Staying Strong When Nobody’s Watching

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and fact-checked by an addiction expert.
Clinically Reviewed By: Karen Williams, LPC
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and fact-checked by an addiction expert.

It’s one thing to stay sober when you’re surrounded by peers or have the one-on-one support of your sponsor to fall back on; it’s another thing entirely when you’re alone with your urges, and a dangerous opportunity arises. Maintaining your commitment in the presence of addictive cravings is a skill, and you can learn to develop that skill with treatment and support. 

At the end of the day, however, you must rely on your dedication to change if you want to fully overcome the destructive thoughts that threaten your sobriety. A good recovery resource will help you get sober; a great recovery resource will help you stay sober. Learn to set yourself up for success in challenging circumstances by accessing your inner wellspring of resolve.

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Nobody Knows You Like You Do

While your environment plays a major role in your recovery, the most supportive surroundings in the world can’t help you if you’re not ready to help yourself. Your ability to overcome addiction will ultimately come down to the dedication you’re willing to cultivate in the face of the most challenging moments.

Even the most versed professionals won’t be able to predict every pitfall that might appear before you. You know yourself better than anyone, and despite the support, you’ll receive, the most challenging moments you’ll face are likely to be the ones that occur when nobody else is watching or even aware that you’re struggling.

You may have heard from healthcare professionals or read in related resources that a successful recovery is built upon an inner transformation that you bring about within your mind. Beyond addressing the symptoms of your addiction, true growth means changing the way you relate to your desires and attaining a healthier perspective on the kind of life you want to live. This transformation is often harder than simply deciding to change; for many, it occurs due to continuous concerted effort, treatment, therapy, and peer support groups. However, deciding to change is the crucial seed from which a lasting recovery can grow, and it all begins with self-knowledge.

Self-Knowledge Is Your Greatest Asset

Because each person battles with addiction in unique ways, you must act as your own first line of defense against destructive urges. Even if you don’t feel able to prevent them on your own, identifying the warning signs of oncoming triggers, urges, or relapse can give you the chance to get help in that critical instance before you choose.

To make sure you know your warning signs, take the time to assess your behavior relating to substance use and see if you can determine any patterns. Whether you find that you tend to develop reckless thoughts when getting stuck in traffic, arguing with a loved one, or feeling let down by others, take note of the causes. Even if that knowledge doesn’t help you break the cycles right away, it can allow you to retain the presence of mind to attempt to reach out for help, change your circumstances, or follow any other form of prevention plan you set for yourself in stressful situations.

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Isolation Is an Obstacle to Recovery

The road to recovery is often walked on two tracks at once: the internal and the external. The most powerful external help — treatment, therapy, support groups, and trusting relationships — can carry you further than you’d go on your own, but they can’t take you over the threshold of commitment to change. Negative thoughts like self-loathing and hopelessness can pull you away from beneficial people and resources. Isolation breeds addictive behavior and should be considered a significant roadblock to your recovery.

Just like isolation from others can hamper your healing, you can also become isolated inside your mind. Current medical understanding of relapse suggests that relapse occurs in stages, and the first stage begins in the mind, far before you even consider pouring a drink. “Mental relapse” occurs when recurring negative thoughts and emotions cloud your mind, separating you from the proactive, positive mindset that has carried you through the ups and downs of recovery.

While it can be easy to write off bad moods as circumstantial or insignificant, pay close attention to your motivation for working towards recovery each day. If you find yourself entering a slump, don’t wait for things to get worse–reach out to a trusted resource right away. Only you can identify the critical early warning signs of psychological turmoil. By being your own watchful guardian, you can protect your investment in your future happiness and save yourself far greater trouble in the long run.

While a supportive environment can play a crucial role in keeping you on track, your success in sobriety is ultimately up to you. Just as important as your ability to resist external temptations is your discipline in rejecting temptations from within. At Cornerstone Healing Center, we know that the core of recovery is an inner wellspring of determination and commitment. Our facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, is home to a diverse selection of powerful treatments and therapies designed to help you achieve change at the deepest levels. Between effective care and supportive relationships with your peers, we provide the chance to start your new life off the right way. It’s been shown that two-thirds of people who get through their first year without relapse go on to achieve long-term sobriety. The work you put in during that formative first year will lay the foundation for a lifetime of success and confidence. Don’t go it alone. Call (800) 643-2108 to learn more.

Need help for addiction? We will meet you with compassion and care.

Call to learn about our programs. Even if we can't help you, we will give you life-saving resources.
More addiction and recovery resources:

Published On: 04/21/2021

Author: Estil Wallace, Founder/CEO of Cornerstone Healing Center

Author: Estil Wallace, Founder/CEO of Cornerstone Healing Center

Estil is the CEO/Founder of Cornerstone and has worked in the addiction recovery field for 12 years. He has served 5A.org as the organization’s’ Executive Director, Board Member and President. Estil has a passion to help people get sober utilizing abstinence-based recovery.

Clinical Reviewer: Karen Williams, LPC

Clinical Reviewer: Karen Williams, LPC

Karen is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 15 years experience. She not only specializes in addiction, but is in recovery as well. Karen is our clinical director.

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