Sobriety in the New Year
If you’ve spent any time in Savannah, you know that alcohol is no stranger in this city. For those who live here, you know that you can trip and fall and land in some drinking establishment. Not to mention that in downtown Savannah you don’t need a bar or restaurant since you can have an open container in public. All this is great for tourism and events like St. Patrick’s Day, but it can make staying sober and in recovery quite difficult for those who struggle with alcohol abuse. So how does one stay sober in Savannah, you ask? We’ve included some resources along with tips to use to help you maintain your program of recovery in the Hostess City of the South.
How Does One Stay Sober in Savannah, GA?
One piece of advice for those who are attempting to get sober or maintain their sobriety is to diversify their recovery assets. While self-help groups like AA and NA are invaluable, lessons from COVID-19 have emphasized the need for diverse support. Consider options like Celebrate Recovery (a Christian-based 12-step group), spiritual services like church, outpatient counseling, intensive outpatient counseling (IOP), and last but not least your version of self-care.
AA Meetings in Savannah, GA
Fortunately, here in Savannah, you can stumble into an AA meeting almost as easily as you can find a drinking establishment. Meetings take place several times a day throughout the week in Savannah and Chatham County. The Twenty-Four Hour Club off of Eisenhower Drive is a dedicated venue for AA meetings held every day of the week. If you want to check out all the meetings in the area, you can click here to see the entire list. For those who would prefer to attend Narcotics Anonymous, there are NA meetings here in Savannah every day of the week as well. Those can be found at here.
I would recommend for anyone entering into recovery from drugs or alcohol to try self-help meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. It is also wise to “shop around” with these meetings as they all have their own personalities and groups you may or may not be able to relate to. They all operate independently, so the structure of the groups will be consistent, but the tone and content of the groups can often vary.
Alternatives to AA
If you have tried some of these groups but feel that they aren’t for you, don’t panic. That doesn’t mean that recovery isn’t for you. Many people may not enjoy some of these meetings because they would prefer a more specific spiritual approach, and the above-mentioned meetings have a very open-ended take on spirituality. For people who want a Christian perspective but would also benefit from a 12-step approach, Celebrate Recovery is the meeting for you.
Celebrate Recovery is going to look a bit different from some other meetings, and they are longer meetings. The meeting will typically begin with a lesson or someone’s testimony before everyone breaks off into smaller groups to talk and process whatever they need to discuss that day. A plus side of Celebrate Recovery is that there is usually food involved. These meetings will be held at churches and are less prevalent than the others, but there is one here in Savannah. Celebrate Recovery of the Islands takes place every Thursday at 7 PM at Wilmington Island United Methodist Church.
The Power of Community
If you practice spirituality, attending spiritual or religious services can be a great way to enhance your recovery for several reasons. Attending these services allows us to engage in social interaction and be part of a community which is a valuable asset considering that addiction feeds off of isolation. Attending these services can also help establish hope, confidence, and self-efficacy as well.
Staying Sober with Professional Help
In addition to meetings and spiritual services, getting the help of a trained counselor who is knowledgeable in working with substance abuse can be a valuable piece of the puzzle that makes up your program of recovery. Getting the help of a trained counselor will place someone into your life who will help hold you accountable, and it will also provide you with a resource to use whenever you need to process difficult situations or negative feelings such as anxiety or depression.
Working with a licensed counselor who works with substance abuse is also valuable as it provides an outlet for people who have past trauma that perhaps ignited the flame that became their addiction. If a therapist believes it necessary to have a higher level of care for some time, there are several intensive outpatient programs here in Savannah that people can attend while still living at home and working at their jobs.
Filling the Void with Self-Care
All the above-mentioned recovery assets are important, but what is equally as important is what you do for yourself daily – self-care. We must make sure that we are enjoying ourselves and having fun in recovery or else we aren’t going to want to stay sober. When someone stops drinking or using drugs, they remove a piece of themselves. Removing that piece creates a void, and strangely enough that can almost feel like a breakup as people who struggle with substance abuse have a relationship with that alcohol or drug.
A grieving process may occur, but we must make sure that we fill that void with engaging and fulfilling activities to replace the addiction. If we don’t, we will be walking around empty. When we do that, we are anxious, depressed, and irritable. If the void is left unfilled long enough, that drug or alcohol is going to creep back in and occupy its old territory.
Finding Fun Stuff in Savannah, GA
Therefore, I am mandating that you find fun stuff to do. This can be a great opportunity to discover new interests and hobbies or get back into old ones that fell away because of substance abuse. Engaging in these hobbies and finding new communities will help you accumulate more things in life that you value over drinking or using drugs. The great thing about Savannah is that there is no shortage of things to do that don’t involve using substances.
You can check out any one of the parks in the area to do some hiking or camping. There are several gyms here in the city, and exercise can be a great tool in your recovery toolkit. Getting into a recreational sports league can be a great way to get active and engaged and also make new friendships that aren’t associated with using substances. Savannah Adult Recreation has some great leagues that take place year-round https://www.savadultrec.com/. If you want to get craftier, the city offers several art classes throughout the year at https://www.savannahga.gov/1041/Classes-Workshops.
