It's a difficult task to get and stay sober. It took me 5 years of trying to finally get it, I now have nearly 5 years sober. People don't get lucky and stay sober however, the reason I couldn't stay sober is because I hadn't done what it takes to successfully stay stopped. The top reason in my opinion that people try and fail so often is one paramount reason, they try to do it alone.
Once you get out of inpatient treatment and are ready to tackle the real world, you are very raw and vulnerable. Drug addicts are used to functioning off drugs but also use it to stave off depression, fear, and anxiety. So once it comes time to get into action, it is easy to isolate and try to do things yourself. The problem is, if you knew how to get sober on your own you probably would of saved yourself the heartache and done it a long time ago.
A gigantic factor in getting sober is meeting people who have done it already. Basically, you are who you surround yourself with in this deal. We get sober because we take new ideas we have never thought about before to battle addiction and put them into action. These ideas are usually quite radical from the ones we organically think of when trying to get sober.
When I got first tried to get sober I thought that I had to just acknowledge that I can no longer use drugs or alcohol successfully. I had to find another way to live that didn't involve mind-altering substances. The tricky part is for many, while in treatment for 30 to 90 days many begin to feel great and the obsession to use is completely removed. Many take that as they no longer will ever want to use again and that everything else they are being told to do is kind of unnecessary.
I felt like that plenty of times, and as someone who worked in treatment facilities for years, saw it constantly. You feel so good not using substances for a month but in rehab you are also completely protected from the real world and don't have to face any actual problems.
What would happen to me is I would get out of treatment feeling great, and then once real life hit me I would want to hide and isolate and try to savor this pink cloud I was on without working on myself or changing anything, I would last maybe a month before I relapsed and then would look back in amazement at how bad it got so quickly.
When I finally got sober it looked so different than my other handful of attempts. The biggest revelation I had was that I could absolutely not do it on my own. As soon as I got out of treatment I connected with others at meetings. This is not an easy task, as I mentioned many of us are so raw and full of fear because we are not used to interacting with others completely sober. Not only are you asked to interact with others but you are asked to meet complete strangers and ask them to help you with your life and very personal things.
What I noticed right away as I reached my hand out for help was that meeting others in recovery is like meeting a long lost friend. Sharing that bond of trying to get and stay sober, no matter how different you are on the surface, creates a connection almost instantly. I would just introduce myself to people and before I knew it we had a 45 minute discussion about our lives and you know what? It felt good.
Once I saw how seamless it was to meet and interact with people I began searching for someone to guide me through the steps. It's common sense really, we need to find someone who has been in the same spot as us, lost in early recovery, and found a way out and now has a fulfilling life.
The next key part is to truly surrender, meaning, you no longer make big decisions in your life. That is a difficult task for nearly everyone. For years I tried to make my own decisions in sobriety and it would always lead me back to a drink or drug no matter how good my intentions were. Once I found someone I wanted to guide me, I simply did what they told me. No matter how much my mind told me they were wrong and I should do it a different way, I no longer trusted my mind it would only get me in really deep trouble.
I only am where I am today because I decided to lean on my support network that I created when times get tough. When we get sober that absolutely doesn't mean life gets easier and bad things don't happen anymore. When life gets tough for me, the first thing I do is reach out to my close sober friends and be completely transparent with them. It doesn't solve my problems but it definitely makes me feel a ton better and can put me on a road to solve whatever problem i'm facing.
Find yourself sober people who are absolutely hellbent on doing the right thing. Many people in recovery are not focused on the right things and go sideways before they relapse. Fortunately, the people are doing the right thing are very easy to pick out, them doing the right thing means they want you to reach out to them for help and guidance. Remember, this can not ever be done alone.