Addiction Recovery Is About Change
Of all the processes of addiction recovery, there’s one common denominator – change is coming. It can be scary and be a source of worry and concern.
We’ve all seen book after book and social media post after social media post about what habits one needs to be successful. Have you ever seen one on how to stay sober? We’re not talking about how to avoid relapse or the triggers that might lead to relapse — we’re talking about basic, daily habits that can help you maintain sobriety.
Addiction recovery means a lot of things to a lot of people but it is a lifelong process. It never stops, it never waivers and it requires your patience, commitment and faith. While that’s a broad statement that is really little more than a reminder, it’s wise to look at the things that might be holding you back from achieving the best possible outcome in your addiction recovery process.
1) Your past is your past. The only way for you to continue moving toward a new life is to acknowledge where you have been and the role your experiences, good and bad, have played in creating who you are today. No matter what those experiences are, remember that you would not be who you are now without those experiences. In fact, these experiences may help create some purpose for you as you move forward. They might even inspire you or others who are going through a similar process.
You cannot keep paying for old mistakes by dwelling on the mistakes. Someone wise once said “I don’t blame people for their mistakes, but I do expect them to pay for them.” Remember that you have paid for them. Every consequence you suffered as a result of your addiction was a form of payment. Now it’s time to simply file those mistakes away in a deep, dark corner of your memory and treat them as nothing more than valuable lessons
2) Think about what you want to change. Get specific. Think about where you live, your day-to-day schedule, what you do for a living, how you feel when you wake up, and how you feel when you are with the people who play the largest roles in your life. Notice what causes you anxiety, discomfort, or agitation.The 12-step program talks about people, places and things when referencing relapse triggers. It’s wise to pay heed to this, regardless of your spiritual belief. The science is clear: people who are newly sober and go back to the old people, places and things are much, much more likely to relapse. It’s common sense that if alcohol abuse was your issue, hanging out in your hometown bars is a bad choice.
Addiction recovery is about change, and change you must. Pick the one that is easiest to fix and start there. Work with your addiction treatment counselor to help identify your priorities.
3) Make the plan to make change happen. Some of the changes in your life might be relatively minor while others will be more dramatic. It starts with a list segregated by priority.
Do the simple ones first, but plan for the biggest ones. For example: if you plan on moving far away, that will take planning and preparation to secure a living arrangement and a job.If you’re planning to go back to school, you’ll need to get that all sorted out before you move to that city in which the school resides.
As you’re making plans to change your life, don’t forget to plan to change your lifestyle.
Adopting healthy habits is a great idea. Choose a form of exercise that you’ll enjoy, whether it’s mountain biking, hiking, ball sports or something else, just make sure it’s something you can do several times a week without much struggle.
Changing you sleeping habits can improve your mood, decrease the likelihood of illness, and improve your ability to stay sober, so start by going to bed and getting up at the same times each day. Restorative sleep will help bring about the changes you want because no day can live up to its fullest potential without a good night’s sleep.
“One of the best phrases to remember is ‘don’t give someone free real estate in your head.'”
4) Manage your emotions. Emotional responses to situations, people in your life and things beyond your control are normal, but they can make you feel like you’re losing control of your ability to manage the pressures and the stresses. One of the best phrases to remember is “don’t get someone free real estate in your head.” In plain English, why occupy your mind with outrage over something someone said or did to you.
Only you are in control of your emotions. We cannot control what others do to us, but we can control how we respond to how others treat us and to the changes in our lives. In almost every case, a disproportionate emotional reaction is only going to complicate the situation and cause problems, so resist the temptation.
Addiction recovery means that you must learn to manage stress and triggers in a whole new way. Instead of reacting in the moment, you must learn how to take a step back, take a deep breath and focus on how you will react to life’s daily challenges. Learning how to adjust and take things happening in your life in stride will open up a whole new life for you. Look to your friends and family for support, too, as they’ll likely be more than happy to participate.
5) Take care of your self. Now’s the time to handle the things you’ve been neglecting. Go to the doctor for a checkup, go to the dentist, renew your drivers license and passport and take care of all those little person business items.
Find an exercise regimen that works for you and explore new hobbies. When you are taking control of your personal health and wellness, you are in a better position to take control of other areas of your life.
Addiction recovery can be like a new awakening. Embrace it for what it is – a fresh start and a new lease on life.
Ready to start your new life? We can help. Most of our treatment plans are covered under your private insurance plans.