22 Steps to Get Clean and Sober Fast and Make It Last [2023]

22 Steps to Get Clean and Sober Fast and Make It Last [2023]

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Are you struggling with addiction and wondering how to get clean and stay sober

With the right strategies, you can overcome your addiction and live a fulfilling life.

In this guide to sobriety, we’ll share the necessary steps on how to get and stay clean and sober for the long haul.

Want to learn more? Read on!

You’ll learn: 

What is sobriety?

How to become and stay sober

How to get sober and clean without rehab 

How to stay committed to sobriety 

The 22 steps to get clean and stay sober

What is sobriety?

Sobriety means that you’re not under the influence of a substance. In addiction treatment, sobriety means that you’ve achieved independence from consuming alcohol. 

In the same sense, getting clean is the process of abstaining from drugs. 

How to become and stay sober

Substance abuse is really common. 

46.3 million Americans aged 12 or older have a substance use disorder. At the same time, more than 9% of American adults live in recovery. 

The good news is: According to the CDC, three out of four people who experience addiction eventually recover. 

But how long does it take to get sober? 

And can you get sober fast? 

The answer to this question is highly subjective and individual. 

Yes, you probably want to get clean and sober as fast as possible. 

And “sobering up” (getting all traces of drugs and alcohol out of your system) comes down to a matter of hours or days. 

Alcohol leaves the body similarly for all people, irrespective of their gender, body type, or size. It leaves the body at a rate of 0.015% per hour (about ½ drink per hour). 

Drugs, on the other hand, stay in your body for days. According to the FDA, here are a few examples of how long it takes for different drugs to leave your system: 

Marijuana – 1-7 days 

Cocaine – 2-3 days 

Heroin (opiates) – 1-3 days 

Ecstasy 2-4 days 

Speed 2-3 days 

But sobering up and overcoming addiction are two different things. Someone who is addicted to alcohol and/or drugs can’t safely consume these substances without excess.  

And treating addiction takes time. 

From experience, I know that trying to rush the process won’t do you any good.

To share a little bit of my own story: 

I managed to take my life back from addiction in 2015, but before I got there, I spent several years fighting, suppressing, and denying the reality of my situation.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that I needed a complete overhaul of my mind and emotions.

When that finally happened, staying sober became so much easier.

It was still challenging, but at least not impossible anymore.

The same applied to my clients. Recovery isn’t something you do in a month, but over time, you build a truly fulfilling life without the need to numb emotions with substances. 

The thought patterns and mindset you develop during addiction are cultivated over an extended period of time. 

Overwriting this won’t happen from one day to the other.

Getting and staying sober requires effort and commitment. It’s a journey that may take time, but with the right approach, it’s definitely possible.

But what are the steps of getting clean? That’s what we’ll look at next. 

How to get clean and sober without rehab?

The first half of the battle is all about how to get sober and clean. It involves recognizing the need to overcome addiction, reaching out for help, finding the right treatment program, and getting through withdrawal.

Here’s what you need to know: 

Recognize the need to get sober

The first step regarding how to get sober is recognizing that your current lifestyle is not working for you.

You admit that you have a problem, you acknowledge that change is necessary, and you really begin to think about the question: “What can I do to get clean?”

This step is crucial, but also very challenging.

After all, denial is a common symptom of addiction. Particularly, research shows that a lack of insight can be a key driver in drug addiction. 

Therefore, it’s important not to minimize or justify your current situation.

Instead, embrace the fact that you’re taking control of your life again.

Reach out and get the support you need 

Another important step towards sobriety is reaching out for help.

You don’t have to face addiction alone – in fact, you shouldn’t!

As research shows, support-based programs help people stay sober in the long term. 

You may feel like no one understands what you’re going through, but there are countless resources available to help you, including:

  • Support groups
  • Treatment centers
  • Addiction specialists
  • Trusted friends or family members

The important thing is to connect with someone who can offer guidance and support as you navigate the challenges of recovery.

Always remember that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

After all, admitting that we need support puts us in a vulnerable position. And this requires a lot of courage.

Find the right treatment program

Entering a treatment program can provide you with the necessary tools and resources. These programs offer a safe and supportive environment where you can focus on your recovery and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

You want to find a program that is tailored to your individual needs and preferences. But with so many options available, from inpatient addiction programs to outpatient recovery therapy, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek recommendations from trusted sources.

