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healthy habits for addiction recovery

3 Healthy Habits People Recovering from Addiction Have

Recovering from an addiction is a process. Saying you’ll never use alcohol or drugs again can make this process seem longer, more difficult and less possible than it actually is. That’s why one of the mantras of Alcoholics Anonymous is “one day at a time.” You tell yourself that you will be sober for today. Today seems doable. And then tomorrow, you tell yourself the same thing. After a while, being sober starts to feel normal, and it becomes easier.

There is no one single behavior or mindset that helps everyone who is addicted to alcohol or drugs; if there were, everyone would know what to do and no one would have a problem. But there are some generally accepted practices that work for most people. Below, we go over three habits that are the most helpful to adopt when recovering from addiction.

  1.       Have and Use Sources of Support

Breaking an addiction can be extremely difficult, and doing it without support is harder still. When you check into rehab, the staff becomes your support system, 24/7, and that’s why rehab works better than trying to detox and recover at home.

Graduation from a rehab program usually includes identifying sources of support and ensuring you understand how important it is to keep them close at hand. Initially, one of your sources of support might be your rehab center. You may return once a week, once a month or on a different schedule to receive therapy and support from counselors and former users who are also in recovery.

Additionally, you may have a sponsor — a type of counselor you meet during the recovery process who agrees to be there for you during the early days and weeks of recovery. You can text or call this person — who is usually someone formerly addicted themselves, so they understand your situation — at any time when you feel like you may relapse or you just need support or a friendly face.

But you will also need sources of support close to you. These may include your spouse, parents, siblings, friends, teachers, clergy people or others. Ideally, family members would have attended some counseling sessions with you to learn how best to support you. For instance, they might be used to checking up on you, going through your things looking for evidence that you’re using again, seeing if you have been skipping work and hanging out with your old buddies. In therapy, they will learn that your recovery is your responsibility, and their role is to offer the support you need, not to monitor or police you.

  1.       Take Their Meds

When you enter rehab, you may receive a dual diagnosis. This most often means that you are not only addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, but you also suffer from a mental health issue. These can include one or more of the following:

  •       Depression
  •       Anxiety
  •       Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  •       Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  •       Bipolar Disorder
  •       Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  •       Borderline Personality Disorder
  •       Conduct Disorder

Not infrequently, addiction is brought on or exacerbated by mental health conditions. The person suffering with a mental health issue uses drugs and alcohol to relieve symptoms, but this ends up creating more problems instead. When you get a proper diagnosis for your mental health condition, you may also be prescribed medication for it. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also useful in treating mental illnesses, and you will likely receive this in tandem with your medication while in rehab.

While it is possible to progress in therapy to such a degree as to eventually no longer require prescription medication for some mental illnesses, this can take a long time and is usually the result of intense effort on the part of the patient. Thus, taking your meds in your early days of recovery is crucial to your success.

  1.       Get Outside & Move Their Bodies

Most therapists prescribe exercise as part of the solution for improving addiction and mental health issues. Some clients balk at the word “exercise,” and this is understandable. Many people feel exhausted in recovery and stretched to their limits, and adding exercise into the mix seems intolerable. But in fact, the opposite is true: movement makes recovery easier. It makes life easier.

The reason we sometimes say “move your body” instead of “exercise” is because many people find traditional exercise such as running on a treadmill, swimming in a pool or lifting weights at the gym to be joyless. Not everyone of course — many people love these types of exercise. But if you don’t, we want you to understand that it’s perfectly OK and there are lots of ways to get the same benefits without participating in the aforementioned types of exercise. Some of our clients enjoy:

  •       Walking
  •       Hiking
  •       Yoga
  •       Tai Chi
  •       Team sports like basketball or soccer
  •       Doubles sports like tennis or pickleball
  •       Solo sports like cycling, skiing or skateboarding

The benefits of moving your body — even slowly and methodically, like in yoga — cannot be underestimated. Making it a part of your day makes everything easier. Don’t believe us? Before going out for a walk, rate your mood on a scale of 1 to 10. Consider if you feel agitated, anxious, depressed, angry or other negative emotions. Then rate yourself again after exercise. Because the difference is not usually dramatic, people too often discount the power of moving your body. But there is almost always a measurable difference. And you get the added benefit of improved physical health as well.

Many of the types of exercise we mentioned have to be done outdoors, but not all. It’s fine to play basketball in a gym or use a stationary bicycle, but it’s still important to get outside. Being out in nature is like a balm for your soul — especially here in Utah. If you participate in indoor exercise one day and are not up for a walk, just go sit outside. Even 15 minutes can help (30 is better).

The list of habits that can assist you in recovery is nearly endless, but the three we mention here are the ones that offer the most help toward a successful outcome.

If you or someone you know needs help with an addiction, contact us at Alpine Recovery Lodge today. We can help.