How to Recover Your Life After Addiction
How to Recover Your Life After Addiction
Are you someone whose life has been wrecked by addiction and you don’t know where to start? Here’s how your can recover your life after addiction.
Keyword(s): Life After Addiction
Recovery is a tough business. Even if you’ve only just started on the path toward sobriety, you’ve already accomplished something remarkable. But, that’s not to say it’s not challenging.
Life after addiction can initially be pretty darn hard, and the road to recovery is more of a lifelong journey than the few days, weeks, or months you spent getting clean.
Yes, relapses happen, and recovering from opioid addiction or heroin presents a unique set of challenges, but they don’t have to. By taking the right steps and laying the groundwork for a healthy life ahead, you truly can experience long-term success.
Commit to Staying Sober
You’ve already passed the first major hurdle in your quest to stay clean, but the first step in starting your new life after addiction is to commit to sobriety, fully and completely.
What this means is, you are committing to doing the heavy lifting. This process involves taking good care of yourself, finding a sponsor and staying away from situations that may lead you astray.
Routines Are Your Best Friend
If you truly want to progress in terms of making life after addiction both meaningful and healthy, you need to establish a schedule that offers some stability to your day to day life. One of the most important things for people who are newly sober is consistency, especially during the first few months.
If you aren’t ready to go back to work, schedule time to socialize, attend meetings or even take a class. Whether that’s a new hobby like painting or pottery, kickboxing or anything else that strikes your fancy, pick something that interests you.
Crafting a schedule that feels right to you and at the same time, curbs idleness can be instrumental in your success.
In addition to new activities and group meetings, things like eating meals at the same time each day, establishing a regular sleep-wake cycle and a pre-work routine can help restore a sense of balance to your daily life.
Build a Strong Support System
Friends and family are key in making a successful recovery during life after addiction—and this works both ways. Spend time with family member and friends who support your recovery. Having a friend to call when you feel the urge to drink or do drugs can be a boon during dark times.
On the flip side, those friends who do not support your changing habits may best be left behind. Avoid spending time with those who pressure or enable your addiction or who still engage in problematic behavior may make things harder for you in the long run.
While friends and family play an important role in the recovery process, it’s often difficult for loved ones, no matter how well-meaning, to understand what life after addiction is truly like.
If you haven’t already, consider joining a 12-step program or a similar support group. The people you’ll connect with are working toward similar goals and may help you navigate new territory by encouraging you to stay sober, and by sharing the tools they’ve used in their own journeys.
Make Changes to Your Environment
While not directly associated with recovery, making an effort to change certain things within your environment can make a big difference in keeping temptation at bay in your life after addiction.
For example, small stuff like rearranging your desk or painting your bedroom a different color may help clear your head and get you in the right space for a new start.
Environmental changes could also entail moving to a new house or apartment, or even somewhere closer to the friends and family who can provide support.
In some cases, those seeking to make changes may need to remove themselves from their pre-rehab life. There may be too many triggers or the temptation to spend time with friends who may not understand your newfound sobriety.
Take Steps to Accomplish Your Goals
If you were addicted to drugs or alcohol, there’s a good chance that your career goals were put on the back burner.
You may not be ready to get back to work immediately, but figuring out what your goals are and the best way to accomplish them is a good first step.
Life after addiction, just like the recovery process itself are going to be different for every single person. Perhaps your main goal is repairing relationships with family and friends.
Opioid or heroin addiction can take a tremendous toll on personal relationships, and it will take some time and effort to build trust with those who have been affected by your addiction.
Or maybe you want to start giving back to the community or go back to school. Whatever it is, now is the time to learn what is important to you
In the end, it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers today. The future is a blank canvas and you now get to decide what life after addiction looks like for you.
Don’t Discount the Power of Exercise
Getting off drugs or alcohol is the first step toward good health when you are in recovery, but just because you’re sober, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the best shape.
An exercise routine can make a huge difference in the recovery process. It can help build confidence, increase your sense of well-being and you know, get you into top form. Plus, it can introduce you to others practicing a healthy lifestyle.
Getting proper nutrition during recovery, in addition to exercise is a great way to ensure that you help your body heal from the damage done during addiction.
Things like weight gain can creep in during your life after addiction. Some former addicts may lean on unhealthy food to fill the void.
In some cases, poor nutrition may lead to relapse, because certain drugs may help users lose weight quickly.
Things like remembering to eat breakfast each day, limiting the amount of sugar and caffeine you consume, getting plenty of fruits and vegetables all help boost your mood and mental health. Plus, help your body finally begin to heal.
Everyone does things they regret. It’s quite possible that you may have done some damage to loved ones while in the throes of your addiction, but the best thing is to move forward and try your best to make things right.
You certainly cannot change the past, but we all make mistakes. Go easy on yourself, while taking responsibility for your actions. Life after addiction is rough, but you’ll need to learn to live with yourself and move forward.
Learn to Recognize the Warning Signs of Relapse
Most people experience at least one or two symptoms of being at risk of relapse, this doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, but there are some things that put you at greater risk—particularly if you stop focusing on recovery.
Here are some of the signs that something may be wrong:
Fatigue or Burnout
Things, like being tired or feeling overwhelmed with family, school or work obligations, can be a trigger for addicts, as can feeling depressed or down on oneself.
Feeling a sense of overconfidence in your ability to stay clean, without putting in the effort may be some signs that relapse is around the corner. In some cases, former addicts feel as though they can be around people drinking or doing drugs.
Others may end up feeling like they can use in moderation. This train of thought is particularly dangerous, as recreational use can lead to a full-blown relapse.
If you’re feeling this way, remind yourself just how far you’ve come, or consider cognitive behavioral therapy for some techniques in coping with this thought pattern.
Slipping into patterns of dishonesty or becoming defensive with friends or family members is another sign that something may be wrong.
You may have a hard time admitting this to yourself, but acknowledging where behavior is coming from—depression, shame, regret is the first step. You’ll want to aim to tackle those feelings head-on in a group or individual therapy.
Connecting with People from Your Using Past
It’s understandable that you may miss your old friends, but if you are tempted by people from your past who are still using, try reaching out to friends who are sober or will refrain from using in your presence.
Be honest with yourself, and know when to get help. Call a sponsor, a close friend or your therapist if you notice a change in your behavior or if you’re having some difficult feelings.
Ready to Begin Your Life After Addiction?
In the end, sobriety needs to be something you choose. If you or a loved one is dealing with an addiction to heroin or opiates, we can help. Prescott House offers residential treatment for men in a tight-knit recovery community.
Contact us today for more information about getting started on your life after addiction.