Substance addiction is a treatable and manageable condition. Anyone can achieve recovery.
Recovery is defined as a process of change, through which individuals struggling with substance addiction (and/or mental health disorders) can improve their wellness, regain control over their lives, and strive to reach their full potential. Those in recovery learn how to live without the crutch of drugs and alcohol, and begin to find gratitude, positivity, and productivity in a life of sobriety.
With all this said, recovery from addiction is not always easy. Drug and alcohol addiction is a chronic condition that changes the way a user’s brain works. It takes time and proactive management to heal. However, it is entirely possible to recover successfully, with the right steps taken. In this guide, we provide 10 important tips for recovery from addiction.
Drug Addiction Recovery Tips
- Ensure you have a safe, stable, substance-free environment.
Whether you are new to recovery, or recently struggling with your sobriety, the most important thing you can do in this moment is take a look at the environment around you. Are you living in a place that supports your recovery and success? A good, supportive environment means that it is free of alcohol, drugs, and reminders of these substances. It means that the people you live with (if any) are encouraging of your sobriety. Most of all, this environment should be a safe space where you feel comfortable and secure, and therefore a place where you can focus on your healing.
- Avoid relapse triggers.
In combination with a safe environment, you should also ensure that you are not afflicted by relapse triggers. Relapse triggers can be people, places, or things that cause you to crave drugs and alcohol. For example, common relapse triggers include drug-using friends, bars, holiday parties, toxic relationships, stress, boredom, and negative emotions like anger and sadness. As you navigate your recovery, try to proactively avoid these triggers. Take a different way home for work. Attend parties with sober friends. Use the coping skills learned in your treatment to overcome negative feelings. Have positive people and places that you can turn to in times of need. This might be reaching out to a friend you trust, or even attending a meeting.
- Make a list of goals you want to accomplish.
Especially in early recovery, establishing goals for yourself is important. Why have you taken the steps into recovery? What do you want to accomplish, now that you have control back over your life? You may wish to establish a good career, go back to school, finish college, or even travel to new places. Your goals may be around your sobriety – and measurable in the number of months and years you keep at it. You may wish to lose weight, to eat healthier, to develop a new skill, or delve into a new hobby. You may wish to re-build burned bridges and heal old relationships. These are all great goals to have in recovery. They can keep you motivated, fill your days with purpose, and give you something to work towards. This leaves less time for thinking about – and potentially using – drugs or alcohol. Learn more about the benefits of goal setting in recovery here.
- Find sober activities or hobbies you enjoy.
When you were using drugs and alcohol, you likely spent most of your time seeking, using, or recovering from your substance of choice. And, in turn, you likely put activities you loved one the backburner. Now that you are in recovery, you have more time to do things that matter to you—things that you enjoy. This might mean playing a sport, starting a collection, getting back into art or music, or hitting the trails. Think about what you enjoy most and be sure to incorporate that into your recovery plan. This can help keep you busy and avoid boredom. You will have more meaningful ways to spend your time.
- Prioritize your health.
Staying healthy is another key component of addiction recovery. This means healthy in every aspect of your life – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Make sure you are eating healthy meals, and fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to keep going. Incorporate exercise into your recovery routine, and start feeling better about what your body can do. Exercise has well-known benefits to your health. In addition to the physical fitness and capabilities you will develop, exercising regularly can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve your mood overall. Staying healthy also means prioritizing your mental health. This means taking action throughout the day to check in with yourself, do things that make you feel good, see people that you love, and attending therapy when you need it.
- Continue receiving care from your counselor.
In combination with your own efforts to stay healthy, you should also continue seeking professional help from a counselor or clinician. If you have already completed a treatment program and are in a continuing care program, or continuing to receive therapy, make sure that you keep going. Continuing care is vital to a lasting and successful recovery from addiction. Substance addiction is a chronic illness that, much like hypertension or diabetes, requires ongoing maintenance and therapy. It can be managed, and it can be treated, but you need to constantly work at it.
- Attend meetings and support groups.
Similarly, it is recommended that you continue attending meetings and/or support groups. The people in these groups are part of your sober support network. They are people you can turn to in times of need, when you have a bad day or a drug craving. They can help hold you accountable for your sobriety, and help you stay on the path to sobriety. Don’t be afraid to try different meetings or support groups until you find one that is right for you. Your treatment center may also be able to connect you with a group that fits your needs, such as one with peers of the same age or gender.
- Practice relaxation techniques.
Another means of staying healthy is ensuring you take care of your mind. In recovery, you will have new activities to pursue, meetings to go to, and responsibilities to attend to, so it is important you also take time to recollect and check-in with yourself each day. Relaxing can look different for everyone. For you, it might mean taking a walk, reading a book, doing yoga, or meditating. Many people in recovery will use meditation or mindfulness techniques to help keep them grounded. These tactics are one you can use if you are experiencing difficult emotions and drug cravings, as well. They can reduce the stress response and bring you back to a state of calmness, which is essential for sound decision-making.
- Create a routine – and stick to it.
Time is a valuable asset while in addiction recovery. You will want to ensure your days are filled with purpose, meaning, and things to do. At the same time, you will want to balance time for self-care. For this reason, it can be helpful to have a structured routine. Plan out your days including what time you will wake up, go to school or work, exercise, and eat your meals. You should also include time for meetings or therapy, as well as time for relaxation, time for yourself, and time with friends. All of these aspects will support your recovery and support the goals you have established. A structured routine will also help you avoid boredom or loneliness, which are very common triggers for relapse.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help.
The most important thing to remember in addiction recovery is that you can always ask for help. If you are struggling with drug cravings, difficult cravings, or your mental health, do not be afraid to call someone you trust for advice. They may be able to help you create a recovery plan that works for you.
Additionally, do not be afraid to call a treatment professional or revisit the idea of treatment. Sometimes, people in recovery relapse. This does not mean that they have failed, but rather, they need to revisit and change their treatment plan. Even if you have already completed a drug rehab program, your current situation may indicate you need a change in your recovery plan. This is normal.
Addiction recovery is a process and along the way, there may be setbacks or obstacles. In order to stay successful and maintain a lasting recovery, it is important to take care of yourself, to seek support when you need it, and to create an environment and schedule that will help you thrive. To get more tips for recovery from addiction, or to speak with a treatment specialist, do not hesitate to contact Turnbridge. Turnbridge is a leading treatment center for adolescents and young adults struggling with substance addiction, mental illness, and co-occurring disorders. Call 877-581-1793 to learn more.