Types of Withdrawal Symptoms To Look Out For

When someone uses illicit drugs for a long period of time and develops physiological dependencies on them, they put themselves at a variety of risks.

A person struggling with substance use may not be thinking about what it will feel like to experience withdrawal symptoms, but when the time comes, it can be very difficult.

If you or a loved one are dealing with substance use disorder or addiction, going through the drug withdrawal stage is necessary to recover. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy.

Withdrawal can feel like you are dying, and without proper support or supervision, withdrawal can sometimes lead to fatal consequences.

This doesn’t mean that you should continue to use to subdue the withdrawal symptoms, but rather you should look for professional help to guide you through the process. This will ensure your safety and help you understand what is happening to your body.

Withdrawal can be terrifying, but it’s often the first step towards taking back ownership of your life and decisions. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of withdrawal. Understanding the symptoms may help you ease through the process and come out successful on the other side.

What Is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder (SUD) occurs when someone has recurring use of any type of drug that causes disruption in their everyday life and that they lack control over.

People with substance use disorder rarely have control over their actions and their substance use, making it very difficult for them to get better. Substance use can range from mild to severe, and no two people experience the same journey.

Many factors can lead to substance use disorder and drug addiction, including environmental impacts, societal pressures, and genetics. People who are struggling might have been predisposed to SUD, but without environmental and societal factors, they might not have developed the substance use disorder.

Peer pressure, being exposed to substances at a young age, and mental health all impact your choices with substances.

What Is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal occurs when you stop or limit your substance use. Withdrawal symptoms can vary across the different substances, but the symptoms can be debilitating. Without proper support, you could suffer intensely throughout the withdrawal process.

Withdrawal includes the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that you go through when you stop using a substance. For each individual, the withdrawal process could be unique; with different substances, you have different reactions. The symptoms of withdrawal during alcohol dependence can differ from the symptoms of withdrawal for a person with a different drug dependence.

When you use a substance daily, your body can develop a physical dependence on the drug. That means when you want to stop, your body has to reverie back to its old ways, which isn’t a smooth process, but a necessary one.

Why Does Withdrawal Occur?

Withdrawal occurs when your body goes from using a substance every day to not at all. Your body is not used to living life without the substance, so your body reacts negatively and angrily when you don’t use it. When you are regularly using, your brain and body adjust and over time and accept these feelings as normal.

The symptoms you will experience can vary greatly depending on what substance you used, for how long, and what other factors may be playing a role. If you are using substances frequently and in large quantities, you should expect withdrawal symptoms to occur if you are planning to quit.

What Are Common Symptoms of Withdrawal?

Depending on what substance you were abusing and for how long, your withdrawal symptoms will vary. Everyone experiences drug use differently, and because of this, the way they experience withdrawals is very similar. It can be difficult to know what to expect when it comes to withdrawal, but there are a few common symptoms that might come to light.

Knowing what to look out for can help you manage withdrawal symptoms in the safest way possible. Be sure to look out for some common signs of withdrawal:

  • Changes in mood
  • Changes in appetite and hunger
  • Tremors and shakiness
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Sweating profusely
  • Irritability and fatigue
  • Muscle pains
  • Difficulties with sleep

These symptoms listed above are only general signs to look out for, but each substance has its own symptoms of withdrawal.

Are There Different Types of Withdrawal?

Every substance you put into your body will have a different and varying effect on you.

Therefore you can assume that the withdrawal symptoms for different substances will also be different, like symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal versus opiate withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on your usage and how long you have been dependent on the substance.

Withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and painful, which is why it can be difficult to get through the process — especially in cases of severe withdrawal. Many people will fall back and use the substance to get over the withdrawal symptoms, knowing that it’s just what they need to feel no longer ill. Because of this, getting professional treatment and having solid support systems can ensure that you stay safe and successful during your detox.

The following sections highlight the symptoms of withdrawal from different substances so that you can have a better understanding of what to expect.


Withdrawing from alcohol can have a very serious and severe effect on a person.

Withdrawal symptoms may begin between 6 and 24 hours of heavy and prolonged drinking, and they come on strong. For several days after the start of symptoms, it’s likely these effects will get worse before getting better. It can be extremely painful and uncomfortable to go through detox during this time. Some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are:

  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Nightmares and insomnia
  • Intense sweating and hot flashes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

Long-term effects of excessive alcohol can be very damaging to your body and even fatal. Heart disease, liver disease, depression, and cancer have all been associated with long-term drinking, so intervening as early as possible is essential.


