The 10 Dos for a Healthy Recovery
Sometimes early recovery can feel like navigating a long list of Don’ts or activities you must avoid. Turning around this perspective and exploring all of the Dos that will support addiction treatment and empower your personal goals makes recovery a truly life-changing process that opens the doors to new opportunities.
These 10 Dos for addiction recovery are all steps that will support your physical wellness, mental health, and personal potential.
1. Do Give Your Recovery First Priority
When an individual struggles with addiction, their priorities are focused on obtaining and using the substance to which they are addicted. Making your sobriety and continued progress in recovery your first priority will empower you to make all the other life changes that you seek.
Attending meetings and support groups, or continuing to engage with local sober living programs should be at the top of your “Things to do” list. If your resolve to stay sober begins to waver or you feel tempted to relapse, this becomes your top priority. Reach out to your sponsor or mentor, or contact an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment center for help.
2. Do Focus on Taking Care of Yourself
There are many reasons that people become involved with and addicted to drugs or alcohol. Moving forward to a new lifestyle means applying effort to your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Even if it seems selfish at first, practicing self-care gives you the strength and confidence to tackle the challenges of recovery.
Consider all elements of a fulfilling life and add them to your daily routine:
- Eating healthily, sleeping well, and exercising regularly
- Practicing relaxation, mindfulness, and gratitude
- Connecting with your spiritual side through community or self-guided study
- Taking time for yourself on a regular basis to pursue enjoyable activities
3. Do Find Fulfilling Work and Purpose
Having a sense of purpose propels us forward into each day. Finding gainful employment, enrolling in college or tech school, volunteering in your community, and caring for loved ones at home are all ways to make your recovery a positive one, not only for yourself but for those around you.
Attaining those goals, avoiding the financial stresses of being unemployed, and working to recover financially are essential parts of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility. In turn, knowing that you are working for the things you need and want will help restore your sense of dignity and self-worth.
4. Do Learn How to Say “No”
Letting yourself get over-extended is a sure way to raise your stress levels. It is important to acknowledge your own limitations. Part of this means saying no when necessary. While there are many times that helping others is healing, saying yes to every request or social obligation will quickly become overwhelming.
Learning to say no also applies to those situations where alcohol is served in a social setting. One of the steps of addiction treatment is identifying what types of events, activities, or places might be triggers for cravings so you know where to draw the line. One simple way to handle an offer of a drink is to say “Yes, I will have some … (water, juice, coke, coffee).”
There are also emotional triggers, responses tied to both positive and negative feelings that cause cravings. Learning to say no to relationships, friends, and situations that trigger these emotions may be the right step to protect your sobriety during recovery.
5. Do Surround Yourself with Support
Having supportive people around you is empowering and inspiring. Talk to your friends and family about your recovery experience and share with them the challenges you still face. Stay in touch with your recovery community by attending regular meetings and sober events. Being connected with friendships and support will help you get past the rough spots on the road ahead.
Most addiction treatment programs will advise you to wait at least a year after achieving sobriety to start a new romantic relationship, but the friends you make in your new social circles and workplace can build into more healthy relationships over time. Focus on connecting with good people who have your interests in mind as you build your new network.
6. Do Remind Yourself Why You Are Staying Sober
There was a reason you found yourself in a treatment center or sober living facility and something that motivated you to keep going. No matter what your reasons and motivating factors are, keep those ideas in front of you. When you feel any moments of instability, focus on reminding yourself why you have chosen to stay sober.
Put up visual reminders or pop-up alerts to remind you several times a day of what your goal is and why. It might be a picture of your children, your pet, your workplace, a new home, or a trip to Tahiti. Whatever inspires you to keep going one day at a time should be in your mind’s eye and your field of vision. Negative self-talk is a habit. Changing those thought patterns can make a real difference in how you feel.
7. Do Find a Healthy and Engaging Hobby
Exploring new hobbies and interests is a great way to put your focus into something enjoyable. You might discover new hobbies while staying in a sober living facility or home or branch out on your own to try new things like these during early recovery:
- Drawing, painting, photography
- Hiking, rock climbing, historic tours
- Car repair, fishing, camping
- Pottery, spinning, reading, writing
- Collecting, antiquing, geo-caching
8. Do Follow a Structured Schedule
The habits of successful people often include following a structured daily routine. Building an orderly way of accomplishing the work in front of you is one reason a daily schedule is part of addiction treatment and sober living programs.
Meeting your goals to exercise more, learn new skills, or find a new job is easier if you work toward those large milestones with small planned steps that will get you there. Knowing when it’s time to go to work, or sleep, or study, or head to the gym is the best way to make sure you get where you need to be to succeed.
9. Do Keep Calm and Keep Going
Our emotions of anger or fear are strong triggers that drive us to seek comfort. When we are in emotional pain, we instinctively look for ways to stop our suffering. For many individuals, not knowing how else to deal with anger, guilt, anxiety, or depression may have contributed to their developing addiction.
During early recovery, many people experience strong feels of guilt, remorse, or depression. Some of these emotional swings are caused by changes in brain chemicals as the body tries to restore natural and self-sustaining levels of substances like serotonin and dopamine. Recognizing that your mood swings, irritation, or feelings of anger might have a physical cause can give you the ability to change your responses.
Group meetings, family counseling, and individual therapy can give you the tools you need to manage your emotions in a healthy way, that will strengthen your relationships rather than doing them harm. As your body recovers fully from drug abuse or alcoholism, you will find it easier to be calm, cool, and steady as you navigate life’s challenges with confidence in your own abilities.
10. Do Find Your Sense of Balance
One way to look at achieving balance in your life is “moderation in all things.” Focusing too much on one activity during early recovery can lead to substituting a behavioral addiction for another of your original addictive behaviors. Strong things and strong people must have a solid foundation that is level and supported on all sides.
Even healthy activities like exercise or reading can become obsessive. Gaming, gambling, and dieting can become more than distractions and begin to replace the role of drugs or alcohol previously played in your life.
Using your structured schedule, create and maintain a balance of activities that will create that solid foundation for your life by:
- Spending time by yourself and with others
- Eating a healthy diet that also includes occasional treats or splurges
- Exercising no more than twice a day for 30 minutes
- Enjoying new hobbies, video games, or television for a limited number of hours each day
- Balancing your attention budget to include the right amounts of personal time, family time, and work time
Doing the Things That Matter Most
None of us can do everything that we would like to do on any given day. Recovery is a personal journey that reflects each individual’s unique past and possible future. Choosing to find the best addiction treatment available when your recovery is at risk may be the most important thing you can do.
Circling back to the start of our list, there is nothing that matters more to you and your family’s future than taking your life back from the grip of addiction. Making the choice to accept help, protect what is at risk, and restore what has been damaged is the definition of healing.
When you need a sober environment and evidence-based addiction treatment in Florida, contact us at the RECO Institute in Delray Beach. Our sober living residences can be the perfect place to rediscover yourself and learn to do the things that matter most to you.