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April 20, 2023

Overcoming Common Obstacles in Sobriety

For some, the gift of sobriety can take huge amounts of perseverance and courage to come by. Anyone privy to the ravages of addiction knows it is still worth fighting for. The pitfalls on the road to recovery can trip up even those most determined to change their lives for the better. Knowing how to avoid a relapse and negotiate temptation are key to lasting sobriety.

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April 20, 2023

What is Sobriety

Sobriety is the state of not being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other addictions. While it is the default state for most people, it can mean a fresh start and the chance to build a new life for those who are fighting their dependence on substances.

In such cases, sobriety takes commitment, discipline, and perseverance to achieve. Old habits die hard and it can be easy for those recovering from substance abuse to slip back into their former ways. Knowing about these challenges and how to avoid them is key to maintaining long-term sobriety.

The Importance of Overcoming Obstacles to Lasting Recovery

Sobriety can be a life-long battle for someone who’s been given to addiction. It involves making long-term commitments to coping with stresses and triggers in healthy ways, instead of trying to escape them by relapsing into addiction. Every day that you are sober, you are one step away from the life you endured during your addiction. It’s also one step closer to the person you want to become.

No matter how long it has been since you quit a bad habit, there are circumstantial and emotional triggers that can have reaching back for one last drink or drag. A permanent recovery involves understanding these triggers and having coping mechanisms to deal with them.

The journey to sobriety may not be easy, but it’s absolutely worth it! Every time you overcome a tipping point or obstacle, you build resilience, self-awareness, and compassion. These are virtues that will keep you steadfast on the road to recovery.

Common Obstacles in Sobriety

Before discussing strategies to maintain your sobriety, let’s look at the common obstacles that threaten it. Understanding these obstacles will give you a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, helping you sidestep any risk of relapse.

Cravings and Triggers

Battling your cravings and triggers can be difficult but are an absolute must in any successful recovery.

Cravings are intense urges to use the substance you’re addicted to, like drugs or alcohol. For instance, a heavy drinker might have certain neural connections rewired in the brain. For such a person, a bad day at work is all it takes for cravings to resurface.

A trigger is a situation, emotion, or person that increases your risk of relapse. For instance, running into a group of friends who share your addiction can trigger you to fall back on your bad habit.

To overcome cravings and triggers effectively, you first need to identify them. It’s different for different people. Keep track of the people, places, or situations that make it difficult for you to say no.

Social Pressures and Isolation

Recovery can mean distancing yourself from the friends and lifestyles you were used to during your addiction. Unless managed adequately, the resulting feeling of isolation can cause you to relapse.

It’s the same with social pressure. Being in company that uses the same substances you were addicted to can sometimes prove overpowering.

Fighting isolation and social pressure requires a support group of friends and family, healthy activities that you can engage in, and people of similar experiences you can share your thoughts with.

Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Mental health comorbidities or co-occurring mental health disorders can be a significant obstacle to sobriety. Battling addiction is much more difficult for someone suffering from a condition such as PTSD, anxiety, or an eating disorder.

That is because mental health disorders are what often drive individuals to addiction in the first place. Someone struggling with depression, for instance, may have been led to drug or alcohol abuse in an attempt to escape its symptoms.

Overcoming a co-occurring mental health disorder with addiction recovery requires professional help. It usually takes integrated therapy to address your addiction and your mental health disorder simultaneously.

Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles in Sobriety

There are sure to be challenges in your road to recovery, but none of them are insurmountable. The right mindset, strategies, and support are often all it takes to turn your life around.

Here are some tips to help you in that regard.

Identify your triggers

Take careful note of what triggers you and the situations that provoke a relapse, and avoid them as best you can. If you cannot avoid them, work with your therapist to find healthier ways to cope with them.

Keep yourself occupied

As you’re building a new life, define your goals and ambitions for the future, and keep working towards them. Occupy yourself doing things that make you feel good and proud of yourself.

Make the right friends

Connect with people in support groups, sober friends, and family. Spend time with those you love and stay away from people and groups you know have the same habits you’re trying to quit.

Develop self-care habits

Your body needs enough sleep, nutrition, exercise, and rest to recover. Self-care includes caring for your mind too. Engage in mindfulness habits like meditation or journaling to keep emotions in check and stay centered.

Mindset is everything

Remaining positive is half the battle won when it comes to addiction recovery. Drown out negative thoughts and keep focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.

Developing Coping Mechanisms:

It would be convenient to rid yourself of all obstacles and triggers during your recovery. That is not, however, a realistic expectation.

It makes more sense to prepare yourself to meet any challenging circumstance or eventuality. Sustainable sobriety requires healthy coping mechanisms that can guide you out of difficult situations.

Here are proven coping mechanisms you can use:

Deep breathing

The next time you’re in a stressful or triggering situation, step back, pause, and take a few deep, slow breaths. Deep breathing helps calm anxiety and agitation and can leave you feeling buoyant in minutes.


Mindfulness is the act of being present in the moment - observing your thoughts and emotions without judging them. It helps you realize you may not be able to escape your thoughts and feelings, but you don’t have to act on them.

Positive self-talk

Be your own cheerleader! Develop a habit of replacing negative thoughts with upbeat, positive affirmations. Positive self-talk can help you stay motivated and always en route to your goals.

Seek Professional Help to Remain Sober

If you’re looking for support and guidance to maintain sobriety and manage your mental health, contact us at Hollywood Hills Recovery.

We understand the challenges individuals face when trying to overcome addiction. That’s why our team of expert professionals provides a comprehensive approach to treatment, addressing both the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of recovery. Our holistic approach to addiction recovery includes sober outings, a personal chef, home entertainment, and a personal gym.

Reach out to us today if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction.

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