Benzodiazepines are used to depress the central nervous system and are frequently prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders, as well as certain seizure disorders. Mixing these drugs with alcohol or opioids has the potential to lead to fatal overdoses.

The withdrawal effects from Benzodiazepines can appear anywhere from hours to days after stopping the use of short-acting benzodiazepines like Ativan. For long-acting benzodiazepines like Valium, withdrawal effects can appear several days to a week after stopping use.

Symptoms of withdrawal caused by short-acting benzodiazepines usually resolve within four to five days. However, with long-acting ones, the withdrawal symptoms might peak in the second week and resolve in the third or fourth week.

Others experience lingering effects of the withdrawal for up to eight weeks, making it a very difficult drug to quit using.

Symptoms you might experience are:

  • Agitation and irritability
  • Hallucinations and delirium
  • Rapid pulse and sweating
  • Loss of concentration and memory
  • Seizures and tremors
  • Anxiety and insomnia
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells

Though the recovery is long and hard, it’s well worth it when you come out in control of yourself once again.


Regardless of if you use medical marijuana or recreational marijuana, if you stop using after heavy, prolonged usage, you will experience withdrawal symptoms for several weeks. Marijuana is a drug that many people use frequently, so if you quit cold turkey, there will be side effects as your body gets used to sobriety.

Symptoms that you might experience are:

  • Nervousness and restlessness
  • Anger and irritability
  • Loss of appetite and abdominal pain
  • Nightmares and insomnia
  • Tremors and overall shakiness
  • Nausea and headaches
  • Depression and anxiety

People going through marijuana withdrawal will also experience intense cravings for marijuana, making it very difficult to stay sober.


Opioid withdrawal symptoms can be very difficult to go through, and though not always life-threatening, being assisted through them can make it easier to cope. Opioids include illicit drugs like heroin and prescription opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin.

Symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal are:

  • Dysphoria
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Fever and sweating

Because you can be prescribed a certain kind of opioid, it makes it easier to misuse them. If you are having a hard time dealing with substance use, you can talk with your doctor about alternatives to opioid prescriptions for pain.


Stimulants are “upper” drugs that affect the central nervous system and can be prescribed to people with certain conditiions. Adderall and Ritalin are two examples of stimulants that are prescribed to those with conditions like ADHD, but these medications are still susceptible to misuse. Illicit stimulants like cocaine and crystal methamphetamine are also highly addictive when used.

Symptoms of stimulant withdrawal are:

  • Depression and dysphoria
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Increased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Aching muscles

People who are experiencing stimulant withdrawal are likely to feel intense cravings after stopping heavy usage pretty soon after. They might also experience suicidal thoughts and intense depressive states, so monitoring someone in this state is helpful to keep a close eye on their behaviors.

What Are Treatment Options for Withdrawal?

If you are looking to get yourself or a loved one into treatment for their substance use, you or your loved one will, unfortunately, need to go through the withdrawal process.

When you are going through a detoxification program, you are monitored throughout your detox so that you can be as comfortable as possible. The professionals a part of these programs are focused on keeping you safe and helping you get better.

During a detoxification process, you are equipped with both psychiatric and medical support to get you through the withdrawal. If you are eligible, you will be treated through a medically assisted treatment (MAT) program, during which doctors can administer Methadone or Buprenex to you. With a monitored detoxification process, you have access to medical professionals who can assist you when you need it.

What Are Tips To Cope With Withdrawal?

If you are experiencing withdrawal, being in a facility is your best option, but there are ways to help cope with the symptoms of withdrawal. Of course, asking for help can be difficult but it’s necessary. Other ways to cope with withdrawal include:

  • Drinking plenty of water. Many symptoms of withdrawal can lead to dehydration. It’s important that you are drinking water throughout the withdrawal period to try to reduce some of the symptoms like headaches and fatigue.
  • Eat nutritious meals. It might be difficult, but focusing on what you are eating can help to improve your mood. You might be irritable and tired, so eating fatty and sugary foods will only bring you down. Instead eat plenty of vegetables and fruits to keep your energy and water-take up.
  • Try to get out and exercise. Depending on how bad your symptoms are, you can try to get up and exercise a bit. Even if you are just stretching and doing some yoga, your body will thank you. If you can go out and walk around, that might be even better.
  • Don’t fight your sleep. You will likely be experiencing fatigue, so catching up on sleep can only help. Don’t feel bad about lounging around and just getting through it.
  • Spend time with people who care. Let people who love you watch over you. If you aren’t in a treatment facility, you can look for help from your friends. Asking for some accountability to be made can be difficult but well worth it.

