Addiction is defined as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior or activity having harmful physical, psychological or social effects, and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.”

As the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes, addiction is not merely a reckless use of substances or experiences, it is a physiological and psychological need for something that typically is dangerous for our well-being and the well-being of others. There are many ways to combat one’s addiction, and though it’s important to take the true steps for real healing and sobriety, coming to terms with this part of ourselves is truly the first step. 

There are many misconceptions and also true treasures about the beginning of one’s recovery path, and this article will discuss key points on how to successfully navigate becoming and staying sober.

The First Step Is Always the Hardest

Coming to terms with our predicament is one of the hardest but most powerful turning points within recovery. Knowing that we are not alone is key in understanding our sobriety, and reaching out to loved ones, recovery centers and sober friends is the first definitive step. Asking for help can be hard, and that’s why there are centers, programs and phone lines all over the United States designed to provide support for those who struggle with it. We all deserve to be heard and seen in our vulnerability, and learning how to do this is a big step in becoming sober and no longer reliant on the substances and/or experiences that have given us comfort.

Finding the Right Treatment Program

This is an important step, as there are many different programs built for many different people. The largest part of this is determining whether we need professional help, and how we can receive that. Even the most driven, dedicated people are rarely successful at getting sober on their own, so having the support of a program is key during this process. For many of us, that will mean going to an in-patient rehabilitation center where we are fully immersed in the healing process, with doctors and psychiatrists guiding us through it. Especially if we are needing to detox, going to an in-patient program will allow us to do this safely and with support, without the possibility of relapse. 

The Do’s & Don’t of Early Recovery

  • Do get involved in support groups, and/or wholesome hobbies/activities that are helpful. There are many different support groups including 12-Step programs, recovery programs and rehab centers that are very compelling during all steps of recovery. However, starting a hobby or activity we have always wanted to try, that isn’t involved with previous substance use, can also be very motivating and helpful.
  • Don’t surround ourselves with triggers and/or possibilities for relapse. Especially in early recovery, it is wise to stay away from all potential triggers and relapse possibilities. Avoiding bars, hanging with friends who are using, and/or participating in activities once regularly participated in while using should occur when getting sober.
  • Do focus on physical and mental health. Eating well, staying hydrated and doing some sort of physical exercise is very important when we start to get sober. Recovery is truly a way of life and incorporating this in all aspects of what we do is important for us to stay healthy and grounded throughout the process. Our bodies can also be key tools in understanding our compulsions and learning more about how we can take control of our own experience through our bodies. Yoga and meditation are powerful philosophies that often help many people through recovery.
  • Don’t forget how important self-care is. Though a lot of recovery seems somewhat mundane, indulging in self-care can be equally as important. Enjoying a good book, binge-watching a funny show or taking a long walk can all be important parts of learning how to love ourselves through the process of getting and staying sober.
  • Do stay honest about limits. Staying grounded in our recovery and sobriety above anything else and being honest with ourselves about how much we can give to others, while also making sure we don’t overextend ourselves, is a really important piece. Also staying honest with ourselves, our sponsors and anyone helping us through recovery is very important. Even if it’s uncomfortable, we have to be honest about how we are feeling and how the whole process is affecting us.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of habitual patterns. Though there is power in our resilience, it is important not to underestimate how powerful addiction can be over us. Putting ourselves into risky situations or testing the waters can be difficult for someone with years of sobriety, let alone for someone brand new into it. Be sure to always stay humble on the recovery path and honor your need to step back or walk away from triggering situations.
  • Do create healthy habits that bring pleasure and joy into recovery. Wake up at the same time every day, plan out your day via a planner or planner app, regularly cook new and traditional foods, create a morning routine that is centered around prayer, reflection, meditation or movement (or all) to begin your day. There are many different ways to enjoy life in sobriety and creating healthy habits to combat the older, less healthy ones is a key part of the process.

Getting sober can sometimes feel bewildering and overwhelming, and almost but we are here to tell you that it’s not. Getting sober, and staying sober, is possible for anyone at any time. The key is to find the support that we need, continue giving and receiving that support throughout the journey, and staying humble throughout the process. 


At Pinelands, we know how scary and alienating coming to terms with an addiction disorder may be. Getting sober can be a bewildering and overwhelming process, but it is not impossible by any means. Pinelands offers many different options to recovery from substance abuse. We know the importance of being seen and heard during your process, and we want to honor that in the best way that we can. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction of any kind, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. We are here to answer your questions or to schedule an appointment today. Call us today at (877) 557-5372.