You might choose a: 

●      Traditional treatment center

●      A recovery coach

●      A 12-step program by Alcoholics Anonymous 

●      Another approach like SMART Recovery

Focus on finding a program that resonates with you and your goals for sobriety. 

For example, you might struggle with things that led to your addiction, such as chronic pain. Get the right medical support for a personalized treatment plan. 

Get through withdrawal

During the withdrawal process, you may experience physical and emotional symptoms that range from mild discomfort to severe distress.

Other drug withdrawal symptoms include (the withdrawal symptoms depend on the substance you’ve used): 

  • Trembling
  • Tremors
  • Hunger 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Dilated pupils 

And alcohol withdrawal symptoms include: 

  • Headaches 
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Mood changes
  • Hallucinations 
  • Seizures 

Signs of withdrawal can begin within a few hours or even days. 

The symptoms can last anywhere from days, and weeks, to months, but they will eventually subside. These withdrawal symptoms are a sign that your body is adjusting to a new state.

It’s useful to keep in mind that these symptoms are temporary, whereas the benefits of sustained sobriety are long-lasting.

There are different options for detoxification and withdrawal management, including medication-assisted treatment. 

I recommend working with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

Getting through withdrawal is just one step towards lasting sobriety. It’s essential to continue with ongoing treatment and support to maintain your sobriety and build a fulfilling life in recovery.

That’s what we’ll cover in the next section of this ‘How to Get Clean’ guide.

How to stay committed to sobriety

Now that we’ve covered how to get clean, the second half of the battle begins, namely:

How do I stay clean?

More specifically, how to stay committed to sobriety and truly enjoy living a sober lifestyle?

As mentioned earlier, getting clean isn’t just about putting down the substances.

To me, sobriety means freedom. It involves breaking free from the cycle of dependence and building a life of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.

It’s not just about quitting an addiction.

It’s about rediscovering who you are and who you want to be.

That’s what I personally discovered when I finally overcame my addictions. Here’s my own journey to sobriety: 

Next, let’s look at what steps you can take to stay sober and clean. 

Choose the right therapy or coach

Getting sober is a major accomplishment. But staying sober is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and support. 

Finding the right coach or therapist can be incredibly important in helping you maintain your sobriety and navigate the challenges of long-term recovery.

A good coach or therapist will,

  • provide valuable support and guidance
  • help you identify triggers and provide you with the tools and strategies you need to manage them
  • help you develop coping strategies
  • work through any underlying issues that may have contributed to your addiction

When searching for a recovery coach or therapist, look for someone who specializes in addiction recovery and has experience working with people who are getting clean and sober.

It’s completely okay to keep looking until you find someone who is a good fit for you and who you feel comfortable opening up to. 

Of course, also consider their approach and philosophy, as well as their availability and location. 

The right coach will pay attention to all the points listed below.

For more information on what sober coaching is, check out this article on what recovery coaching exactly is. You might also want to take a look at my sober coach cost guide

Prepare for relapse

Living a sober life is a journey of self-discovery and growth, where you learn to navigate daily life without relying on substances to cope. 

But relapses can still happen. Being aware of this possibility actually makes you better prepared to deal with them.

This includes identifying warning signs and seeking help early. By recognizing the triggers that lead to a relapse, you are able to take proactive steps to manage them.

To prepare yourself for relapse, it can be good to think of the following question: 

“What is the hardest part about being sober?”

As research shows, cravings are often one major point. But another “obstacle” is also the desire for fun and excitement – at least the type of fun that you were once used to.

Especially in the beginning of sobriety, some people begin to complain that “being sober is so boring!”

So, how do you deal with the boredom of being sober?

Answer: You build a fulfilling life that’s worth living. (Check out the steps below!)

Finally, while preparation is key, coping with relapse in a healthy way is perhaps even more important. 

Relapse is a setback, not a failure. And not all progress is immediately lost.

Approaching relapse (and life as a whole!) with a growth mindset can do wonders.

Instead of dwelling in defeat or shame, the idea is to use the experience as a learning opportunity.

This means reflecting on what led up to the relapse, identifying areas for growth, and developing a solid plan for moving forward.

