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 In Recovery

A common misconception about recovery is that it’s all about getting clean from drugs and alcohol. While getting and remaining sober is clearly a huge aspect of recovery, the real challenges begin long after the initial phases of detox are completed. True recovery involves maintaining focus while getting to the heart of the emotional issues that led to abusing drugs and alcohol in the first place. That takes an incredible amount of time, energy and dedication. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and struggle to maintain a positive mindset.

The Importance of Community

It’s already obvious to most patients in recovery that continuing with outpatient therapy and going to group meetings is crucial for success with sobriety. Therapists, sponsors, and fellow group members can all help hold the patient accountable. However, a community can offer a lot more than that.

When a patient is surrounded with a loving community of people who understand exactly how difficult addiction recovery can be, they’ll be able to discover tips for staying positive. Not only will they have people to lean on, but they’ll also find people to laugh with. Recovery is tough, and humor can be a lifesaver. It’s wise to cultivate a closeness with the local community. People in recovery should focus on supporting others as well as receiving support. Approaching older members of the community who seem to have a good attitude can be helpful for learning tips on staying positive. Everyone is going through this journey together.

Along with sticking close to the recovery community, people who are working on maintaining their sobriety can also reach out to the greater community. Some ideas for positive activities include:

  • Serving those in need a local soup kitchen or shelter
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter
  • Speaking to local students about the dangers of drug and alcohol use
  • Finding groups of sober individuals to do healthy activities with, such as hiking

The Importance of Self-care

Practicing the basics of self-care, which include getting proper sleep, adequate hydration, good nutrition, and plenty of exercise, should be considered a required part of any recovery plan. It’s common to struggle with depression and anxiety when recovering from addiction, but good self-care will help.

A focus on nutrition is needed. Addiction tends to affect eating patterns in a negative way. If someone struggled with drug abuse for years, they may have some nutritional deficiencies. When grocery shopping, people in recovery should choose as many fresh foods as they can, avoiding products that have been processed. Leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, beans, grains, and healthy proteins can all support the human brain. A good multivitamin along with an omega-3 fatty acid supplement can also be very beneficial. It’s always wise to get a nutritional workup from a doctor to check that an individual is getting everything they need to maintain a happy mood and a positive mindset.

The Importance of Creating New Routines

One of the biggest challenges anyone can face as a sober person is creating a new routine that they can feel positive about. They won’t want to continue with their past routine for obvious reasons. It led them to abuse drugs and alcohol!

Part of forming a new routine is creating goals. A routine is basically just a daily plan to achieve one’s goals, and having goals gives a person something to feel excited about when they wake up in the morning. In the past, most of an addict’s goals were likely centered around having the time, money and social isolation required to abuse drugs and alcohol. Now, life is about something more.

If designing a daily routine seems difficult, spending a few minutes daydreaming before writing down a vision for an ideal life can be helpful. It’s best to not worry if some of the desires seem out of reach. It’s better to dream big than to not dream at all! As time goes on, the individual will make progress and new opportunities will open up. The key is to break big dreams down into small, manageable goals. That way, it will be easy to cultivate positive feelings every time an accomplishment is made.

The Importance of Accepting the Pain

Being sober means no longer having a crutch to lean on. For a long time, drugs and alcohol were used to numb internal pain. Now that the person is sober, that pain is going to slowly come up to be processed and healed. That journey won’t be easy. Depending on one’s history, it might be necessary to deal with memories of abuse, issues with low self-esteem or underlying conditions, such as depression and anxiety.

A big problem in our society is that people believe they’re entitled to be pain-free. Most people will just about anything to avoid facing emotional pain, which is unfortunate. Pain is an important part of life. It helps us recognize when something is wrong. It shows us what we need to heal. It teaches us to be strong.

If an individual in recovery is the type who isn’t comfortable feeling things, it’s important to use time in recovery to focus on improving their relationship with emotions. It’s okay to cry. It’s normal for this process to be painful. The more someone can embrace, process and release pain from the past, the happier they’ll become. Think of it like cleaning out an old closet. It might feel overwhelming, and most people will want to procrastinate on getting it done, but the sooner the process begins, the sooner they can experience what it’s like to have that closet organized. Every person in recovery deserves a happy future, and as long as they commit to processing pain from the past and moving toward a better life, they can definitely make their dreams come true.

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