Working on managing your stress and cravings is not an easy task. You can try different self-care acts like meditation, journaling, art, or reading to take your mind off of the withdrawal symptoms as well. Anything to get you focused on improving your life and avoiding substances!

Getting Help With Soba

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder and are seeking help, reach out to a representative at Soba Recovery Centers.

With two locations, one in Mesa, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas, you can receive professional treatment whenever you need it. Having 24-hour professional monitoring can ensure that you recover as easily as possible.

Going through the withdrawal process on your own can be dangerous and very difficult. When you receive treatment at Soba, you don’t have to worry about going through withdrawal alone. Our detoxification process is fully monitored so that you can access assistance at any point. We understand the difficulties that surround withdrawal and don’t believe that you should be alone through the process.

Get help today and access a better future for yourself tomorrow.


Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders | SAMHSA

Drug & Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms & Treatment | DrugAbuse.com

Drinking Too Much Alcohol Can Harm Your Health. Learn The Facts | CDC

How Does an AA Meeting Online Compare to an In-Person AA Meeting?

Things have not been easy over this last year (and then some). With people being laid off, people getting sick, housing prices rocketing, and the state of the future of our world still somewhat unknown, taking care of yourself might have gotten placed on the back burner. 

You may have fallen off and found that the stress of the last several months has caused you to seek alternate ways to fill your time and supply yourself with happiness.

Maybe you were attending meetings before the start of COVID and had a really great time being around like-minded individuals with whom you were able to share your experience, but then they all got put on pause due to the pandemic. If this disrupted your ability to attend AA meetings, you are not alone. 

While discussion meetings in person can create a sense of fellowship where everyone shares a common problem, a hybrid or virtual meeting can serve the same purpose. The only requirement is to seek sobriety, while the group’s primary purpose is to stay sober in the process.

Luckily, like with many businesses and groups, the internet made it easier for people to connect and find time to meet again with their support groups. If you are lucky enough to have access to a smartphone or laptop device that can connect to the internet, the option of AA is still there for you. 

Regardless of whether you have a drug addiction or substance abuse disorder, one type of meeting may be helpful over the other. Both in-person and online aa meetings offer self-supporting capabilities and the fellowship of people.

As more and more people become vaccinated, the ability to return to in-person AA meetings is more likely to happen. Still, not all people are going to be comfortable or ready to do so, and that’s OK! Masks are always an option if you choose to attend an in-person meeting. 

If you want to learn more about how online AA meetings and in-person AA meetings compare, keep reading.

How Does Online AA Work?

Online AA was first started back in the 1990s with individuals who hosted their AA meetings via email. Online AA is overseen by the Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous (OIAA), a group of individuals who participate in AA meetings, just simply online. 

The OIAA helps to regulate each online AA meeting, but the meetings are run by individuals within communities and groups so that you can find groups you fit into and can truly benefit from. 

Online AA doesn’t just provide AA meetings; it also provides resources to members, general guidance and philosophies, and volunteers who are available 24/7 over email for assistance. You can typically access resources at any point in the day, which can be helpful for those with odd schedules or who need separate accommodations. Some meetings take place at a set time, so you have to be available, but you can be flexible with which meetings you attend.

Types of Online AA meetings

An online AA meeting is likely taking place at any given moment. This means that you often will find access to meetings and resources whenever you need them, no matter what time at night! The main kinds of online AA meetings that you will come across are:

  • Smartphone conferences
  • Video meetings (Zoom meeting with a meeting ID and meeting password)
  • Email
  • Message boards

You are allowed to talk about anything in these meetings that pertains to your recovery journey and your struggles with addiction. These communications are usually monitored and don’t accept negligent behavior, so even though it’s online, you should take it just as seriously as an in-person meeting!

