The early stages of recovery can be some of the most tumultuous, as it is the period where relapse is the most likely. However, these are also some of the most important times, in terms of building a foundation from which a life of sobriety can be built. As such, it is incredibly important to start developing good habits that will help you maintain the course throughout treatment. Here are some healthy habits to start in early recovery…
The Have-To’s, Want To’s & Get-To’s of Daily Recovery
Recovery is something you live, not just go through. Its a “design for living” that really works. Daily maintenance and upkeep is required in order for us to continue enjoying the benefits of long-term sobriety. I used to think about all the things I “had” to do every day to stay clean. Go to meetings, attend outpatient treatment, read out of the Big Book of AA, help others by sharing the message and so on. It sounded so exhausting. While at Renaissance Ranch, I heard something that has ever rang true regarding this daily list of things to do. As we incorporate recovery into our daily lives, all these “have to’s” become “want to’s” that then become “get to’s”. Showing up for our recovery quickly becomes something we want to and get to do. We find that its by doing the small things everyday our lives improve dramatically and we feel better about ourselves and life in general. Today, I get to do these things and for that I’m grateful.
Be open with thoughts and feelings
Addiction recovery is a personal battle within, but it is also a social journey, where the sharing of experiences and feelings can help work through necessary baggage. For this reason, when in therapy sessions, both group and individual, it is important to get into the habit of being open with your thoughts and feelings. This is especially true when these sessions involve speaking with family, as learning to talk to your loved ones about your struggles with addiction is a crucial skill to learn.
Take care of physical health
Addiction recovery is a battle that is mental and spiritual, but also physical. Getting your body back into a normal rhythm goes a long way towards reducing the conditions that create a mental spiral that pushes you back towards addiction. For this reason, it’s important to get into the habit of sleeping and eating well, as well as enjoying some degree of physical activity.
Stick to a schedule
Structure is going to be your best friend in early recovery, as it helps rebuild your life amidst the chaos that addiction creates. An important part to maintaining this structure is creating a schedule for your daily routine, and then sticking to that schedule. This makes keeping up other healthy habits a lot easier, and helps build an optimistic mentality.
Rise to Shine
We all like sleep. To add to that, we all like sleeping in. But there’s something about getting up early to have that extra time in the morning that makes the day so much more fulfilling. Perhaps its having a few quiet moments in the morning to think about the day and not feel like we’re rushing out the door. Use this time to get centered for the day ahead. According to this article about successful people who wake up early, research shows that early risers tend to be happier and more productive. Rise (early) to shine!
Don’t expect perfection.
It is very common for relapse to occur in the early stages of addiction recovery, but it is important to note that this isn’t the end of the world; it’s just a stumble on the path. Expecting perfection from yourself is a quick way to ruin your mindset and wreck your self-esteem.
Stay With It
Habits are only formed by doing something more than once. A day or two of trying this out most likely wont give you the desired effect, but you will notice a difference faster than you think if you make a habit out of recovery. As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step meetings, “it only works if you work it!”
Go ahead, give it a try.