Finding New People, Places and Things
Now that we’ve discussed some of the things to start doing, we need to address some of the things to avoid. Downtown Savannah is a beautiful place full of amazing architecture, history, and culture, but it would be wise to avoid the Savannah nightlife especially if you are in early recovery. Sure, there are places where people are having a casual drink and that may not be very triggering but some places are full of people who came to Savannah to drink in excess. Finding yourself in that environment can make it very difficult to avoid temptation.
In general, we want to avoid any people, places, or things (yes, that’s very broad) that we associate with drinking or using drugs. This means we need to find new places to spend our time, new activities to engage in, and potentially new people to spend our time with. If you have close friends or family members that you want to spend time with still, then it is time to now change the dynamic of that relationship and spend time with those people doing things that aren’t substance-related. If any major events are coming up for you like a wedding, concert, or holiday celebration, it will be wise to have someone with you that knows you are in recovery and can help hold you accountable.
It is also important to form a game plan before attending one of these events. Think about who will be at the event and what will be taking place. Have a plan to leave if things get a little too wild. There will always be more big events down the line.
Take it One Minute at a Time
Outside of recovery activities, one of the most foundational concepts to learn in recovery is to take things one day at a time. It is daunting to think about never doing something like drinking ever again. It can seem strange to think about not drinking next year, next month, or even next week. None of those are here yet, so just focus on not taking that drink or using that drug today. You can even narrow the time frame to one hour at a time if you need to.
In conclusion, navigating the journey to sobriety in a city like Savannah comes with its unique challenges, but the wealth of resources and supportive communities makes it not only possible but empowering. By diversifying your recovery assets, attending meetings, seeking spiritual engagement, counseling, and embracing self-care, you’re building a robust foundation for sustained sobriety. Remember to explore the countless substance-free activities Savannah has to offer, filling your life with joy and purpose.
As you embark on this transformative path, take it one day at a time, knowing that each small victory is a significant step towards a healthier, more fulfilling life. Whether it’s the camaraderie of a support group, the solace found in spiritual practices, or the guidance of a dedicated counselor, your journey in the Hostess City of the South is surrounded by a network of encouragement and hope. Stay committed, embrace the possibilities, and savor the freedom that comes with each sober day.
5 Tips For Coping With Cravings On the Spot
If you’ve come this far in our article you maybe saying to yourself, “This is great. You’ve told me a ton of great stuff about how to plan for cravings but what can I do in the moment to deal with them?”
Our addiction specialist, Hunter Bickers M Ed , LAPC, CMAC, has 5 amazing tips for coping with cravings on the spot. P
Sobriety Tip 1
Playing the tape all the way through- if you’re not wanting to drink it’s because you’ve likely had a bad experience with alcohol. The brain will likely only remember the good times. So you need to stop yourself before you start. And rewind to why you want to stop drinking in the first place.
Sobriety Tip 2
Take inventory of your goals: Remember the positive things you are hoping to achieve while sober. Those plans may not happen if you are distracted and unfocused.
Sobriety Tip 3
Open your mouth: Tell your accountability partner, friend or family member. According to Hunter, “If you can mention it you can manage it.”
Sobriety Tip 4
Healthy distraction: Cravings are going to happen even if you are you doing everything right. A craving is like a seed, you can’t just sit around and not think about it. While it’s important to verbalize it to someone close to you. It’s just as helpful to distract yourself by talking to someone about anything. This is good for times when you don’t feel comfortable opening up about your sobriety. The point is to change your focus. Chat about sports, fashion, anything to redirect your mind. Hunter says, “if you recognize what it is and take action, it will pass.”
Sobriety Tip 5
If all else fails, you can always count. 100-7 is what? How about 93-7? And so on. This takes you out of your emotional state and into your analytical.
Seek Support and Stay Connected
Maintaining a strong support system is crucial during summer celebrations. Reach out to your sponsor, counselor, or attend support group meetings regularly. Connect with others who understand your journey and can offer guidance and encouragement. If you anticipate challenging situations, schedule check-ins with your support network before and after events to process your emotions and seek guidance.
In conclusion, summer celebrations can be enjoyable and fulfilling, even while maintaining sobriety. By prioritizing your well-being, planning ahead, bringing a sober support buddy, having a non-alcoholic beverage plan, engaging in sober activities, practicing self-care and mindfulness, and staying connected to your support network, you can navigate summer celebrations successfully and confidently. Remember, your sobriety is a remarkable achievement, and you have the strength and resilience to enjoy the summer season while staying sober.
Start Receiving Support From Therapists in Savannah, GA
Staying sober in Savannah, GA may seem daunting but when you break it down it’s not only achievable but rewarding. Need more help? You can connect with a professional counselor at Waters Edge Counseling to help support your sobriety. Our team would be honored to offer support from our Savannah, GA-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by giving us a call at 912.319.5552 or emailing us at [email protected].
Other Services Offered With Waters Edge Counseling
We understand that you may experience issues with more than one mental health concern at a time. This is why we are happy to offer support with a variety of mental health services. Our team is happy to offer support with multiple mental health services including online counseling, clinical supervision, coping after a cancer diagnosis, and SCAD student counseling. We are also happy to offer therapy for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, teen substance abuse, and counseling for men. In addition, we also offer counseling for teens, child counseling, family counseling, Christian counseling, grief counseling, and marriage counseling.