Ask any recovering addict the secret to becoming clean and sober and being able to maintain that sobriety or clean-time, and they will surely tell you they make their recovery a top priority in their life.
This means treatments at rehabilitation centers, group therapy, individual therapy, attending 12 step meetings, and working whatever recovery program they choose must be front and center before family, job, or anything else; Not just in the beginning of recovery, but forever, or at least as long as they want to maintain sobriety and clean-time.
It means a total lifestyle overhaul, often making significant sweeping changes to friends, careers, family time, entertainment choices, nutrition, exercise, and more.
The thought of totally changing your life may sound unappealing, daunting, or overwhelming, but rest assured, we have some simple, easy tips to follow that can help you do just that – one baby step at a time.
The obvious first step, and a big one at that is deciding to seek help from a doctor, rehabilitation center, 12 step programs, and the like is critical to being able to stop using and drinking.
If you could do it without help, wouldn’t you have done so already?
Taking this step and deciding that you will take direction from those whom you have sought help, will ultimately support you and guide you in your recovery and in being able to make and maintain the rest of the steps outlined here to overhaul your life for happiness, serenity, and peace.
If your doctor recommends an inpatient rehab program that is a month long, do it. If you have regular 12 step meetings to attend, add them to your calendar in perpetuity.
If you have service commitments as part of your recovery, they go in your calendar first too. Step work, journaling, and other recovery tools need to get scheduled in as well. All other commitments including job, family, or anything else comes after your recovery commitments. Period.
Why? Remember when you were using and drinking? You probably had difficulty holding down a job, keeping family commitments, or any other responsibilities and obligations for that matter.
Plus, think about how much time maintaining your addiction took, including time to obtain, ingest, deal with side effects, hide evidence, and the like. Now that time gets allocated to achieving and maintaining sobriety and clean-time.
You’ll be amazed at how much additional time you will still have for all your other responsibilities and even some fun!
Misery loves company as the old saying goes. And if you continue to hang out with miserable, toxic people, you will continue to be at high risk of using and drinking again.
According to the famous book by Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you become like the five people you spend the most time with.
In other words, if you continue to hang around the same buddies you used to use or drink with, no matter how hard you try, you will likely end up using or drinking again.
But this also extends to separating yourself from the people in your life who are toxic in other ways such as verbally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically abusive, or just generally not supportive of your recovery.
And this can be exceptionally challenging when it is a spouse, parent, sibling, or someone else close to you.
It can also be a boss or coworker that is abusive or toxic in some significant way. In the beginning stages of your recovery especially, it can be critical to separate yourself from any poisonous people in your life, no matter who they are, to be able to stay clean and sober.
As you gain recovery time, you will also gain tools to be able to navigate toxicity from others better and still be able to maintain sobriety. It will also become easier to make better choices overall on who you spend your time with, and you will naturally gravitate toward people who are leading lives of recovery and able and willing to support such a lifestyle. The more time you spend with healthy people, the healthier you will be too!
It is common in the chaos of addiction and even in the earlier stages of recovery for addicts to lack appropriate concern about their health and basic needs.
It is important to see a doctor and get a full check-up as soon as possible to address any medical concerns that may have arisen as a result of your addiction.
Chronic pain and other unaddressed medical issues can cause some addictions to start in the first place and can certainly be a trigger for relapse.
A therapist or Psychologist may also be needed, not only to help you through the addiction recovery process but also to start resolving the root causes of the addictive behavior in the first place so that relapse becomes less and less likely to occur.
If you need housing, seek help in finding a sober living community or other appropriate housing. If you need a job, seek help in finding employment.
There are many resources to tap into that your local social services department, rehabilitation center, and even other 12 step members can recommend or refer you to.
The important thing is that you get these basic needs addressed as soon as possible to help reduce stress and create some stability in your life as both can be a significant trigger for relapse.
You will also begin to sleep better once you have stability and your stress is reduced which is also critical for physical, mental, and emotional recovery.
Your body has been severely abused and neglected since your addiction began and needs a ton of TLC to restore full function and vitality.
How long and what you’ve been drinking or using, determines how long it may take to bring your body back into an acceptable level of nutritional balance.
Glucose deficiency is a primary driver in all addictions and can be significantly helped by eating a ton of and wide variety of fruit daily.
Additionally, your body has suffered a severe lack of minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. Adding tons of vegetables, leafy greens, and herbs such as cilantro and parsley will help to restore balance.