Build support for recovery

Building a strong support system is an essential step in maintaining sobriety.

This may involve changing your friend group and seeking out new social connections that align with your sober lifestyle. 

Transitioning into sobriety is already challenging enough. 

You want to be surrounded by people who are rooting for you and who fully support your recovery.

Connecting with people who have similar experiences and goals, for example, can help you feel less alone. It will also provide valuable support.

By building a network of people who are invested in your recovery, you’ll have a better chance of staying sober and achieving your goals.

Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone.

Change your mindset

One of the most critical steps towards achieving lasting sobriety is fundamentally changing your mindset.

This involves shifting away from a victim mentality and taking full ownership of our actions and choices.

Personal responsibility is a must.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of blaming others or outside circumstances for our struggles.

While these do influence us, true growth and progress come from (compassionately) acknowledging our role in our own lives.

Ultimately, changing your mindset is not an overnight thing. It takes time and effort.

But it’s essential to recognize that you have the power to change your life and create a positive future for yourself.

Tip! Here, a coach or therapist can really help you by offering a fresh perspective, creating a supportive and non-judgmental space, and providing you with the necessary tools and techniques.

Improve your relationship with yourself

The things we do on a daily basis shape who we are.

By incorporating healthy coping mechanisms to deal with triggers and cravings, we can more easily break free from old, harmful habits.

It’s not just about merely avoiding negative behaviours, though. It’s about creating a lifestyle that supports our goals and values.

For example, exploring new hobbies and interests can add excitement and meaning to our lives, giving us something positive to focus on.

By committing to daily self-care practices show ourselves that we are capable of making positive changes and taking control of our lives.

It also shows that we value ourselves enough to go through the effort to take care of ourselves.

Over time, these habits become a natural part of our daily routine, helping us to improve our overall well-being and cultivate a better relationship with ourselves.

Some examples of important self-care practices that can help you improve your relationship with yourself are, 

  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Getting enough quality sleep
  • Incorporating regular exercise and physical activity into your routine
  • Cultivating connections with others and building a support system
  • Finding joy and pursuing hobbies and interests that provide a sense of fulfillment
Addiction recovery x

The 22 steps to getting clean and sober

Finally, I’ve listed 22 steps to take to get sober to summarize what we’ve discussed in this post. These are all steps that help you live an addiction-free life and live a fulfilling life. 

  1. Recognize the need to get sober
  2. Start with trying to remain sober just for today
  3. Be as honest as you can be with both yourself and others
  4. Make a commitment to change
  5. Try staying sober just for yourself, not for others
  6. Reach out for help and support
  7. Find the right treatment program that meets your needs
  8. Get through withdrawal and detox
  9. Choose the right therapy or coach
  10. Prepare for relapse
  11. Identify and avoid triggers
  12. Develop healthy coping mechanisms and learn to manage stress and anxiety
  13. Remind yourself, “I have made it this far; I know this will pass.”
  14. Build support for recovery
  15. Connect with others and build positive relationships
  16. Change your mindset
  17. Re-learn what it means to have fun sober
  18. Find new hobbies and interests
  19. Cultivate a new daily routine and habits
  20. Practice self-care and maintain a healthy lifestyle
  21. Improve your relationship with yourself
  22. Celebrate your successes and progress


There you have it! Now you know how to get clean and sober. 

Overwriting the mindset developed during addiction is a long-term process, and it requires commitment and effort.

Through this guide, we’ve highlighted the necessary steps on how to get and stay clean and sober, from recognizing the need for change and reaching out for help, to developing healthy coping mechanisms and improving your relationship with yourself.

By prioritizing our well-being and happiness, we send a powerful message that we are worthy of love and respect, both from ourselves and others.

At the end of the day, sobriety is a personal journey, and it’s up to you to define what it means to you.

Are you ready to live life on your own terms? Then book your FREE 60-minute exploratory call to learn more!

About the author

Rose Chant
Rose Chant
Rose Chant is a certified addiction recovery coach with years of experience as a mental health worker. Rose started her recovery coaching journey after overcoming her addiction in 2015. She lives in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, Canada, with her family.
If you are still trying to decide if you are ready to take this next step, schedule a FREE 60-minute call, and we can talk about it. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.