I mention all the time on this blog that I believe our facility in Panama City, Florida is the best inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol rehab in the country. Some of our patients complete a detox, a 30-day inpatient program, and possibly some outpatient telehealth therapy or aftercare as well. Each patient’s program can be unique and differ slightly. For many alcoholics who successfully complete those programs, it is important to think about the next steps. Some people go to AA meetings to help maintain long term sobriety, some people go to NA, some people see a therapist or rely on family and friends to support them, and some people do a mix of these things. People have been successful in many ways, but today I wanted readers of this blog to hear from an Alcoholic who has written about sobriety and alcoholism. Adam Fout, who can be reached for more information at AdamFout.com or AWFout@gmail.com, reached out to me recently after seeing one of our blogs on the topic of getting sober and staying sober from drugs and alcohol. Adam participates in Alcoholics Anonymous, and many of his tips for success and sobriety mirror the things I have heard from others in that program. Let’s go through some of his tips, which he originally shared in an article called “11 Powerful Actions I Take Every Week to Stay Sober.”
Keys for Sobriety from Adam
Tips number 1 is “Carry the message to a rehab”. I believe it is safe to assume that the message Adam is referring to in his first tip is the message that Alcoholics Anonymous has a 12-step program that can help people who suffer from substance use disorder and alcoholism. One important thing to understand is that many people in AA refer to a process of “Giving it to others, in order to keep it”, and that refers to sobriety itself. Many AA members believe that sharing their own experiences with alcoholism and sobriety with others is necessary for them to keep that sobriety going themselves. Adam appears to be starting off with some advice for a way to do just that, while also possibly helping others, which is in line with AA’s core principles. Adam suggests physically going to a rehab and sharing the message of AA. It is common for rehabilitation facilities to invite speakers from the AA program who have 1-2 years or more of active sobriety. The speakers often share their own story, struggles, and journey in the AA program. An important way of thinking about this activity from the AA perspective is that the speaker is helping others by sharing his or her story, but they also help themselves stay sober through active participation and sharing.
Tip number 2 from Adam is “Take your mental health medication every day”, which is particularly interesting for me, as a person who writes about substance use disorder and the many comorbidities that we see in the area of addiction. Many people that have alcoholism or alcohol use disorder also struggle with a co-occurring mental health disorder. This can be depression, anxiety disorders, or anything else that a person has been diagnosed with.
Adam shares the following, “Between year 1 and year 8 of my sobriety, I refused to take any medication for my mental health issues. I suffered. My workplace suffered. My wife suffered. My family suffered. That’s what happens when I don’t take my medication the way I’m supposed to.”
It is fair to say that every individual’s experience will be different when it comes to living with a mental health disorder while maintaining hard won sobriety. At Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center in Panama City, we have experts who specialize in co-occurring disorders. I am not an expert myself, but it makes perfect sense to me that Adam would recommend continuing medications as prescribed by specialists when in sobriety.
Tips 9 through 11 are exercise, socialize, and relax. I know that this has been harder for people over the course of the last year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Normal exercise has been restricted in certain ways, socializing has been almost non-existent for many people, and it is harder to relax when many people are hurting and there is so much to worry about. Hopefully, things will be getting back to normal soon. I know that many AA meetings have moved online and continued during the pandemic, and sometimes it is necessary to be more creative in finding ways to see friends right now. Relaxation and spending time alone are both on Adam’s list of tips, and spending time alone may be easier than ever right now, but relaxation seems to be a key point that must be included. We know that 2020 was a record year for suicides and overdoses on drugs and alcohol. I have written about the reasons for these terrible statistics over the last year, but more than ever; exercising and socializing can be helpful when trying to fend off depression for many people. Adam mentions in his article that people in the AA program have become like family to him, and I know many AA members who would say the same. These close bonds with people from AA could be helpful in this difficult time, and AA might be attractive to some people who have never thought of trying that program before now. People should check out Adam’s article by going to his website Adamfout.com, as his article goes into much greater detail on his 11 tips then I am able to here.
As always, if you or a loved one reads this and needs help with drug addiction or alcoholism, please visit our programs tab or call the number at the top of the page. The best drug and alcohol rehab in Florida is Florida Springs in Panama City, and our team is available to discuss your fight for sobriety from drugs and alcohol. I want to thank Adam for making his list of tips for staying sober, and I may revisit some of the tips we did not cover today in a future article.
By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)