If you’re in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, you are likely well aware that your health and sobriety are of utmost importance. Remaining healthy and in recovery can mean the difference between life and death. No matter what comes up in your personal or professional life, there is nothing more important than staying sober after addiction.
If you attended an inpatient or residential addiction treatment program, it’s likely that you worked with a counselor, coach or therapist to create a plan to help transition into your new life in independent living in recovery.
Strengthening your recovery starts with these practices firmly in place, but there are additional steps that you can take to help improve your success in pursuing long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction:
- Make a positive change in your lifestyle. Your recovery isn’t solely dependent on staying sober – it involves an entire positive lifestyle change. Cultivate wellness by taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, in relationships and professionally. Take up a healthy cooking class and learn to eat well, join a local gym and attend a spin class, incorporate a daily walk during your lunch break, get a good night’s sleep each night. When your body feels good, you’ll be more likely to weather the storms in a healthy way – rather than turning back towards pills, heroin, alcohol, or any drug of choice.
- Practice mindfulness. Many addiction rehab facilities incorporate mindfulness techniques into their programs – and for good reason. Mindfulness helps people to stay in the moment without judgement, and allows them to focus solely on one thing at a time. Mindfulness especially helps those who have been in active addiction avoid feeling overpowered by thoughts of the past or high stress levels about the future. Incorporating mindfulness into your recovery may mean simply taking a few minutes to focus on your breathing, doing a mental self-check, and considering what to do to improve the the situation.
- Find a stable job. Financial problems can be one of the biggest triggers for arguments in relationships, triggers for personal anxiety, and you guessed it – a trigger for relapse. In early recovery, you may find yourself taking whatever job is first available in order to simply shift back into the swing of a normal routine, and to simply pay the bills. However, as you grow stronger and more comfortable in your new path, explore career options that will give you financial stability, challenge you, and interest you.
- Establish goals. Expanding upon creating financial and professional goals – develop personal goals, as well as goals within your relationships with family members and friends. Create a plan of action in deciding what you want to do and what purpose you want to serve in your life and the lives of others. Keep track of your progress and acknowledge your accomplishments.
- Connect. Whether it be through your addiction treatment center’s alumni program, or support groups such as Women for Sobriety, Celebrate Recovery, SMART Recovery, or 12-Step meetings. Find a group that you identify and connect with and share in your recovery, your struggles and your accomplishments. Connecting with others is one of the most powerful tools to utilize and keep you focused on health and long-term recovery.
- Exercise gratitude and positivity. Look at you – you’ve not only survived addiction, but you’re making tremendous progress in your life! Focus on the beauty of your recovery; reliving the past, harboring guilt and shame, and holding grudges are not going to get you to a health place. Instead, exercise positivity and embrace your goals and purpose.
- Make sure you are a priority. Your recovery will involve a lot of hard work: from repairing relationships with family and friends, to attending support groups, and going to therapy sessions. Even with all of your new commitments and goals, it is still essential that you dedicate some time for yourself. Set aside downtime for yourself each week to just relax; whether it is kicking back and taking a nap, doing an at-home yoga session, drawing a bath, or even just ordering in your favorite pizza and catching up on Netflix.
Staying actively engaged your your recovery process by continuing to attend therapy, maintaining any sort of schedule for medications, and continuing to pursue these steps and more will only help you grow stronger and healthier.