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Staying Sober Under Stress: Tips for Success  

With Hurricane Irma facing South Florida, and more extreme weather events taking place in other areas of the country, it is normal to experience a higher-than-normal level of stress. Weather is something that we cannot control, though in becoming prepared to face the unknown, we are better able to stay ahead of our emotions and in charge of our sobriety.

Staying close to sober supports during uncertain times can ensure your success. As fear builds, panic can begin to set in, and it is important to reach out to people who can help you remain calm.

Safety should be your number one priority in the event of an extreme weather event—or any highly stressful situation. Together, we must take care of our needs as best as we possibly can while staying safe in the process.

Read below to discover several tips to remain safe and focus on your sobriety during times of extreme stress. And above all, please adhere to the warnings offered by government and local officials, as well as the plans set forth by your IOP staff.

Things You Can Do

  • Have a plan.

Whether you are going home to stay with family or staying in the area, create a plan that follows the advice of IOP staff and the recommendations of county officials. Letting people know where you will be during a storm is absolutely crucial. Once you create the plan, do not deviate, and remain prepared.

  • Reach out to sober supports.

In times of high stress, you may feel cravings and urges. Relying on sober supports allows you to voice your feelings to someone who understands. There is strength in numbers, and staying close to those who can offer support can make all the difference. They will keep you accountable.

  • Take time to breathe.

Give yourself time to meditate and focus on your breathing. It is okay to feel angry or sad. It is okay to feel nervous. Channel the emotions you are feeling and use breath to combat your anxieties. Create a mantra that will serve you during this time, and repeat it to yourself as often as you need to.

  • Connect with others. 

If you are spending the storm in the company of others, it is a great time to remember that we are all connected. In unfortunate circumstances, it is in connections with others that we will find solace, support, and understanding. Make an effort to get to know the people you are with a little better—and know that they are likely just as scared as you are. Have patience—both with yourself and with the people around you.


To all of our friends in South Florida, please stay safe, and draw courage from the incredible community that we are so blessed to live in.

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