places That Serve Alcohol
This should almost go with saying, but you should not go to bars for any reason when you’re recovering from alcohol addiction. You should get into the habit of saying, “No,” when people ask you to join them at a happy hour after work or at a going-away party for a colleague.
You should also stay out of nightclubs. Even if you think you can handle going to the club to dance, it doesn’t make sense for you to surround yourself with temptation. All it’ll take is one weak moment to make you throw all the progress you’ve made away.
Consider staying out of other places that serve alcohol, too. For example, you may not want to visit that chain restaurant down the street that serves alcohol or even the minor-league baseball stadium in your city that has $1 beer nights.
Once you have a few years under your belt, you might be able to visit these kinds of places without a problem. But when your sobriety is still fresh, these places should be out of the question.
5. Stop Hanging out with Your Old Drinking Buddies
A lot of the people who suffer from alcoholism enjoy drinking alone. Drinking alone is actually one of the first warning signs for those who suspect they may have a drinking problem.
But there are also many alcohol abusers who enjoy spending their nights out at the bar with their drinking buddies. These people love spending time around others while they’re drinking.
Do you fall into this second category? If so, one of the main things you’ll want to do when you’re trying to avoid alcohol is staying away from your drinking buddies.
If your drinking buddies are your real friends, they’ll understand why you can’t hang out with them as much as you used to. In fact, they’ll encourage you not to hang out with them anymore and to focus on your sobriety.
But if your drinking buddies are more like casual acquaintances, they might continue to push you to hang out with them like old times. You could find yourself in a tough spot if you do. Tell them thanks but no thanks and stay sober.
6. Create a New Daily Routine for Yourself
When you spend at least a few hours everyday drinking, your schedule tends to revolve around your drink of choice. You spend almost your entire day, either drinking or thinking about when you’re going to drink.
This won’t be the case anymore when you’re newly sober. You’ll have about 16 hours every single day to fill with…something. It can be challenging trying to fill up your calendar.
It’s best to create a daily routine for yourself and stick to it when you first emerge from rehab. It’ll add some structure to your life and help you avoid having too much free time on your hands.
Your daily routine should include:
- At least eight hours of sleep with a regular wake up time and bedtime
- Three sit-down meals in the morning, afternoon, and evening
- Thirty to 60 minutes of exercise at least a few times per week
- New hobbies that you’re pursuing (more on this one in a second!)
- Family time as well as time with friends
Try to have every minute of your day accounted for. It’ll keep you on track and allow you to establish new habits for yourself.
7. Find New Hobbies to Replace Drinking
As we just mentioned, finding new hobbies to add your daily routine is essential when you’re leaving rehab. Spend time considering which hobbies you want to pursue and try different things to see what sticks.
Some good post-rehab hobbies are:
- Signing up to play recreational sports
- Taking up writing, photography, or graphic design
- Volunteering at a nursing home or soup kitchen
- Learning how to speak a foreign language
- Reading magazines and books
There aren’t many things in life that are going to give you the same feeling you used to get when drinking. But there are dozens of things that can make you feel so much better about the way you’re living your life.
See which hobbies make you the most passionate and pursue them as hard as you can. You might be surprised by what you can accomplish when you don’t have alcohol slowing you down.
8. See How Much Money You Can Save by Not Drinking
Have you ever sat down and crunched the numbers to see how much you were spending at the height of your alcohol problem? It may not have seemed like much at the time, but you probably spent a small fortune keeping your drinking problem alive.
Let’s say you were a wine drinker and bought an $8.99 bottle of wine every night. You were spending almost $3,300 every year on wine alone!
Or let’s say you were a beer drinker who blew through three $23.99 30-packs every week. You were spending more than $70 every week on beer alone—or more than $3,700 every year!
Now that you’re not drinking anymore, you can keep that money in your pocket where it belongs. You can also start saving up for things that will provide you with more joy than alcohol ever did.
You can use your alcohol savings to go on a vacation, buy a car, or even put a downpayment on a home. You’ll be amazed by how much money you have when you’re not spending it at the liquor store anymore.
9. Set Goals for Your Future
Those who struggle with alcohol problems often struggle to set long-term goals for themselves. The alcohol that they drink is like an anchor for their futures and won’t allow them to think about where they want to be in 5, 10, or 25 years.
Once alcohol is out of your system, your future will suddenly be wide open. As long as you’re able to avoid alcohol as you move forward, you can do all of the things you’ve ever dreamed about doing.
Take the time to set some goals for yourself. Your goals can include:
- Finishing college and earning a degree
- Obtaining a better-paying job in your field or finding a job in a new industry
- Starting up a business
- Getting married and having kids
- Moving to a new city, a new state, or even a new country
Setting goals will force you to think about what you want out of your life. It’ll also give you a list of things to look forward to in the coming years.
10. Ask for Help with Your Problem If You Need It
If you follow the rest of the tips listed here, you should be able to avoid alcohol with no problem. But no matter how hard you try to stay away from it, there will inevitably be times when it’s around.
That might make you think about trying to drink again. One little drink wouldn’t hurt, right?
Wrong. If you have a drinking problem, even just one little drink can send you spiraling back out of control. It’s why studies indicate that as many as 60 percent of people relapse after seeking treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
There are going to be times when you struggle more than usual to navigate your way through your new world. When this happens, there is no shame in asking for help from those around you.
You may even want to enlist in a recovery management program that gives you the individualized support you need to stay sober. A peer recovery support specialist can help you stay on the straight and narrow and make sure your alcohol problem remains a thing of the past.
Avoid Alcohol to Stay on the Road to Recovery
It’s difficult to watch a sporting event, read a magazine, or even drive down the road without being inundated with advertising created by alcohol companies. It seems to be everywhere, especially when you’re in recovery.
You may not be able to avoid all of this advertising. But you can avoid alcohol by being mindful about where you go and who you hang out with. You can put yourself in the position to succeed by staying out of bars and clubs and surrounding yourself with supportive people who want what’s best for you.
Give us a call today to see how we can help you put up a fight against your alcohol problem.