You can choose to participate in a few kinds of online AA. Closed AA meetings are for AA members only and might feel more secure and private, especially if you are looking for a specific kind of community. There is the option to participate in Open AA meetings, which is where members outside of the AA community can sit in. This might include family and friends of people in AA or those who haven’t yet joined but are thinking about it and wanted to test it out. 

Having so many options to choose from can make it really easy to try some out. You might not find that every meeting you attend is a good fit, but that’s what’s so great about online AA! There are plenty of meetings you can attend until you find the perfect fit.

Online AA vs. In-Person AA

The most obvious difference between online AA and in-person AA is that one happens strictly on the internet when it comes down to it. Online AA requires access to a device with the internet, while in-person AA expects that you can travel to and from your meetings. Each kind of AA has its pros and cons, and weighing them out could help you decide which is right for you. 

Depending on what type of aa meeting you join, there may be an aa membership or dues to pay before you join.

If you are immunocompromised and cannot attend in-person meetings right now, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons to ensure you are getting the treatment you need.


You should consider the pros of online and in-person AA before ruling one or the other out. If you are worried that you won’t feel the same sense of community or pay attention to the meeting, let us put your mind at ease. It might take a little more effort to focus, but that can be worked on! If you are committed to recovery, anything is possible. 

Pros of Online AA

  • If you are immunocompromised, you still have access to AA without having to risk your health by attending in-person meetings.
  • It is more accessible for people with certain disabilities, so you can attend without worrying about barriers.
  • If you work “off hours”, you can still find time in your downtime to attend a meeting or speak with supportive peers.
  • Have access to a community of people from all over the world. This could help you later on in life if you ever need assistance outside of your own community.
  • More convenient, so no matter where you are, you will have access as long as you can connect to the internet.
  • There is more anonymity online, especially if you are taking place in meetings that the people in your group aren’t local to.
  • If you are worried about getting sick, social distancing in the comfort of your own home can be a big pro.

Pros of In-Person AA

  • You can develop relationships with peers from your local community easier.
  • It’s easier to stay focused and engage in a conversation when you are physically in front of others.
  • Easier to be held accountable when you are facing people in person.
  • It can help you to find sponsors easily.
  • It helps you build a routine that you can maintain and focus on.


Just as there are pros, there are cons to both online AA and in-person AA, though they never are a bad idea. The cons are more focused on your accessibility and own comfort levels. It also depends on what you want to get out of the experience and your needs. Some people will do better in person than online, but understanding your options can help you make the most informed decisions!

Cons of Online AA

  • You might not be close to where anyone you meet online lives, meaning your sense of community might not be felt on a physical level.
  • You need to have access to email, a laptop, or a smartphone to best access online meetings. Without internet access, you won’t be able to attend online AA.
  • Easier to be distracted when you are doing AA online at your own home.

Cons of In-Person AA

  • Specifically, in these times, in-person AA could be risky if you are immunocompromised or closely associated with someone who is. 
  • You need access to transportation to get to and from the meetings.
  • There might be set times for meetings in your area that you are unable to get to, due to work schedules or because of transportation.

Signing Up for AA Online

If you want to sign up for AA online, you are going to want to browse OIAA’s website and find out what meetings you might be interested in attending. You can easily find something that might fit with you because you can search by language, meeting time, and meeting type on their site. You will be asked to register for the meeting, and then when the time comes, you can log on with a link that the OIAA will send you. 

It’s just as easy as that. If you want to start, and don’t think that in-person AA meetings are right for you at this moment, this is the best place to start. You can get started on your path to recovery as soon as right now!

Come To Soba When You Are Ready

Once you are at a point where you are comfortable meeting in-person, whether it be because of your nerves or COVID, Soba Recovery Centers will be waiting for you. 

Once you have come to the point where you recognize your need for assistance, you can upgrade your AA meetings to inpatient services or intensive outpatient. Whatever it is that you need, Soba is here to help.

You might not be ready right now, and that’s why starting with online AA meetings is really great. See how they make you feel, and consider whether or not you might benefit from a more personalized approach to recovery. We will be here rooting you on!