It can also be very challenging to overhaul eating habits, especially if you’re used to eating junk food or packaged food all of the time.
Start slowly by doing one new thing a week. For instance, the first week, focus on lemon water. If you can’t do it throughout the day to start, just drink it once, first thing in the morning before food.
The next week, maybe add some fruit or a fruit smoothie to your daily regimen. The following week add in a vegetable juice. You get the idea – one step at a time.
Talk with your doctor about appropriate nutritional vitamins and supplements that you may need as well, especially until you can get your diet truly cleaned up.
Eventually, you will add in so much nutritious food there won’t be room in your diet or cravings for the junk.
Many people groan at the first mention of “working out”; we recommend striking the phrase from your vocabulary altogether. The very basis of the terminology indicates work which exercise isn’t and does not have to be.
Exercise can be fun and can even open you up to meeting new, healthier friends as well.
Begin by identifying a fun activity that you used to enjoy before the addiction or one that you would like to try. It could be bicycling, swimming, dancing, soccer, skiing, yoga – anything that looks interesting to you.
Check your local parks and rec or apps like MeetUp and NextDoor to find others in your neighborhood with similar interests or groups that already meet to do those activities together and then do it!
You can get creative and find ways to make money while exercising such as dog walking, or companion walking or volunteer to perform such services at your local shelter or senior center.
Exercise is an essential part of addiction recovery for two reasons: First, it helps release endorphins that mimic the high you were getting off drugs and alcohol naturally and safely; and second, it is an essential part of self-care and taking care of your body, which is a new part of the recovery-lifestyle overhaul.
Stress reduction and tapping into spirituality can go hand-in-hand in your recovery lifestyle.
Getting plenty of sleep is essential as is taking time to relax and center periodically throughout your day.
Practices such as meditation, prayer, yoga, reading a good book, journaling, making gratitude lists, cuddling with your dog, going for a walk in nature, and the like, can help you get quiet and back to center.
Even a one-minute break to stop and focus on your breathing or a quick prayer in the middle of a hectic workday can do wonders to restore calm in the mind and soul.
Remaining calm, centered, grateful, and focused on today will help you better navigate anything life has to bring, including the challenges, which will ultimately help you avoid a possible relapse.
For an active addict, lying, manipulating, stealing, hiding, and cheating can become a way of life in order to feed the addiction.
To achieve clean time or sobriety and maintain it, honesty and integrity in all that you do and say are imperative.
You must be honest with yourself as much as others and be willing to be completely transparent. Otherwise, you can quickly fall back into addictive behaviors and end up in a full-on relapse either due to shame, embarrassment, or denial.
Additionally, the professional help from rehabilitation experts and other support you may have sought from other 12 step members, can’t help you if they don’t know the full truth of your situation or state of being.
They may guide you incorrectly if you aren’t telling them the whole truth which could end up leading you in the wrong direction.
You may also convince yourself that you can be at a party where there will be drinking or using, for instance, when the truth is you can’t do that and still maintain your sobriety.
Being completely honest with yourself and those that are commissioned to help you in your recovery journey is paramount to your success.
The faster you are willing to choose to implement significant lifestyle changes, the faster and potentially less bumpy road you will have to achieve recovery.
However, everyone has their own pace in recovery, and it is essential to learn not to judge yourself or others on how quickly or slowly you can make these lifestyle changes.
The critical thing to focus on is taking baby steps toward each of these changes as soon as you are able and not to try and do any of this alone! Be self-compassionate and reward your successes.
Having the support and guidance of recovery experts and other recovering addicts is going to help you every step of the way.
Surrounding yourself with healthier people who have the type of new lifestyle you wish to have is also a key to making the changes easier and dare we suggest even fun?
Yes, fun! You too can have a life better than you could ever imagine when you are willing to change your lifestyle to one of health, prosperity, and serenity!
Do you want help finding lifestyle changes that work for you?
If you need help with your recovery, you can get in touch with the Hotline at our Recovery Center where trained and experienced professionals are available to assist you in every way.
The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with all of your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment. Call anytime.
Please call our toll-free helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by experienced and caring professionals who can answer your questions and help you navigate through the process of evaluating and securing a treatment program.
If you or someone you love has questions concerning the rehabilitation process, call our free helpline Phone: +1 888-971-2986 for more information. Calls are always confidential, private, and secure.
Shawn, a promising athlete, took a turn towards alcohol and drugs. After 18 years of addiction, jail, detox, and treatment facilities, he found sobriety. Shawn began rebuilding his life.
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