For many addicts and alcoholics, getting through the first year of sobriety can be very difficult. It can be riddled with depression, anxiety, sleep issues as well as psychological and medical conditions. No matter how difficult it may seem, remember that it is possible. All you need is a little determination.

Seek Help

Yes, this is the number one in our list because we know that you need help. It is not a choice—it is a must. Anyone who has been addicted to a chemical substance for a while now is likely to fail to live a completely sober life without the help of a rehabilitation center or sober living home. Being surrounded by temptations in a real world setting makes it even more difficult.

Becoming sober will involve pain and sacrifice. The idea of joining a sober living home is never a joyous one, but it should be done if you need to defeat the addiction and create a new life.

Accept That You Have Made Mistakes

Accept the past and its consequences. However, remind yourself that you deserve to experience, once again, all the wonderful things life has to offer.

Analyze the hold substance addiction has on you. If it has become difficult to make it through the day without alcohol or drugs, and if it becomes too painful to bear, you definitely need help. Recognize that you cannot deal with this problem alone, and you should not be ashamed to admit it. Otherwise, addiction will eat you whole and before you realize it, it will be too late. If it helps, remember that only strong people are able to admit that they need a helping hand.

Recognize that Substance Abuse Is the Root of Your Problems

When you finally decide to live a sober life, you do it with optimism. You must realize that substance abuse is the root of your problems and that if you totally do away with it, you will be happy and healthy.

Look back and remember all the stresses, hurts and problems that chemical addiction has caused: divorce, family illnesses, financial turmoil, business failures, broken relationships and many more. Recognize that substance abuse is only an escape. Focus in finding real solutions instead of drowning yourself in liquor or drugs.

Avoid Negative Things and People

Start cultivating a positive life by avoiding negative people and situations. Be with people who inspire and motivate you to be the best that you can be. Re-evaluate friendships and romantic relationships. Make a list of who to avoid and remember how these people have influenced you in a negative way. For instance, if the only bonding you had with a friend involved addiction, cut him or her lose and move on. More often than not, new beginnings will require endings.

Fill Your Life With Hope and Happiness

Do happy things—go to the beach, travel, meet new friends, spend time with your family. Create a support network of your own by choosing the right friends whom you know will be a positive influence for your sober lifestyle.

Start a Spiritual Relationship

Some find it helpful to have a relationship with God while others find routes to their inner peace and solace in other “spiritual” things. Whatever it is, get yourself involved in a spiritual community or religion where you are accepted for who you are, flaws and all, so that it also becomes easy for you to accept yourself.

Take Care of Your Health

During your addiction, your body had to endure all the bad substances you were feeding yourself. Now that you have decided to live sober, you owe your body a little love. Eat healthy, exercise and get enough sleep. Develop clean and healthy living with the help of family and friends.

Appreciate Your Brand New Substance-Free Life

Remember how much strength, courage and sacrifice you had to give to get to where you are now. A lot of people do not have the courage to even try, let alone succeed in trying to live in sobriety. Be proud of yourself and use that as a motivation.