Strategies, Planning, and How to Stay Sober

Staying sober can be one of the hardest parts of a recovery journey. These helpful tips for staying sober will meet you where you are in your recovery journey.

You’ve completed a seven-day detox plan, you’ve worked with your treatment team, and you’re ready to step back into the real world. For some, maintaining sobriety is the hardest part of the process. Unfortunately, as many as 60% of people with addiction will experience relapse. 

Thankfully, there are many techniques you can use to prevent relapse. With these tips for staying sober, you can enjoy your new, healthy life feeling in control. Hold onto your addiction-free life with these strategies! 

Establish Goals

Before applying the rest of these tips, outline your SMARTER goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely
  • Evaluate
  • Readjust

According to one study, Harvard students who wrote down tangible goals made 10 times as much as their classmates after graduating. Writing down SMARTER goals will give your road to recovery direction. It can help you remain focused on maintaining sobriety long-term. 

Detoxing and getting sober provides you with a clean slate. What do you want to accomplish in life? Maybe you want to earn your degree, get a job, find the love of your life, or start a business.

Choose a goal that’s meaningful to you. Establishing a goal will keep you motivated.

Each time you accomplish a goal, celebrate. Celebrating successes big and small will help you recognize how far you’ve come over time. Let your goals give your life a renewed sense of purpose.

Develop a Routine

If you completed an inpatient treatment program, you likely grew accustomed to a set schedule. A schedule can give life structure. Without it, you could grow bored, which could lead to a relapse.

You can prevent relapse by developing a new routine. Use what you learned in rehab to maintain your sobriety.

Write down a daily schedule. Look for engaging activities that can fill in any gaps in your routine. You can start vocational training, go to school, or develop your career.

Leave time in your schedule for outpatient treatment. Attending therapy sessions and support group meetings are essential to maintaining sobriety long-term.

If you need help developing your routine, talk to your therapist or someone at your outpatient treatment center. They can provide you with resources.

Don’t forget to add time for fun to your routine. Staying sober doesn’t have to feel rigid. Instead, look for ways to make the most of your sober lifestyle with activities like:

  • Rock climbing
  • Dancing
  • Joining a sports team
  • Photography
  • Surfing
  • Painting/drawing
  • Singing
  • Cooking
  • Writing

As part of your routine, make sure to keep up with supplements or medications your doctor or therapist prescribed. Outline which medications you need to take and when on your schedule. 

Don’t stop taking these medications or supplements unless a doctor advises you to. Otherwise, you could experience withdrawal symptoms. 


To maintain your health and prevent relapse, add time for exercise to your routine. Exercise will boost your natural endorphins. Your serotonin levels will increase, which can improve your:

  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Digestion
  • Appetite

Stabilizing your mood with natural endorphins can improve your quality of life. When your body isn’t producing serotonin, you can develop depression or anxiety.

Look into exercises you haven’t tried before. For example, you can join an exercise class and bring your friends along.

Consider adding relaxation methods like yoga and meditation to your schedule. These techniques can reduce feelings of stress. Otherwise, stress can function as a trigger and lead to a relapse. 

Exercising can help distract you from cravings. It also adds structure to your day. Use it as a way to form positive social connections, treat depression, and combat anxiety.

Eat Right

Your body needs to heal after an addiction. Choose foods that will reduce inflammation, promote healing, and improve immune function. These foods can provide the fuel you need while staying sober:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Berries
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Poultry
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Organ meats
  • Shellfish
  • Sweet potato

These foods contain vital vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function. Before making major changes to your diet, consult a nutritionist. They can make recommendations based on your body’s unique needs.

It’s common for people to develop a vitamin deficiency during or after an addiction. Consider getting your blood work tested to recognize deficiencies. Supplement your diet with vitamins as needed.

Avoid Triggers

To prevent relapse, you need to recognize the triggers that lead you toward substance abuse in the first place. Triggers can include people, places, or activities that spark certain thoughts. After encountering a trigger, you may turn back to drugs or alcohol to cope.

Stay on your recovery journey by learning how to identify and navigate these triggers. A therapist can help you recognize the triggers that lead to your addiction. These could include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Environmental cues
  • Friends who used drugs or alcohol
  • Relationship issues
  • Work-related stress
  • Financial trouble

Try to avoid your triggers as much as possible. If you do encounter a trigger, ask for help. 

Ask for Help Maintaining Sobriety

You don’t have to stay on your sober journey alone. You can always ask for help when you feel emotional, stressed, or triggered. Develop a support system and surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Attend regular group meetings as part of your outpatient treatment. AA or NA meetings can help you learn from people who have experienced what you are now. Learning from their perspectives can help you recognize how to continue staying sober. 

Consider Outpatient Treatment

If you want to make a lasting transformation, consider intensive outpatient treatment. Working with licensed professionals can help you restore your health and maintain your sobriety. Programs include:

  • One-on-one counseling and case management
  • Dependable alcohol/drug testing
  • In-person evaluations
  • Holistic treatments
  • Community building
  • Family sessions

Outpatient treatment will provide you with a roadmap to recovery. Remember, recovery is an ongoing process, even after initial treatment. 

Apply These Tips for Staying Sober Today

As you use these tips for staying sober, remember: you’re not alone. Your support system is here to help you. Continue on your sober journey with these strategies today. 

Visalia Recover Center isn’t just another treatment center. We’re built on empathy and expertise. We’re dedicated to providing trauma-informed, ethical, and effective treatments. 

We have over two decades of experience treating substance use disorders in Tulare County. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.