Online Recovery Support Meetings Can Help Mitigate The Public Health Consequences Of Covid-19 For Individuals With Substance Use Disorder | NCBI

Social Network Variables In Alcoholics Anonymous: A Literature Review | NCBI 

Browse the Directory of Online Meetings | OIAA

10 Tips for Enjoying a Sober Christmas

It’s the time of year where everyone is stocking up on their best wine for Christmas dinner and making warm spiked eggnog for the adults while the children open their presents. For many, it’s joyous and a time for celebration, but for others, it can be overwhelming and overstimulating for those who struggle with addiction

Maybe you’ve done this before, or maybe this is your first Christmas sober. Congratulations on making it to this holiday sober, and we applaud you for staying strong. 

It can be difficult to stay sober with all of the stress of family gathering, spending money on gifts, carving out time for work to travel, and being present while you deal with your own personal things. Christmas is not always a stress-free and enjoyable time, so getting through it sober is something to be proud of! 

We know it’s not easy, but if you follow these ten tips, it’s bound to be a little bit more manageable.  

1. Plan for Stress

Christmas is not necessarily known as the most stress-free holiday. It can be overwhelming to spend money on gifts for several people, make plans with those you care about and endure the inevitable drinks that get passed around all night long. 

By preparing and planning out your holidays this year, you can hopefully eliminate some of the stress while also setting boundaries for yourself so that you don’t put yourself in a situation where you are tempted to use substances. 

Some ways that you can plan out your trip are by:

  • Figuring out who it is you need to see and setting dates and times with them well in advance
  • Setting a budget for yourself on travel, food, gifts, etc. 
  • Creating a relapse plan, so that you have a way out of a situation and have someone who you can call who understands your situation and can help
  • Staying in touch with your sponsor and planning out phone calls
  • Look for a 12-step meeting that you could attend if you need to

2. Volunteer

If you are looking for activities that make you feel good and don’t include alcohol or substances, you should consider spending your holiday season doing volunteer work. 

There are always gift drives, soup kitchens, and food pantries that are in need. Helping others is a great way to focus on the purpose of the holiday season and stay clear of substances.

People who struggle with their sobriety can understand just how important community is for recovery. There are plenty of people in your own community that need support like you, and deciding to volunteer is one way for you to give back to your community. 

3. Avoid Risky Situations

There will be many parties that you get invited to, and some will be more heavily influenced by alcohol than others. There might be times where there are multiple invitations on the table for you to choose from. 

Opening gifts with your nieces and nephews might be considered a low-risk situation, especially if your family is understanding of your struggles and can hold alcohol-free events. Getting invited to a bar crawl through the downtown with a bunch of your old high school friends might be considered higher-risk for using, meaning that it’s okay to back out and choose the other option.

You are in charge of your choices, which means you can pick where you go and who you interact with. Not everyone is going to be understanding of your needs, so it’s important that you put yourself first and make decisions for yourself without the influence of others. 

Christmas is a time when you are meant to celebrate those you care about, so make sure you choose people who care about you. 

4. Bring a Sober Friend to Parties

If you end up going out and meeting up with friends for holiday parties, inviting someone who is sober to come with you can make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful. Being sober can feel isolating at times, but having someone who understands and is also sober can make saying “No” a lot easier. 

People are less likely to question you if you are not the only one who is not drinking. You can feel some sort of solidarity with you being sober friends with you to places where alcohol is prevalent because you can have each other’s backs. 

5. Say “No”

It might seem too simple, but saying “No” is something you should learn how to do without feeling guilty. You are allowed to say no to people and to decline their offers and invitations. 

You don’t have to feel bad about turning something away that will do more harm than good, and others should learn to respect your personal boundaries. By saying “No,” you often set a boundary that many don’t know how to do themselves. 

6. Join Meetings In Your Area

If you are traveling back home for the holiday and are worried about relapsing or coming in contact with substances, make sure that you know of different meetings you could attend to maintain your sobriety. There are usually plenty of resources around, but you just have to do a little bit of research to find them. 

If you are local to Mesa, Arizona, or San Antonio, Texas, consider joining a meeting or working with the professionals at Soba Recovery Centers. Through one-on-one meetings or group therapy, you can talk with others about your issues and fears going into the holiday season. You aren’t alone; many people share the same fears!  


If you are attending an event where you know there will be alcohol, BYOD (bring your own drink)! Make your own delicious mocktail to bring, or enjoy your favorite soda throughout the night so that you can avoid having to even talk about or turn down any alcohol. 

This might also signal to others that you are trying to remain sober and avoid them asking you any personal questions that you don’t want to answer! This is one of the most foolproof ways to enjoy being sober throughout Christmas because you eliminate one of the hardest parts of sobriety, which is turning away a drink.

