Few life experiences are as stressful as getting a DUI, but the good news is that convictions related to driving under the influence are often positive turning points in the lives of many individuals struggling with substance abuse issues. Here are just five tips for staying clean after getting a DUI, and why forging a new path forward through life can lead to a better and brighter future.
1. Maintain Healthy Friendships
For many people who are intent on choosing a life of sobriety, adjusting to new friendship dynamics can be a very difficult process to navigate. This is particularly true if old friends base their social interactions around drinking or substance abuse: If your old friends pressure you to return to old behaviors, for example, consider the idea that they may be leading you down a path to further legal problems and interpersonal troubles. If maintaining your old friendships is hurting you and your loved ones, the game may not be worth the candle.
2. Create a Personal Inventory
To truly understand why we use alcohol or substances to cope with our problems, it is often necessary to take a wider view of our values and decisions. In many cases, we turn to alcohol or substances because our most vital needs have gone unfulfilled. By asking ourselves whether we’re using alcohol as a stop-gap for healthier coping mechanisms, we may discover healthier ways to deal with our problems.
3. Use an Ignition Interlock
A DUI is usually a strong wake-up call about our need for change, but if we’re concerned that we may drink and drive in the future, it may be time to have an ignition interlock installed. These devices essentially act as breathalyzers which keep the car from starting if the driver has had too much to drink. While most interlock devices are installed by court order, they can also be installed by choice. For instance, Phoenix residents can schedule an appointment with Arizona interlock providers to have one put into their vehicles voluntarily. Similar companies in Pennsylvania will likely do the same. This can ensure you don’t end up drunk behind the wheel.
4. Make Sobriety a Central Life Goal
Without long-term goals for self-improvement, it is often extremely difficult to maintain a life of sobriety. If we do not truly want to change, in other words, there is little chance that we will stick to our plans for sobriety. A commitment to an alcohol-free life can improve relationships, career prospects, and personal stability, and understanding how a life of sobriety fits with the future we want for ourselves can make the process of staying clean far easier.
5. Motivation Must Come From Within
As most people in recovery will tell you, anyone who has ever been pressured into making a major life decision by other people knows that peer pressure rarely works in the long-term. To truly change, in other words, a person must find their own reasons for self-improvement. Perhaps it’s a desire to set a good example for our children; perhaps we would like to build a stable and successful career for ourselves and our family. Whatever our reason for changing is, we must be sure that we have a personal stake in the outcome.
For these reasons, staying clean after getting a DUI can be one of the most rewarding (and difficult) paths that a person can take through life. It is never easy to radically change our behaviors, of course, but if we’re committed to improving our lives by doing without alcohol or substances, the benefits of a life of sobriety can be extremely meaningful. Truly, that is life at its best.