Community Leadership Spotlight: Nicole Tomlinson

Nicole Tomlinson is a blogger and massage therapist who believes recovering from addiction is an endless journey. Through friends, family and professional help, she has turned her life around and was granted an opportunity to help recovering addicts through pathfindersaz.com She is committed to helping others find peace with their sobriety, as she continues to fight for her own.

Below are some of Nicole’s Tips for staying sober based on her personal experience:

1) Find a Sober Network

What I lacked prior to getting the help that I needed was a sober network of friends that I could lean on for support. The majority of alcoholics and drug addicts tend to involve themselves with other addicts who have similar lifestyles. Being surrounded by the idea that substance abuse is normal establishes the idea that your own drug abuse is okay.

After I completed my rehab program, I transitioned into a sober living home to help ease my way back into the real world. That’s where I first learned about the importance of a sober network, as I quickly found that it was much easier to feel normal and stable when surrounded by a group of people who had gone through a similar struggle and were looking for the same outcome. Find a group of people who you trust have your best interest in mind. Get out and experience new things with people who share a common interest and don’t need a drink to let loose and have fun!

2) Avoid Trigger Situations

What triggers the desire for addicts to use is different for everyone. Trigger situations are scenarios where an addict feels the need to drink or use their drug of choice, most of which can be avoided when sober. For me, I have a hard time going to the bars late at night. Even though most people can go out and have a good time with a few drinks, it isn’t easy for me to say no in these situations. I have come to terms with the fact that I will probably never get to go to a bar or club with my friends and have found other ways to spend my time that I have grown to love. Find something to replace your trigger situations and don’t look back.

3) Don’t Live in Fear of Relapse

It is easy to get caught up with the idea that every addict goes through relapse and that it is part of the process. The days, months and even years after I left my treatment program, I felt like I was living in fear of the inevitable relapse. The truth is that not every addict relapses and letting go of this idea can be freeing. Live your best life by incorporating the skills that you are taught during treatment and therapy. You have the power to stay sober, so remind yourself of this daily!