8. Prepare a Backup Plan

You are not going to be fully successful in all situations. While you might remain sober, you could end up feeling anxious or overwhelmed by being around so many substances. 

Because you can never truly know what will happen, preparing a backup plan where you can take yourself away from the situation and put yourself in a safe environment is essential. No one has to know why you are leaving because you can continue to enjoy the season as long as you are comfortable.

A backup plan could look like having a friend call to come pick you up and take you home. Or you could prepare a breathing exercise if you begin to feel anxious or overwhelmed. You owe no one an explanation for your needs, but you can always tell the host in advance that you may have to step out earlier than anticipated to avoid any feelings of guilt.

9. Make a List of Safe People to Contact

Depending on if you’ve traveled or not, you might not have the same support system around you for the holidays. You should have a list of people you could contact in case of an emergency. This is also helpful if others need to step in to help you. You can more easily point them in the direction of who to call when you’ve planned it out in advance! 

10. Understand Your Triggers

It’s important that before you put yourself into any situation, you consider all the triggers that could happen to you. This way, you can be more prepared if they do come about, but also, you can learn to avoid them completely. 

You might be able to sense when a trigger is going to happen, and you can take yourself out of that situation, or you can catch it early on and find a way to cope so that it doesn’t actually influence you. 

Seeing certain family members, discussing certain events, or being spoken to in a specific way could all be triggers that cause you to crave substances. This isn’t the answer! Find ways to prepare healthy coping mechanisms so that you can truly enjoy the holiday without having to worry about your sobriety. 


Christmas is meant to be about spending time with family and enjoying each other’s presence, so make sure you make the most out of it and catch up on the time that substance use took from you!



What Is Addiction? | American Psychiatry Association

Focus: Addiction: Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery | NCBI 

Identifying Triggers of Alcohol Craving to Develop Effective Virtual Environments for Cue Exposure Therapy | NCBI

The Dos and Don’ts on Congratulating Individuals on Their Sobriety

Large golden balloon letters spelling out the word congrats

When someone you love has been focusing on becoming and staying sober, you might not know exactly what to say and what not to say when discussing their recovery. Acknowledging their strength in choosing to be sober is extremely important to your loved one. 

Your support means everything to them, and it makes it easier to continue on in their journey knowing they have people backing them. There are ways to approach congratulating your loved ones on their sobriety without feeling uncomfortable about it, and we are here to tell you how!

The Dos

There are things that you should think about when congratulating someone on their sobriety. No matter if it’s been one year, two weeks, or five months, being sober for any amount of time is something worth celebrating. It’s important that you know the right things to say to someone in order to prove that you are aware of their circumstances and fully support them. 

Learn Affirmations

What you say to someone who is in recovery and trying to stay sober can really impact them. You want to make sure that they know that they are supported by you and can feel comfortable in your presence. Often, people in recovery feel shameful of their past actions and their situation, and by showing them that you back them, you can help to alleviate that stress

Affirmations are sentences that express healthy support to someone who is in recovery. Some examples of affirmations are as follows:

  • I’m so proud of you: Letting them know you recognize their strength and praising them for it can be extremely helpful to hear. Knowing that someone is proud of you can be motivation to keep on fighting.
  • You deserve to be happy and healthy: A lot of times, people struggling with addiction and sobriety don’t believe that they deserve a life where they are not suffering. Telling someone that they do deserve to live a happy life can be uplifting and eye-opening. 
  • Keep up the amazing work: Recognizing the hard work that they have been putting in to stay sober is important. When people show up for their loved ones with this kind of support, it’s inspirational to continue to work towards staying sober.
  • Let me know if I can do anything to help you: Offering your physical, mental, and emotional support to someone who is working towards sobriety lets the person know that they are not alone in fighting for their life. Other people care about them, they just need to be able to see that.

