Tips to Refocus Your Life During Addiction Recovery
Congratulations! You’ve taken the steps to regain control of your life by seeking addiction treatment. That first step is often the most difficult, requiring strength and courage, so well done! As you’re healing your mind, body, and spirit, you’re also learning how to regain control of your life. A plan to get your life on track should embrace wellness and include getting a job (if you need one), repairing relationships with loved ones and friends, managing your finances, and fixing your credit.
If you’ve lost your job, know that federal civil rights laws protect recovering addicts from employment and work discrimination. If your addiction resulted in damaged credit, you can take steps to repair it. These tips from Fico are a great place to start.
Other suggestions for Starting Anew
Go slow and stay steady. It’s so tempting, when you’re feeling good again, to charge back into the world and grab that proverbial bull by its horns. Start gradually by setting small, achievable goals so that a small setback doesn’t trigger a relapse. Baby steps are perfectly fine!
Find sober friends. Environment plays a significant role in addiction. When the people around you engage in risky behaviors that you’re actively working to avoid, you need new friends. Your past friends may say they support your sobriety, but if they continue to abuse drugs or alcohol, it’s okay to move on and leave them behind.
Explore new activities. Most addicts’ lives revolve around finding the next high. Now that getting high is no longer an option, do something new with your free time. Choose something constructive, inexpensive, and good for you, like meditation. Then take steps to make your hobby a habit, like designating a space in your home for your daily practice. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. In fact, the ideal meditation room meets two goals: simple and personalized.
Eat better. During your addiction, you probably made unhealthy choices regarding your diet. Eating healthfully by incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and lean protein into your diet will help to heal your body, increase your energy, renew your appearance, and build immunity.
Exercise. No one says you have to hit the gym every day to engage in a punishing routine, but if you like the structure, try making a killer playlist, setting regular goals, and incorporating strength training. If, on the other hand, you’re most definitely not a gym rat, that’s okay, too. Start slowly with low-impact activities like yoga, swimming, or walking.
Get outside. Spending time in nature is incredibly therapeutic, so make time to walk around your neighborhood, take a lunchtime stroll, or play outside with the kids after school each day. You’ll absorb vitamin D, increase your concentration, reduce stress, and even sleep better.
Identify your triggers. In therapy, you’ll have worked to identify the triggers that drive addictive behaviors. Continue to monitor those triggers, and have a response plan so you’re not caught off guard. Don’t test your limits — this isn’t a contest, and it can backfire.
Addiction Recovery Management
Recovering from substance abuse doesn’t stop when the treatment ends. Instead, you’ll begin the next step — aftercare treatment. Your team will present you with a variety of options that may include:
- Outpatient treatment. You’ll live at home but return one or more times a week to a clinic or office to continue your treatment, which may include therapy and education sessions. You may start by attending five sessions weekly and gradually step down as you progress.
- Halfway and sober living homes. If you’re ready to leave an inpatient rehab center but not quite ready to live at home, you may move into one of these structured, drug-free settings that provide a safe, supportive environment.
- Group counseling. You’ll work with other individuals on similar journeys, share experiences and stories, and work cooperatively to develop social and coping skills.
- Individual therapy. You’ll work one-on-one with a therapist to continue and build on the progress you started with the initial treatment program.
- 12-step programs. You may join a program like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) where you can attend meetings multiple times each week — even every day — for support and encouragement during your recovery.
Above all, be patient with yourself as you work to clean the slate, start over, and rebuild a healthier, happier, substance-free life.
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