Show Your Support With Action

While words can compel a person to work harder and push themselves to maintain sobriety, sometimes a physical push is what they need. There are ways to show up for your loved ones that aren’t just about motivational speaking:

  • Attend meetings with them: Sometimes it can be hard to get up and go to a meeting alone, so offering to attend meetings with your loved one can be helpful in pushing them to go. Even just offering rides to and from can eliminate a potential barrier for your loved ones. Making it as easy as possible for them to access the resources that they need can be helpful during recovery.
  • Refrain from using or discussing substances around them: Without knowing, you could trigger your loved one by discussing or using substances around them. To avoid any urge of relapse, it’s best to avoid the discussion or action completely. Instead, focus on other activities or topics that help to get their mind off of it. 
  • Answer their phone calls and text: It may seem small, but letting your loved one communicate with you through the tough times can be critical during recovery. Sometimes, people dealing with addiction who are trying to be sober feel like they are alone in the journey. Having someone they can rely on talking to them helps to show that you are serious about their recovery just as they are. 

The Don’ts

On the contrary, there are things you should not do when trying to congratulate your loved one on their sobriety. There are questions and language that should be avoided as it can turn your loved one off from trusting you completely, and even might trigger them into relapsing. 

Avoid Invasive Questions

There are many things that you should not ask someone who is recovering from substance use disorder. Some questions that might seem harmless actually carry a lot of weight. You want your loved one to trust you, so here are some things to avoid saying to them:

  • How long have you been sober?: For many people in recovery, this can be a tricky question. It’s not an easy path to sobriety and slip-ups do happen. What’s important to instead focus on is the progress they’ve made and the fact that they made the decision to better their life. 
  • Can’t you just stop using?: Some people don’t understand that addiction is not something that you can control. Assuming that someone is able to “just stop” is neglecting that addiction is a disease that needs to be treated. If people with substance use disorder could stop, they absolutely would. There’s a lot of work that goes into becoming sober. 
  • So, we can never share a drink/high together again?: Don’t center the subject around yourself. The decision that they are making to become sober is one that is very hard and probably took them a long time to come to. Instead, consider all of the things you’ll be able to do in the future with your loved one now that they have decided they want to be happy and healthy.
  • What would you consider your lowest point?: For some people, sharing their trauma can feel healing and help in their recovery, but you should never ask someone. Being put on the spot to recall a time that they most likely feel very poorly about can be triggering and upsetting. Instead of discussing the time that they weren’t sober, maybe focus on how they are feeling now that they are taking back their life.

Avoid Stigmatized Language

You might not realize it, but the language that you use when talking to your loved one about their sobriety can be problematic. There are certain words that you should avoid saying when trying to congratulate your friend on their sobriety:

  • “Addict” or “Junkie”: You want to focus on person-first language to show that a person is not their problem. These terms are outdated and bring along a negative connotation, so it’s better to use language such as, “a person in recovery”.
  • Using “Abuse” rather than “Use”: Similar to above, the word “abuse” has extremely negative connotations, and society views “abusers” as bad people. People who use substances are not bad people. Using language such as this can discourage your loved one from talking to you about their recovery process.
  • Referring to someone as “Clean” or “Dirty”: When discussing whether someone is currently using or not, you want to use accurate language to portray the status of their medical condition. Words that have negative associations tied to them alienate your loved one and show that you might not be able to be trusted when discussing confidential and taboo topics. 

In Summary

When it comes down to it, the language that you use when congratulating someone’s sobriety should always be considered so as not to make that person feel like you are judging them. 

Stigmatizing language can turn your loved one away from trusting you, so be mindful to positively affirm their success, show up for them when they need it, and use language that focuses on them as a person in recovery. 



Words Matter – Terms to Use and Avoid When Talking About Addiction | NIDA 

People First Language | ODR

Recovery and Recovery Support | SAMHSA   

5 Great Sober Activities for Couples

Man and Woman Sitting on Bench Viewing a Mountain Range

When you or a loved one is in recovery from substance use disorder, finding things to do that don’t require going out to a bar and drinking with friends seem to be a lot harder to come up with. If that’s the life that you were once used to, it might be hard to find new things to share participating in with your partner. 

Luckily, we here at Soba Recovery have thought of this so you don’t have to. Read on to learn about five great sober activities that you can do with your partner.

Visit a Museum or Art Exhibit

There are so many different kinds of museums and exhibits that you can visit with your partner. Find something that you both find interesting, like history or contemporary art, and search where you can spend a day perusing around a collection dedicated to that thing! 

Visiting an art exhibit is a great sober activity to do with your partner because there is so much to look at and talk about. Art is meant to be expressive and sometimes surrounding yourself with art can lead to an exploration of your own creativity. 

Sometimes, exhibits and museums have gift shops attached to them that you can get lost in for a while. This can be an additional fun activity to do with your spouse—challenge them to find the oddest item in the gift shop and make a game of it! 

Enjoy the Outdoors

There are so many different activities that you can do with your partner outdoors. There is nothing better or more healing than fresh air, sun on your face, and nature. Depending on your level of comfortability with the natural elements, you can choose from a range of fun activities that involve getting outside. 

Take a Hike!

If you want to see trees and hear little critters scurrying around in the brush, taking some time out of your day to go for a hike is a perfect date idea. Being encompassed by nature is peaceful and healing, and allows for reflection and good conversation. If you’d like to spend time outside but at a more leisurely pace, there are often walking trails that avoid rough terrain so that people of all skill levels can enjoy the outdoors.  

Go for a Peaceful Bike Ride

If you are a couple that likes something a little more fast-paced, taking your bikes out for a spin can be relaxing and romantic. Plan out a destination and bring along some food, water, and sparkling juice to have yourselves a lovely picnic! 

Biking is a great sober activity because it’s good for your health! Your body can avoid cravings as it focuses your attention to your body and it’s movement, and away from thinking about using substances. 

Plan a Camping Trip

If you’re a couple that really enjoys the outdoors, it’s probably time for you to plan a camping trip. Camping is often cheaper than planning a full vacation, and you get to immerse yourself into nature. Having a nice getaway weekend up to your favorite campsite can help you to spend more one-on-one time with your partner without any distractions. 

Not only is the act of camping fun, but the planning of the trip can be fun too! Spend time with your partner planning out hiking trails to try out and secret swimming holes the two of you can venture off to. 

Plan a Vacation

If you’re a couple that would rather enjoy electricity and your own toilet, planning out a vacation may be more up your alley. There are tons of great destinations you can visit where you don’t have to stress about finding sober activities that you can participate in. 

There are a ton of steps that go into planning a vacation, so looking up nearby attractions you want to visit and find great food spots that you want to try out. Make this trip a really great memory that the two of you can share.

Spending time together on vacation means that you are creating new memories with your partner that you can positively reflect back on. It’s important to build new memories, and exploring new places is one of the best ways to do that. There are so many things you can do while on a vacation. Go relax by the pool, treat yourself with a trip to the spa, or be a tourist for the day! 

Make Each Other’s Favorite Meal

You don’t have to go out to have fun together. There is one thing that often people can come together for—and that’s food. Everyone has a favorite meal. Whether it be breakfast for dinner or their mother’s homemade spaghetti, most people are always down to enjoy their favorite dish with the person they love! Instead of going out to spaces where there will be substances, you can find comfort in spending time away from everyone, focused on your partner. 

Cooking with your partner is a great way to learn more about them. Certain foods hold sentimental values, and it’s easier to bond when sharing memories, while creating new ones. Once you’ve cooked all of your favorites, don’t be afraid to start branching out to try new recipes!

Learn a New Skill Together

Is there something that you and your partner have been thinking about trying out together? Now is the time to try it out! If you want to try to be more artistic with your partner, go out, pick up some paint and brushes from your local craft store and spend an evening indoors creating! Sometimes, even just setting aside some time together where you work on separate crafts can be really rewarding and fun to do. 

Maybe you aren’t a chef, but you want to learn. Learning how to cook or bake, using unique ingredients, and challenging your abilities can be great for bonding, and is overall really fun. You can keep track of the new dishes that you’ve made together, rating them based on how easy it was to prepare, how good it looked before eating, and how it tasted! 

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to go out and drink to have fun. You don’t need to be under the influence to enjoy the time you spend with your partner. There are plenty of activities to do that are fun, healing, and personalized. There is also something for everyone. 

If you enjoy the outdoors and outdoor activities, spend more time finding the perfect fit for you and your partner. If you like staying in, there are plenty of recipes to try and art to make. Find what makes you happiest and what helps you to focus on your sobriety. 

Sobering Up at Soba Recovery

If you’ve decided that it’s time to go sober, we can help at Soba Recovery. We offer drug and alcohol addiction recovery treatment in both Mesa, AZ, and San Antonio, TX. Visit our website for more information or give us a call to learn more about our addiction treatment programs!



Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders | SAMHSA 

Best trails in United States of America | All Trails 

10 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors Without Going Far | Outward Bound